If you were a Microsoft fan back in the Xbox 360 era, you likely remember the infamous “Red Ring of Death.” When a 360 unit suffered from a hardware fault of some kind, its power button LEDs would turn red instead of white, and the system would refuse to boot. The issue is infamous because of how widespread it was — it was not isolated to just a handful of units.
At the time, a Red Ring of Death did indeed mean the death of your console; at least, until you could send it in to be repaired. There were a handful of at-home fixes you could try, but the results were inconsistent, and the methods dubious. When I encountered the Red Ring myself, I remember finding one solution that suggested wrapping the console in a towel and running it for several hours.
Believe it or not, that trick actually worked, but only for a day or two (and I probably damaged my console quite a bit in the process).
The Red Ring of Death was a PR and financial disaster for Microsoft. It reportedly lost the company upwards of $1.15 billion to fix thanks to lost sales from nervous would-be buyers and repair costs.
Microsoft has since learned its lesson, of course, and we typically see fewer catastrophic, widespread hardware failures in modern Xbox consoles. With the whole dilemma in the past, the company hopes to profit from its mistakes by way of a newly-launched Red Ring of Death poster, available through the Xbox Gear Shop.
The poster was launched to commemorate the release of “Power On: The Story of Xbox,” a six-part docuseries available to stream right now on several platforms (including YouTube) at no cost. It appears to be narrated by Cortana voice actor Jen Taylor.
The poster doesn’t throw any curveballs at you: it is genuinely just an image of a Red Ring-afflicted Xbox 360 Elite power button, with the text “Red Ring of Death” emblazoned in the blank space below it. The poster is $24.99 and boasts a slightly glossy, “fingerprint resistant” coat. It is 18×24 inches in size, and about 0.25mm thick.