With any consumer electronic device that is manufactured be it a mobile phone or a game console, there are bound to be some of the devices that fail for one reason or another. This is particularly true of game consoles like the PS3, Xbox, and Wii.
While some failures are to be expected with game consoles, it came to years ago that the Xbox 360 was failing at a very significant rate with the so called RROD failure. DailyTech reported details of the failures due to RROD previously. Microsoft acknowledged the failure rate of the console and extended the warranty for RROD failures to three years.
Microsoft, however, has not denied recent reports that the Xbox 360 has a 54.2% lifetime failure rate.
SquareTrade has released the results of a study (PDF) into the failure rates of game consoles on the market today. The three major consoles were included in the study. SquareTrade looked at failure rates over the first two years of ownership and found that the most reliable console of them all was the Nintendo Wii with only a 2.7% failure rate. The PS3 was next with a 10% failure rate, and the Xbox 360 has a 23.7% failure rate over the first two years.
The major catch with the SquareTrade numbers is that the company acknowledges that it believes the failure rate of the Xbox 360 to be much higher than it is posting because many consumers reported the failure to Microsoft directly and SquareTrade wasn't notified of the failure. It would be wise to assume that the failure rate on the other two consoles is probably a bit lower than the actual numbers as well.
Despite the fact that the numbers in the study are admittedly skewed on the low side, the Xbox 360 still failed within two years for 1 in 4 consoles. That is nearly nine times the rate of failure for the Wii. SquareTrade reports that a bit more than half the reported Xbox failures were due to the RROD issue. When the RROD failures are taken out of the mix, the Xbox 360 failure rate dropped to 11.6%, still making it more likely to fail than the PS3 and the Wii.
SquareTrade expects the failure rate for the Xbox 360 to decline significantly with the Jasper update. The study acknowledges that the amount of use a console gets is related to its failure rate, The Wii is used on average 516 minutes per month, the PS3 is used 1053 minutes per month, and the Xbox 360 gets used 1191 minutes per month. That makes the Xbox 360 the most commonly used of all three consoles.
Xbox consoles fail for reasons other than the RROD issue with the second most common failure being disc read issues followed by display issues. SquareTrade found that once the Jasper update for the Xbox was released the percentage of RROD failures dropped dramatically after spiking post Falcon update.