The Xbox 360’s dreaded Red Ring of Death is one of the biggest gaming industry disasters, costing Microsoft over a billion dollars. Now players can forever memorialize the dreaded part of Xbox’s history via a real Red Ring of Death poster, sold by none other than Microsoft.
Printed on “high-quality paper stock sourced from Japan”, the poster permanently captures the dreaded vision: the three red bars encircling the Xbox logo on a failing Xbox 360. The new Red Ring of Death poster was released alongside the company’s ongoing 20th anniversary celebration for the Xbox platform.
The Red Ring of Death was purportedly caused by the solder used by Microsoft on the Xbox 360’s build, which up until that point solder had been made with lead. However, a theory from Microsoft executives suggested the European ban on lead-based solder forced them to use an alternative, which the GPU eventually began to prematurely dry out and cause heat issues – and eventually hardware failure.
Then-CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, asked what it would cost to remedy the production and offer repairs to all-affected customers. Despite the estimates suggesting it would cost over a billion dollars from shipping costs and repairs to changing out the components on upcoming production, Ballmer said to do it without hesitation.
Other posters commemorate the various other episodes in their Power On documentary series highlighting other troubled times for the Microsoft subsidiary, like “The Valentine’s Day Massacre” and the very encouraging “And It Didn’t Turn On.” The Xbox brand has had a wild ride in its two decades, with big wins at the height of the Xbox 360 era to recent lows like the Xbox One launch.
However, maybe the Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death was never truly mitigated even despite Microsoft’s efforts to what was essentially a mass recall of a popular home electronics device. You can watch the entire Power On: The Story of Xbox documentary series right now.