Tag Archive for 'Todd Holmdahl'

Microsoft continues to deny quality problems with the XBox 360

The XBox 360 video game console is built by Microsoft. It was launched November 2005 in the United States and it cost $400.

The early manufacturing run(s) have widely been reported as having pretty serious quality issues. Those early units are failing at alarming frequency, in fact at such alarming frequency Microsoft offered to repair any 2005 manufactured XBox 360s for free, but only until the end of 2006. If you didn’t get a free repair, it’ll cost you $140 plus shipping to get it repaired by Microsoft.

I belong to a large online gaming community called Seasoned Gamers. We’ve got close to 1,000 active members. A lot of us own XBox 360s. The failure rates among the members are nowhere near the 2 – 3 percent range Microsoft wants us to believe, that is when they actually do talk about numbers. Four months ago the SG members had reported over 50 dead XBox 360s. There were several who had had more than one die on them.

If you round the SG members’ numbers up generously (for Microsoft) assuming there are 1,000 active members (there are less), and that everyone owns an XBox 360 (they don’t), you end up with a 5% failure rate within our community. During the past four months more XBox 360 units have died, so the failure rate among the members of SG is much closer to 10% than 5%, and it is probably higher than 10% by now. What Microsoft is saying and what SG members are seeing is statistically significantly different. Microsoft is basically full of shit when they claim the failure rates are not significant and are within “normal boundaries” or failure rates in electronic devices.

Yet Microsoft continues to publicly deny a problem, as is evident in an interview by Dean Takahashi, a well known journalist who has written books about the video gaming industry and the XBox in particular. In his interview of Todd Homdahl, Vice President of Gaming and Xbox Products Group at Microsoft directly responsible for the quality of the XBox 360 product, Dean tries to get a straight answer from Mr. Homdahl regarding the XBox 360 failure rates. The interview is a bizarre game of hide and seek with Dean trying his best to get an answer. Mr. Homdahl isn’t budging though and keeps evading the question with platitudes, half-truths and marketing bullshit.

Mr. Homdahl sums up Microsoft’s position with this wonderful statement:

We continue to say the vast majority of the people are really happy with it.

Way to go Todd! That’s exactly the message people with 100% failure rates need to hear. We know you really care, you’re just one of those shy silent types that aren’t really comfortable in saying you care. We know.