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Despite glitch in RROD, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 tops sales

9 July, 2007

Of the three “next-generation” gaming consoles to hit the market recently, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the first to arrive and has topped in total sales so far.

While Wii of Nintendo has been selling at a fast pace in the United States, the Xbox 360 has held an advantage over Sony’s PlayStation 3.

According to EW.com of Entertainment Weekly, Microsoft has an advantage with its portfolio of titles for gamers to choose from, along with its lively Xbox Live online service.

Microsoft has also come out with its XNA Game Studio Express developmental software.

However, there is one long-lasting problem that Microsoft has not yet been able to solve regarding the Xbox 360 – the Red Ring of Death (RROD).

In September 2006, Microsoft offered free repairs to customer who bought Xbox 360 consoles manufactured before January 1, 2006. Microsoft said it did so considering the “higher-than-usual number of units coming in for repair.”

In December 2006, Microsoft decided to extend the Xbox 360’s warranty to a full year. And, Microsoft mailed cheques for full repair costs to those customers who had already paid for repair service.

Notwithstanding the best efforts by Microsoft, says EW.com, Xbox 360 sets suffering from the RROD problem continued to come in for service.

In April 2007, the company decided to bulk up its warranty services by offering free shipping for consoles in and out of warranty. Microsoft also announced that customers who sent in consoles under warranty would receive an additional 90 days of warranty service.

Moreover, consoles that were sent in for service when out of warranty would be returned with a fresh one-year repair warranty.

In the first week of July 2007, DailyTech, quoting some retailers, reported that the failure rate for the Xbox 360 was as high as 33%. Microsoft had previously stated that the failure rate for the Xbox 360 was 3%-5%.

Ever since its launch in November 2006, Nintendo’s Wii has posted record sales (outselling the PlayStation 3 by as much as 4-to-1), giving a tremendous boost to the once-struggling company.

Reports suggest that the unique and intuitive motion-control scheme of Wii has won over even those who were averse to video games.

The Wii’s remote can be used to swing a tennis racket (Wii Sports), cook an omelet (Cooking Mama) and even control an elephant’s trunk (WarioWare: Smooth Moves).

While Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 target the hi-definition and high-end part of the market, the Wii’s lower price and innovative style of play has helped the system continue to sell out six months after launch.

When it launched PlayStation 3 in November 2006, Sony had every reason to believe that its new console would soon establish itself as the market leader. Both PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 had dominated their respective console generations.

According to EW.com, the going, however, was not as smooth as was expected for PlayStation 3, which Sony developed by investing half a billion dollars.

PlayStation 3 sold at a slow pace, while the Wii, which costs about half as much as PlayStation 3, sold very fast.

EW.com rates the PlayStation 3 as undoubtedly the most technologically impressive among the three “next-generation” gaming consoles. It also predicts that PS3, despite two or three sluggish fiscal quarters, will pick up in the winter.






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