Has Microsoft Finally Solved The Xbox RRoD Problem?

Hey guys, have you heard? Xbox 360s die horribly, almost without fail. In the wake of some devastatingly terrible survey results, a third-party warranty company is saying that RRoD troubles are on the wane.

FairTrade, the company that's making this claim, bases their little theory on failure rates correlated with purchase date. Before the Jasper chipset, they were atrocious. But after? Not too bad!

In Q4 2008, Jasper units started arriving, although we believe units purchased during this period continued to be a mix of Falcon and Jasper models. Even with this mix, we projected the 1-year failure rate to drop below 4%. Furthermore, when looking at over 500 units purchased in 2009, fewer than 1% of customers have reported a RROD error as of Aug 2009. It is still too early to definitively assert that Jasper has given RROD a knockout punch, but such an argument may be pronounceable in the coming months.

That's down from an (admittedly) conservative RRoD rate of about 12 per cent, which accounted for more than half of the console's overall failures, which stood at 23.7 per cent. They explicitly say it's too early to call this one, but early signs—even if all the numbers are skewed a little low—are definitely promising.

The best case for not believing these figures, though, is (weirdly) made earlier in the report when SquareTrade theorises about how consumers might be approaching the Xbox failure problem now that it's so well known:

Microsoft's policy may result in an underreporting of failures by Xbox 360 owners to SquareTrade, relative to the other two consoles. Because the RROD problem is so widely known to be covered by Microsoft's warranty, we believe that more customers bypass SquareTrade and reported failures directly to the Microsoft.

So on this side of things, third-party warranty stats aren't infallible, and on another, user surveys about a frustrating hardware problem are naturally stacked against the product. The only people who really know how many Xboxen run off the cliff every year work in Redmond, and I doubt they're in any rush to get too specific on this one. [GameInformer via Kotaku]

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