This past week I met and interviewed an individual who has worked on the Xbox 360 project for many years and they had some things that they wanted to get out into the public. I have the fullest confidence in the integrity of this confidential source. While respecting and protecting their rights we were able to have an in-depth interview of working in the Xbox project and just how things progressed to this point. Just keep in mind that a while back I broke the story that Bungie was leaving Microsoft and had all the details a full week before the official PR announcement Once again I have a confidential source from inside Redmond and I't all checks out to me.
Now on to the Interview:
Q: So what do you think the real failure rate of the Xbox 360 is? Some have estimated it as high as 30%. I got my Xbox in early 2007 and so far so good but what do you think the chance is that it's going to die on me one day.
A: It's around 30%, and all will probably fail early. This quarter they are expecting 1 M failures, most of those Xenons. Some of those are repeat failures. Life expectancy is all over the map because the design has very little margin for most of the important parameters. That means it's not a fault tolerant design. So a good unit may last a couple of years, while a bad unit can fail in hours. I have a launch unit and have not had a single problem with it. And it's used a lot. But I don't know anyone else with a 360 that hasn't broken, except you now. There's no way to tell when yours might die. But the cooler you can keep it, the longer it will probably last. So stand it up, keep it in free air, etc. :Note : Xenon was the code name for the first Xbox 360 mother board.
Q: Of all five videogame systems on the market now (PS3, PSP, PS2, DS, Wii and 360)only the Xbox 360 has had such major hardware failure problems. Microsoft being the only company based in the US making a videogame system. What part of Microsoft's way of doing things do you think caused this situation to happen.
A: First, MS has under resourced that product unit in all engineering areas since the very beginning. Especially in engineering support functions like test, quality, manufacturing, and supplier management. There just weren't enough people to do the job that needed to be done. The leadership in many of those areas was also lopsided in essential skills and experience. But I hear they are really trying to staff up now based on what has happened, and how cheap staff is compared to a couple of billion in cost of quality.