Walmart Sample XBOX 360 Demonstrates The Red Ring Of Death

Reader James says:

Just went down to my local Wal-Mart the other day (La Quinta, Ca) and saw a Red Ring Of Death xbox 360 on display… thought it was worth a picture.

This isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the product, is it?


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  1. Natheo says:

    This happens more often than you think. It’s happened at my GameStop 3 times.

  2. kittenfoo says:

    what does it mean? sorry, i’m ignorant.

  3. @kittenfoo: Red Ring of Death is like the old crashing noise on the old macs, or the Blue Screen of Death on PC’s. Means all is not well. Better hope you bought the extended warranty.

  4. smitty1123 says:

    One thing I’ve always wondered is how many of the RRODs happen to 360s stored in entertainment centers, or are sitting next to other warm components. Granted, that wouldn’t explain all the anecdotal examples, but I’ve got to wonder how many consumers don’t realize that these newer consoles need good airflow to help stay cool.

  5. Natheo says:

    The 360’s all come with 3 year coverage on that particular defect. The three red lights indicate that their is an internal hardware failure. You don’t need to buy any extended warranty to cover this.

  6. legotech says:

    At least they are giving you an honest demonstration of their product :)

  7. pengie says:

    I saw the same thing at my local Hastings. I’ve also seen a dead PS3 and a DS Lite with cracked hinges (yeah, I know that’s not the same, but it used to be a huge deal) at the same Wal-Mart. I wonder how common this really is.

    @Natheo: My 360 red-ringed within four minutes of being powered on. In our case, the error code was actually for a bad external power supply (which we proved by hooking it up to a friend’s brick). So it’s surprisingly not always internals going bad…

  8. Silversmok3 says:

    Wait, aren’t the store demos typically the oldest examples of the consoles sold?Even if Microsoft revised the Xbox 360 to fix this issue, the store would still use the same, ancient, pre-release version 1 demo. Reminds me of the demo PS2’s with the ‘Disc Read Error’ on the screen. The store demo would be the big, fat PS2’s,even thought the stores were selling the thin version by then .

  9. Natheo says:

    A power supply is still considered internal hardware, for all intents and purposes. :P

    External would be controllers, headsets, etc.

    Demo units at retail stores get beaten to within an inch of their life several times a day. I’m surprised these 360’s last as long as they do. Hell, the one there at wal-mart could have quite possible been more or less perpetually powered on since launch!

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I think when it just shows 3 red lights like that, it means the video cable isn’t plugged in, not that there is a hardware falure.

  11. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I double checked, I might be wrong…d’oh!

  12. smitty1123 says:

    @AlteredBeast: Nope. 3 is hardwaare failure.

  13. KJones says:

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned (or I couldn’t find it when I looked on TC), an ex-Microshaft employee nicknamed “8 Bit Joystick” has explained why the 30% failure rate of the Xlax-BOX is no suprise.


    Microshaft was crossing their fingers and hoping it would work when they rushed it to market, instead of waiting and making sure it worked.

  14. KJones says:

    An ex-Microshaft employee who goes by the name of “8 Bit Joystick” has explained why the Xlax-BOX has a failure rate of 30%.


    Mr. Bill was too concerned about getting it out in time for christmas instead of making sure it worked properly. He crossed is fingers and shipped it.

  15. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I lost track, as only 2 of my dead 360s had the red ring of death. The other 3 were damaged refurbs that got past the inspection processes (but thanks to Kotaku, I got a new 360 from MS!)

  16. RAREBREED says:

    Arg… I won mine at a work raffle when they first came out! I have no receipts, nothing! If I RROD, I think I’m going to be SOL!

  17. nweaver says:

    The “Red Ring” means some hardware failure (it can be a lot of things).

    The first gen XBox 360 was really bad, with an estimated 30% failure rate. Since most of those display units are Gen1 (and when they break, they get replaced by Microsoft with a refurbished Gen1), Red Ring of Death on a display unit is not suprizing.

  18. KingPsyz says:

    I think someone should make stickers that say “this means the machine has had a fatal error and must be returned to the factory. 10-30% of all XBOX360’s are prone to this” and place it on demo box windows when you see the RROD.

    Because honestly most lay-consumers have no clue what they mean and might go ahead and buy one not knowing there’s between a 10-30% chance the unit they buy will fail.

  19. Erwos says:

    This isn’t exactly news. We’ve seen this since launch.

    PS3s also have a tendency to overheat in their display cases – they just aren’t well ventilated.

  20. @Natheo: 5 at the local GameStop down the street (aka, 10 miles away). Usually when you see GameStop’s, the 360 is the only unit on. At this GameStop however, the 360 has failed and they’re tired of swapping units so they just leave it off and display the Wii and PS3 – both of which are commonly found in the OFF position at most retailers.

  21. johnperkins21 says:

    @KJones: It’s not a 30% failure rate, it’s 100% of all XBOX 360s made before mid-2007.

  22. TheUncleBob says:

    I’ve had to replace the demo kiosk at my store three times since I started at this location in Aug of ’06.

  23. Ray308win says:

    It’s a good way for them to show you why you need to buy the store’s Extended Protection Plans!

  24. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    The 360 at my work has RROD also. Crappy ventilation plus being on from 9 am til 10 pm EVERY DAY just isn’t good for any system. It just died about a month ago though, and we have had the same one since launch. Our PS3 isn’t looking too good either, also a ventilation problem. The DS Lite on display has a touch screen that no longer works (from unsupervised kids completely destroying the poor thing) So the only thing we have on for is usually the PSP. (which is also starting to show wear from demanding kids)

  25. krunk4ever says:

    @AlteredBeast: agreed… only a full red ring (4 red lights on) means it’s a complete hardware failure.

  26. Cupajo says:

    @johnperkins21: That’s a bold statement. I’ve had my 360 since launch day and have not had the first problem with it. Same for my next door neighbor and the same for his brother-in-law. In fact, of all the people in our little gaming “club” (15 or so people) almost all of them have had their consoles for a while now and only one person has had RROD. I think a large number of people who have had hardware issues with the 360 just aren’t taking care of their stuff (not providing proper circulation, leaving it running for days at a time, etc)

  27. JustEaton says:

    Of course it got the RRoD. It’s behind glass. It has to be in the wide open with a cool breeze. Not too cool though, or it might fail anyways.

  28. CharlieSeattle says:

    Call me a PS3 fanboy, but my PS3 is first generation and I haven’t had one hardware problem with it.

    Getting good software is another issue, but that’s taking care of itself, and I will always know I will have a blu-ray player that will always be up to the latest BD spec.

  29. CharlieSeattle says:

    Add: I used to work for Microsoft, there’s a reason I don’t didn’t buy a 360. They don’t really care about bugs until it get’s lot’s of press, trust me when I say this.

  30. ShadowFalls says:

    What this means is that the display model is an old one. These break down and are replaced with ones repaired with the same defects. Microsoft continues to recycle the same bad consoles which is why there is so much bad press about the issue. If Microsoft would scrap all of them and issue new consoles, they would save consumers and themselves, time and money.

    Kmart is kind of funny about their displays, any time I went in one, all they ever had was the early Gameboy Advance SP model.


    I still have my 360 from the end of 2006 that works fine. Never had an issue with it. Used it to play games and watch movies. Then again it was always well ventilated and not abused.

  31. shades_of_blue says:

    Demo systems are behind plastic and glass sucking up their own hot air all day, not surprised it’s dead. Actually, I’d expect this to happen often in those conditions.

    Anyway, I’ve got two 360s, one is over a year old and flawless, the other is over 2 years old and has suffered the RRoD error but refuses to die.

  32. Voltanis says:

    It’s not always the usual hardware failure if it’s a demo unit… I work at a WalMart in KY and it often does those 3 red lights if the store just suffered a brief power outage. WE turn the 360 off and right back on again using teh front power button, and it runs just fine.

  33. goodkitty says:

    @KJones: “Mr. Bill was too concerned about getting it out in time…”

    Oh, like Vista and Halo 3? (drum hit please)

    When I went to Target last month to pick up Mario Galaxy the 360 there was doing this too. It’s a real *ringing* endorsement. (again?)

    The PS3 was alive and playing some beautiful fantasy adventure game.

  34. TheUncleBob says:

    I keep hearing that faulty systems should be expected in demo kiosks because the system is stored in a case/behind glass/in closed conditions.

    This would be good, except that I *never* had to swap out the GameCube (until we took it down late last year) and the 1st gen (network adapter and modem jacks) slimline PS2 is still working perfectly fine.

    In that same amount of time (~18 months), I’ve had to replace 3 360s.

    Could it be the enclosed cases causing the system to overheat? Sure. But it seems like the system itself is poorly designed if it can’t stand up to the same kind of performance standards of its older competition.

  35. adamsummers says:

    @Ray308win: Unfortunately, a lot of stores are no longer offering replacement plans, as they have been taking way too big of a hit on this dog of a console.

  36. seeeb says:

    Oh come on. Yeah it happens and it happens to demo units. Big deal. Posts like this are a constant reminder that amateurish blogging is not journalism

  37. Toof_75_75 says:

    I saw this had happened when I was at Target the other day…the display model was sporting the ever popular red ring of death…I should have snapped a shot of it!

  38. technically it IS a RINGing endorsement.. or lack therof.

  39. zoso says:

    This happens all the time. In fact, you can force the RRoD: flip the breaker on and off really quick and it puts itself into a sort of protective mode, I don’t know what to call it. If you shut off the system and turn it back on after a few seconds, it comes back fine. I realise this isn’t the classic RRoD, but it flashes the same. At our store we do it to deter the children from crowding the demo unit, we tell them that the system is down (though the power is still clearly on). Nefarious, but it keeps our store from being an arcade when these brats are skipping school.

  40. At least it isn’t interfering with anything else by being red ringed. We had to turn off and unplug our 360 because it stopped reading discs and we need the demo disc to get it to stop sending out a signal that interferes with our pricing guns.

  41. arachnophilia says:

    launch xbox + closed case + no ventilation + always on = death.

    the 360 may not be a shining example of component design, but seeing demo boxes fail isn’t exactly a surprise with any design. that’s why in-store demos of just about anything are typically sold at discounts — they’ve seen a lot of use and abuse.