Microsft says its new Xbox 360 S redesign shipping to stores this week no longer features the much dreaded three flashing lights, or "red ring of death", to alert owners to component failures requiring service.
The new $299 Xbox 360 "Slim" model
, which the company debuted at E3 earlier this week, features a 250 GB hard drive, built-in wifi (802.11N), and, as with all other Xbox 360s, support for Microsoft's motion-sensing, controller-free device Kinect -- slated to release this November.
Microsoft Game Studios' Phil Spencer explained in an interview
with IGN that the smaller and quieter redesign also cuts the "RROD system": "Now obviously, the box has a way to communicate to you if something has happened. ... But yes, three red lights are not part of our sequence of telling somebody something is wrong."
The flashing lights (pictured) appeared when issues with hardware components or the power supply occurred, and signaled owners to send their console to Microsoft for repair or replacement. Consumer site Kotaku notes the center of the Xbox 360 Slim's power indicator now features a glowing light
that turns red when hardware issues pop up.
Nicknamed the "red ring of death", the lights were the butt of many jokes for several years as the Xbox 360's system failure rate climbed to as high as 23.7 percent
before abating last year, according to independent warranty provider SquareTrade. Microsoft responded by extending warranties to three years for RROD consoles.
Spencer added, "Obviously if you look at the success rate of the original 360s, we're very proud of both the way the company stepped up to support the customers that we had as well as the success rate we have with the box today. I think we've learned a lot. That learning has gone into the development of this [new] box."