Microsoft has finally admitted that early versions of their Xbox 360 console had some hardware problems. As a result, anyone who purchased a console before January 1, 2006 that will get a free "out of warrantee repair" service deal. On top of that, they will be mailing out refund checks to anyone who has had a pre-2006 Xbox 360 repaired and has paid for it.
Microsoft said it isolated a pattern of broken systems purchased prior to January 1, 2006. As part of their "ongoing process of analyzing repair data," the company will compensate all owners with an "out of warrantee repair," free of charge if the system was bought before January 1, 2006. Gamers who bought broken consoles after January 1, 2006 will not receive free compensation for broken consoles.

"As part of our standard and ongoing process of analyzing repair data, we recently noticed a higher than usual number of units coming in for repair," Microsoft told IGN in a prepared statement today. "Upon further investigation, it was further discovered that the bulk of the units were isolated to a group that was part of the initial manufacturing run of the console. Returns for repair are coming in for a variety reasons and it's a higher rate than we are satisfied with."

Microsoft would not explain the exact issues causing the problems. IGN spoke with a Microsoft customer service person named Sandy. She explained that Microsoft will either repair the system or, if the problems cannot be fixed within two days, Microsoft will replace the old system with a new one. Anyone with a broken system can call 1-800-4MY-XBOX to speak with a customer service person.