The Xbox 360’s infamous Red Ring of Death plagued many players from early on, only to exacerbate and snowball a few years into its life. The hardware issues ultimately cost Xbox over $1 billion, and the Red Ring of Death was fully explained by Microsoft in a new docuseries.
The Red Ring of Death (RRoD) one of the largest hardware failures in the game industry, if left unchecked it would’ve spelled curtains for any other game console company in recent memory. Previous tidbits somewhat explained what happened, however the problem lied in more than just inadequate thermal protections.
Red Ring of Death was fully explained in Microsoft’s Power On: The Story of Xbox docuseries. In short, internal solder connections between the console’s GPU and motherboard failed.
The solder used to connect the graphics processing unit to the interposer (an intermediary between the GPU and the motherboard) couldn’t hold up to the extreme temperature variations from the console turning on and off constantly. This deteriorated the solder to the point it would just disintegrate and ground itself out, causing hardware failure and the RROD errors.
It was a very expensive and multifaceted problem that forced Xbox and Microsoft engineers to pretty much rebuild the Xbox 360 core internals from the ground up, and luckily the brand won out in the end and they were able to salvage it and maintain goodwill with consumers.
In related news, Microsoft also recently unveiled a poster to forever memorialize the Red Ring of Death – you can read more about that here in our previous report.