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Xbox Finally Explains What Caused The Red Ring Of Death

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Xbox Finally Explains What Caused The Red Ring Of Death

I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you what the Red Ring of Death is. The nightmare of any Xbox 360 owner, the hardware failure was a widespread problem, and hit a massive number of systems before the introduction of the slim model.


It’s generally always been assumed that the failure was caused by the system’s poor thermals, but an official new documentary, Power On: The Story of Xbox, has revealed that’s only partially the case. 

ICYMI: Check out the announcement video below for the upcoming Splinter Cell remake!



Leo Del Castillo, a member of Xbox’s hardware engineering, explained that the Red Ring of Death was actually caused by connectors inside the components of the console breaking. Although the reason that the components were breaking was thermal, high temperatures inside the console were never the problem. 

Todd Holmdahl, Xbox’s head of hardware from 1999 to 2014, explained that the real problem was the console’s temperature going from hot to cold too frequently: “All these people loved playing video games, so they would turn this thing on and then off, and when it would turn on and off, you get all sorts of stresses” he said.

Although Xbox had a good solution for their customers, in repairing every console sent in at no extra cost, obviously, that posed a massive cost to the company. Peter Moore, the former head of Xbox, said: "By the time we looked at the cost of repairs, the lost sales that we factored in, we had a $1.15 billion dollar problem.” Thankfully, the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, was able to provide enough funds to bail them out, and essentially save Xbox. Thanks, Steve!


These days, Xbox consoles tend to be a bit more resilient to, y’know, normal use, but you can’t deny that the Red Ring of Death is oddly iconic in its own way. Earlier this week, the Xbox Gear shop released a RROD poster, just in time for the holidays. The perfect gift to remind you of one of the most frustrating things that could once happen to you! Simpler times, eh?

The Red Ring of Death episode is one of six parts of the Story of Xbox series, and you can catch the whole thing on YouTube now. 

Featured Image Credit: New Line Cinema, Microsoft

Topics: Xbox, Microsoft

Catherine Lewis
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