Remembering The Xbox 360's Red Ring Of Death

It's the HAL 9000 of the gamer generation.
Remembering The Xbox 360's Red Ring Of Death

It's wild to look back at the second generation of the Xbox because that's when Microsoft was both at its best and at its worst. On the one hand, the Xbox 360 was going toe to toe with the Playstation 3 sales-wise and even outperforming it when it came to multiplatform games and exclusives alike – at least until they started betting it all on the Kinect, that piece of tech that needs no introduction because everyone has one nowadays and we all love it. On the other hand, the Xbox 360 is likely the most faulty piece of successful hardware ever made. Everyone who ever owned an Xbox 360 is sure to have either faced the red ring of death or to have had countless nightmares about the day in which it would inevitably come for their console.

But what the hell was the red ring of death, anyway, the dreaded problem that rendered literally millions of consoles obsolete? It was only over a decade later that a Microsoft engineer explained that it was the sign of a catastrophic hardware failure that required professional fixing. Weirdly enough, it was caused not by the console overheating and then melting, exploding, or teleporting into the X dimension, but rather the result of some of its key components breaking when the console's temperature lowered too quickly.

Prevention was never an option because even if we were to travel back in time we'd never be able to convince our parents that we actually needed to play for longer periods of time.

In 2022, Peter Moore, the guy running Xbox at the time, admitted to responding to the outcry against the massive red ring of death problem by fixing the hardware issues leading up to it fueling the console war between Xbox 360 and PS3 fans – and it worked. Asking the people who were already stuck with the console to just act as if it didn't have flaws to make it look stronger than the PS3 proved much more fruitful than actually improving the console. Interestingly, Peter Moore ended up leaving Microsoft for EA, and not to create reactionary Youtube.

Top Image: Microsoft

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