We've seen some offensive designs in our time, but this might just be the most upsetting, traumatising, and downright distressing piece of print we've ever seen. If you're a gamer, that is. An Xbox gamer, specifically. One who owned 2005's Xbox 360, and experienced perhaps the most infamous hardware fault of all time. If all of the above conditions apply to you (as they do to us), we can only apologise.
Yes, Microsoft has seen fit to release a $25/£19.95 poster commemorating the 'Red Ring of Death', the error no gamer ever wanted to see. That red ring meant one thing: your console was dead. And it appeared far more often than it should have. So, releasing a poster to celebrate it is quite the ballsy move from Microsoft – but hey, plenty of the best print ads of all time are nothing if not provocative.
Launched to coincide with the virtual 20th anniversary Xbox Museum, the poster is a tribute to one of the more embarrassing moments in Microsoft's history – one which, according to VentureBeat (opens in new tab), cost the company over $1B in warranty expenses. But clearly, 15 years is long enough for Microsoft to see the funny side.
While plenty of internet users are enjoying the cheeky joke, some clearly aren't over the Red Ring fiasco. "As an Xbox 360 owner that has had the Red Ring of Death and the shitty mod fix that Microsoft applied to fix it that also failed, this seems more than a little tone-deaf," one Redditor complains (opens in new tab), while another adds, "It's really not cool to make faulty hardware, brag about it, and sell it as nostalgia to your fanbase."
The poster is in fact part of a series of 7 prints designed for 'Power On', a six-part documentary about the Xbox console (opens in new tab) (one episode of which details the Red Ring debacle). But none of the other designs are quite as controversial as this one, featuring innocuous objects like Xbox logos and lightbulbs.
While the design is clearly, er, triggering for some, we have to admire Microsoft's audacity here – by turning the error symbol into a minimal yet instantly-recognisable poster design, has the company even managed to ascend the Red Ring of Death to iconic status? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, we're relieved that the Xbox Series X isn't known for any similar errors. If you're ready to start gaming, check out today's best Xbox deals, and take a look at the best games console deals below.
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