Microsoft has announced that they have shipped more than 8 million of its Kinect motion-sensing camera units for the Xbox 360, but is the popular new device ruining those consoles which are out-of-warranty?
Microsoft told BusinessWeek that they had sold through nearly all of the Kinect units that they had shipped, almost double the 4.1 million PlayStation Move units Sony had shipped in November. This has topped the company’s forecasts for the device, and neatly complements their other announcement of having reached 30 million Xbox LIVE members.
In addition, the company revealed plans to add the Hulu Plus online-television service to LIVE and Kinect, but as the service only operates in the United States, that would seem to be of less concern to Canadians. Unless, of course, you keep track of all the features and options we get left out of.
Unfortunately, just as Kinect’s successful numbers rolled in for Microsoft, so too did some unfortunate rumblings from the British, as the new, exciting technology has seemingly clashed with an old, familiar problem.
“We plugged it in the day we got it but only played it a few times before we got the red lights,” 10-year old Adam Winnifrith told the BBC. “The next day when we tried it again we still had the red rings of death and haven’t been able to use it since.”
Indeed, the problem which has plagued many an Xbox 360 gamer since the system’s release has resurfaced, and it seemingly corresponds with use of Kinect. Notably, it seems to affect older systems, as the Winnifrith’s console warranty had just expired on December 16th.
“It’s very disappointing,” noted Adam’s father, James. “We were planning to have a big New Year’s Day party with karaoke microphones and a Take That competition. But now the Xbox is just sitting idle.”
And it seems that the problem is not unique to the Winnifrith clan; the official Xbox forums have apparently been lighting up with similar stories of Kinect-related system failures from longtime users. Microsoft responded by noting that Kinect has been “designed to work with every Xbox 360 sold to date.”
“There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect,” the company added. “Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental.”
Older Xbox 360s seem to be more prone to flashing the three red lights, though this would be due in part to the newer models having removed the red lights entirely. But beyond that technicality, the older models have been notorious for their problems regarding ventilation and overheating, which have helped lead to the “Red Ring of Death” phenomenon.
With this in mind, could it be that the users experiencing these problems are simply playing Kinect more than their consoles can handle? Joystiq notes that this has occurred in tandem with the release of other hugely-popular titles, such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption.
That information would seemingly lend itself to being a little more than “coincidence,” though not enough to form a direct correlation.
Nonetheless, this should serve as a warning for those of you who have Xbox 360s approaching the end of their warranty. If you decide to use Kinect with an older model of Xbox 360 (or even any game for long periods), make sure that it is sitting vertically and has plenty of ventilation. And you may want to take some breaks between play sessions now and again, too.
This is by no means a guarantee that your system won’t break down, but it will hopefully reduce the risk.