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Three years, three Xboxes

I still have my original Nintendo and it still works. It’s more than 20 years at this point and has only required a single $10 repair. That’s about 50 cents a year in maintenance and that’s impressive. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my Xbox 360, of which soon I will be owning my third.

A very premature death

My Xbox 360 finally gave up. In less than three years I’m buying a second (really third) Xbox 360 console. The first one broke after a year and the refurb Microsoft sent me to replace it broke within 10 months. I’ve been skating by on downloaded games and, if the console is in the right mood, the ability to hit it and get discs to play. But as I looked at how much I invested in the Xbox 360 so far, I decided it was worse to NOT have a working console.

The Xbox 360 is by far the console I have invested the most in. Even my beloved NES didn’t receive the venture capital my Xbox has gotten over just a three year period. We’re talking hundreds of dollars in both disc and downloaded games, and without the console all that becomes a waste. It makes me sad when I think about it. To think about all the money I’ve dropped into this piece of plastic, but it’s a hobby and hobbies aren’t always cheap.

My Nintendo never failed on me and it's 20 years old!
My Nintendo never failed on me and it's 20 years old!

New is clearly not always better

I know the Xbox 360 is 10,000x the computer the original NES was. There are more parts, more technology, more power…each one a new way to fail, but what’s it say when one product fails two times in three years and another fails only once over 20 years? We paid $300 for the first Xbox 360 in 2008, and now we’re paying $300 again. This Xbox 360 is a newer model with some beefier specs but in the end it’s the same machine. However, thanks to a deal at Amazon, we got $70 back in various gift cards. The final price was probably more along the lines of $250, which is better, but the fact remains we shouldn’t have needed to purchase a new Xbox. Merry Christmas to me.

One pebble in my shoe about this whole thing is the lack of a middle-grade console package. The Xbox 360 now comes with either a 4GB hard drive (which ain’t much) or a 250GB model (which is too much). I need more than 4GB but less than 250GB. I know there’s only a $100 difference between the two, but even if a middle-of-the-road model was $50 less, that’s $50 less! Microsoft seems to assume that gamers come as ultra-casual or ultra-hardcore, and that seems like they’re missing a big part of the curve, no? Oh and the fact I need a special cable to transfer data from the old console to the new one is a big crock.

I don’t like it but whatcha gonna do?

I guess the old saying “they just don’t make them like they used to” certainly rings true in this case. I applaud Nintendo for building a product that stood the test of time (and childhood), and I chide Microsoft for making what is clearly a very poor quality product…yet I’m buying another one. Outside of the computer, this whole situation has told me that we’re very dependent on the Xbox. Between video games and Netflix it has become the center of our living room, for better or for worse.

But mark my words, if this Xbox fails at any time in less than three years, I’ll jump back to Sony in a heartbeat…I just won’t give them my credit card.


  1. Will Will May 6, 2011

    Luckily, I’m still on my first 360 that I got in 2007. It red ringed 20 minutes after turning it on, but it’s been fine since. They probably take a lot of shortcuts on electronics these days.

  2. Jim Jim May 6, 2011

    Despite the cost, I wish cartridges had stuck around. No load times, no moving parts, no external memory cards. They were just all-around better.

    I am on my original 2006 launch-day Wii. And I’ve used it hard. Nintendo makes a quality product. I’m on my original 360 as well, but I got it in 2009. But I do use it nearly daily at least for Netflix.

  3. Don The Idea Guy Don The Idea Guy May 6, 2011

    Sucks that you got an Xbox lemon, but older technology that fails less isn’t all that exciting. There’s no room to grow or improve.

    I mean, you never have to worry about an alternator or a transmission going out on a horse — but who really wants to drive one of those around these days?

  4. Brian Brian Post author | May 6, 2011

    And now I read this! A new Xbox rumored already.

    Although with the Kinect still new, I figure they’ll squeeze 2 or 3 years out of it so I’ll be happy for a while. And frankly, there is a wealth of 360 games I have yet to play because I rarely buy new games, so when a “720” comes out I can start working on what will become bargain bin games.

    Of course, even a 720 is announced, it’s probably (hopefully) a couple years away from release. I imagine they’ll wait to see what Nintendo does and respond to that.

  5. Brian Brian Post author | May 6, 2011

    And even if a 720 comes out within 18 months…would I want to suffer that long with a broken 360? Not likely.

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