The Xbox 360 failure rate is not as high as critics would have you believe, but it's still much higher than the official number from Microsoft, according to US warranty provider SquareTrade.
The number, 16.4 percent, is much higher than the one cited by former Xbox boss Peter Moore (3 percent), and is about half the number reported by many retailers (approximately 33 percent). The now infamous 'Red Ring of Death' was responsible for roughly 60 percent of all claims made to SquareTrade regarding the Xbox 360.
Compared to the other two consoles on the market, 16.4 percent is high, as both the PlayStation 3 and the Wii have about a 3 percent failure rate. This number is in line with electronics industry norms.
In comments made to 1up.com, SquareTrade CEO Steve Abernethy said the future could see an even higher percentage. "It is reasonable to believe these failure rates will increase over time, since the Xbox 360 failure issues tend to increase with prolonged use where overheating appears the main culprit," he said.
1up makes note of the fact that the 1,000 Xbox 360 users used for the report sampling were people who had to seek SquareTrade's warranty service out, and therefore the possibility exists that the randomness factor could be skewed, leaning towards heavy system users who are more likely to overheat their 360s. This does not invalidate the survey, but it should be considered while evaluating its findings.