Xbox is Celebrating It’s Most Iconic Failure With This Red Ring of Death Poster
The Red Ring of Death is one of the videogame industry’s most notorious failures. It’s essentially the Xbox 360 version of the Blue Screen of Death—seeing one means you’ve got real trouble and now your console is dead and it can’t be repaired, I have two dead consoles on me to prove it. The Xbox support site explains it prosaically: “three flashing red lights mean that the Xbox 360 console or its power supply has a hardware problem.” But that really doesn’t bring the scale of the situation, which was catastrophic.
The whole fiasco is far back in the rearview mirror that Microsoft can turn it into a historical touchstone and make some money out of it—almost a cherished memory: You can now buy a Red Ring of Death “premium print” from the Xbox Gear Shop for $25. The somewhat glossy, fingerprint-resistant print is to “commemorate” the launch of a six-part documentary of the Xbox console, one episode of which tells the Red Ring of Death era.
If you don’t know the whole story it was started 15 years ago. The short version of the story is that Microsoft knew the Xbox 360 had issues but didn’t delay the release because it didn’t want to get whipped by Sony and Nintendo. The result: Massive failure rates and more than $1 billion in expenses.