Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has already had a rough summer. First it was the announcement that they’d be spending approximately 1 billion on Xbox 360 repairs, and now they’re faced with another issue: smoking Xbox 360 racing wheels. If you own one of Microsoft’s Wireless Racing Wheel controllers and you see smoke coming out of it, it’s not some cool effect, it’s overheating.
Priced at $129.99, the wheel is meant to give the gamer a “real experience” as the wheel “simulates all the resistance and force, immersing you in a relentless and unparalleled racing experience.” The problem with the unit overheating appears to occur when the unit is plugged into an outlet. To fix the problem, Microsoft is urging wheel owners to either call or submit a form to receive a retrofit for the Racing Wheel. It’s like a recall program where the user is responsible for getting the replacement. In the meantime while users wait for the retrofit, they can still use the wheel on battery power.
As an owner of the original Xbox, this situation reminds me of when Microsoft sent out replacement power cords because the original power cords that came with some of the consoles posed a fire hazard.
While Microsoft says that the smoking wheel has occurred in “a very small number” of incidents, it’s probably a good idea to take the time to get the retrofit. They also say that there’s been no incidences of “fire, personal injury or property damage due to the Wheel malfunction.” With Microsoft already spending $1 billion on repairs for the console itself, I’m wondering how much they’ll end up spending on the repairs for the smoking wheels? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the Xbox 360 is turning into a rather large expense for Microsoft. Hopefully the success of Halo 3 will make up for all the money dished out for repairs…