First, there was the Red Ring of Death (RRoD) epidemic. It struck thousands of early Xbox 360s and led Microsoft to announce in 2007 that it would repair all afflicted consoles free of charge and offer an extended three-year warranty on those machines.
The latest XBox 360 bug? The "E74 error," which has become enough of problem that Microsoft has had to announce that it will repair all consoles affected by it--and extend its three-year warranty to cover any potential E74 problems.
Like the Red Ring of Death, it's not hard to figure out whether you have an E74 error. Instead of your console displaying three red lights, death comes swiftly in the form of an E74 on-screen error message that appears along with instructions to contact Xbox 360 support.
According to Gamezine.co.uk, the E74 error is "either related to the AV cable, or the more fatal occurrence of a burnt-out scaler chip or even the death of the console's GPU." (Apparently, the error isn't 100 percent fatal, and while there are some suggested fixes up on YouTube, they don't always work--or they work only temporarily).
Here is Microsoft's official statement:
While the majority of Xbox 360 owners continue to have a great experience with their console, we are aware that a very small percentage of our customers have reported receiving an error that displays "E74" on their screen.
After investigating the issue, we have determined that the E74 error message can indicate the general hardware failure that is associated with three-flashing-red-lights error on the console. As a result, we have decided to cover repairs related to the E74 error message under our three-year warranty program for certain general hardware failures that was announced in July 2007.
Microsoft also said it will refund anyone who paid to have an E74 error-afflicted console fixed. If you fall into this group, you should automatically receive a refund within the next 4 to 12 weeks. However, if you don't get your money back, you should go to the Xbox support page before November to get info on how to place a claim.
Gamemagazine notes that for now, the announcement covers only Xbox 360s in the United States. But it expects the warranty and refund to be rolled out around the world soon.
Comments? Anybody had their Xbox 360 offed by error E74? Is the console destined to be plagued by reliability problems, or is this just an isolated incident?