The company announced the recall on Thursday, saying it is aimed at protecting the consoles from electrical-component failures that can pose a fire hazard. So far, such failures have been reported in 30 consoles, causing minor injury or property damage, Microsoft said. Seven customers reported burns to their hands. In the rest of the cases, the defect caused smoke damage or minor damage to a carpet or entertainment center.
In Europe, consoles made before Jan. 13, 2004, will need replacement cords, the company said. In all other areas, the recall covers consoles manufactured before Oct. 23, 2003.
Orders for replacement cords can be placed at the Xbox Web site. New cords will take up to four weeks to arrive. Until the new cord comes, customers should turn off consoles when not in use, the company said.
Power cord problems have dogged other device makers in the past. Last year, for example, Dell recalled 4.4 million defective power adapters sold with notebooks between 1998 and 2002.
"This is a preventative step we're choosing to take despite the rarity of these incidents," Robbie Bach, senior vice president at Microsoft’s entertainment division, said in a statement. "We regret the inconvenience but believe offering consumers a free replacement is the responsible thing to do."