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Why the Xbox Series X Smoking Videos Are a Poor Attempt to Reignite the Overheating Controversy


Just a day after the official launch of the Xbox Series X, one thing seemed to dominate the conversation around Microsoft’s next-gen console: a series of viral videos allegedly depicting a major overheating issue, as thick clouds of smoke were desperately expelled through the console’s top vents. The makers of the videos claimed that the Xbox Series X had grown so hot that the components inside were literally seconds away from catching fire.

I’ve spent the last two weeks with the Xbox Series X, testing out everything from its excellent load times and 4K 60fps visuals to its backward compatibility and game-changing Quick Resume feature. Throughout my time with the console, one thing I didn’t encounter was any major overheating issue. At the very least, there was never a moment when I had to nervously glance at my fire extinguisher while using the console. The Xbox Series X can get a little warm when its pumping out 4K visuals, but that’s about it. Overall, the console’s single “whisper-quiet” fan does a great job of keeping the console cool, and the monolith-like shape and size of the console was clearly designed with airflow in mind.

(I didn’t have a fancy thermal camera to measure the console’s heat levels in precise degrees but you can check out this excellent breakdown from Digital Foundry, which reported no heat problems with the console.)

The point is that that the smoking videos, which I’m not going to bother posting here, had to be fake, a way to troll Microsoft, gain internet clout, send the Xbox hardware design team into a panic, or simply give the PlayStation 5 an early lead in the next-gen console war. Unsurprisingly, the videos were indeed debunked by one Twitter user who demonstrated how easily you could make it look like an Xbox Series X was “on fire.” All you really need is a vape:

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