If you were a console gamer last generation, chances are good that you have a story about a broken Xbox 360. Years later, one of the people responsible for overseeing that mess is talking about what that crisis taught him.

Microsoft’s customer satisfaction numbers never dropped during the worst periods of the Xbox 360’s Red Ring of Death errors, former Xbox boss Robbie Bach said during a fireside chat at the GamesBeat Summit in Sausalito, California. The executive, who left Microsoft and the Xbox division in 2010, pointed out that the company learned a number of important lessons from the original Xbox that made a huge difference with addressing the problems that plagued the 360. One of the biggest changes, for example, is that the Xbox 360 was a product that people actually wanted.

“If you have a product people like and you take care of your customers, they’ll give you some grace,” Bach said.

He didn’t think the Xbox division would’ve survived if something like the Red Ring happened to Microsoft’s first console. That’s because, according to him, no one really liked that first console.


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“People liked Halo,” said Bach. “But they didn’t really like the Xbox system itself. They liked Xbox Live and a couple of games.”

The 360, on the other hand, was something people loved.

“When we made the decision to write off $1 billion [for the Red Ring of Death] — the largest one up to that point for Microsoft — customers responded with some frustration, but they really just wanted their Xbox 360s back.”

And that held true even as people went through two, three, and sometimes many more 360 systems. For Bach, this proves that with a great product, you can survive as long as you are ready to offer support if it starts to fail.

“No matter what happens, take care of your customers,” he said.

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