A few weeks ago, I booted up my Xbox 360 only to fine the power light flashing - rather ominously - red instead of the usual green.
Unplugging, rebooting, cursing...nothing worked.
When I went online, I found I was hardly alone. The so-called Red Ring of Death is a surprisingly common problem among Xbox owners. How common? Check out this study by CNET UK, which finds that an astonishing 60% of Xboxers have experienced the dreaded disaster.
CNET writes: "Only 25 per cent of disappointed 360 owners had owned the console for more than 18 months before it broke, with 47 per cent reporting a failure inside a year. Seventy two per cent returned their Xbox to Microsoft, who extended the 360's warranty to three years after the console's problems became widely known. Fifteen per cent sought their own solution, such as repairing it themselves or giving up and throwing it under a bed. One miserable gamer reported, "I can't afford to get (the Xbox 360) fixed as it is out of warranty, so it sits in the spare room all lonely."
Count me among the 15% who gave up - at least temporarily. Fortunately, I have a second Xbox which I'm using in the meantime (I gotta play Modern Warfare 2 somehow). But I've never had a problem with my PS3 or Wii, how can Microsoft allow this to happen?
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.