I'm getting in a trickle of emails from readers claiming that Microsoft's hands-free controller Kinect is causing older Xbox 360 consoles to die and display the now infamous Red Ring of Death (RRoD) error message.
Basically, there seems to be a pattern to the stories I'm receiving. Folks get their hands on a Kinect, hook it up to an older Xbox 360 console (not the newer slimline console), play with it for a while and then - RRoD and that's the end of the console.
BBC News has a story similar to the tales I'm hearing:
"We plugged it in the day we got it but only played it a few times before we got the red lights. 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."
It is quite a shame as we got loads of new games for the Xbox too and I never had a chance to play them."
Microsoft emphatically denies any connection between the Kinect hardware and failure of the Xbox 360:
"Kinect is designed to work with every Xbox 360 sold to date, There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect. Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental."
So, what could be going on here?
- Nothing. It's pure coincidence. Part of me is inclined to believe this since pretty much any new release for the Xbox (game, accessory or whatever) seems to generate reports that the new release bricked the Xbox. Truth is that the Xbox is just like every other piece of consumer electronics - it's build by the lowest bidder and has a finite lifespan. It's quite possible that these consoles that would have died anyway, especially as most seem to be three years old and over.
- The issue is down to people pulling their console out of storage and starting to use it again. Disuse, dust, damp and so on can have an adverse effect on electronic devices.
- There is a problem with Kinect on older consoles. It's a long shot but I'm not ready to rule it out completely just yet.
So, this is where you can help me out. If you're an Xbox 360 owner who has bought a Kinect and then later suffered the RRoD problem, let me know, either by dropping me a note via the contact form or through the TalkBack section below. Give as much information as you can - how old the console is, model, when you bought the Kinect, how long you've used it, and what game you were playing before the console died. I'm curious to see if there's any pattern to these failures.