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Microsoft comes under fire from BBC's Watchdog show

Microsoft is set to come under pressure in tonight's edition of consumer affairs show Watchdog as the investigative team looks into potential faults with the Xbox 360.

Microsoft is set to come under pressure in tonight's edition of consumer affairs show Watchdog as the investigative team looks into potential faults with the Xbox 360.

GamesIndustry.biz has learned that the programme will focus on the 'ring of death' problem, as it's been nicknamed by gamers, where three red lights appear around the console's power button and the machine stops working.

The problem appears to occur much more frequently in the first batch of Xbox 360 units produced.

In the US, Microsoft agreed to offer complimentary repairs to owners of faulty consoles manufactured before January 1, 2006 - even if their warranties had expired. The company also said it would refund customers who had already paid for repairs.

However, it would seem the deal only applies to US Xbox 360 owners. Here in the UK, as Watchdog is set to report, gamers are being asked to pay between GBP 80 and GBP 90 to have their console fixed - regardless of when it was manufactured.

The show will feature interviews with consumers who have experienced problems with their Xbox 360s, but GamesIndustry.biz understands that Microsoft has declined to send a representative to appear on the programme.

Watchdog will be broadcast tonight on BBC1 at 7pm GMT.

UPDATE: Microsoft has now told the BBC that "most people with an Xbox 360 have an outstanding experience, and there is no systemic issue". They say each incident is unique and is looked at on a case by case basis, and have given one of the consumers featured on tonight's show a replacement unit and a new game.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.