Microsoft
Microsoft will send out replacement parts for Wireless Racing Wheel controller following reports that the device overheats and releases smoke. About 230,000 Wireless Racing Wheel controllers have been sold to consumers.
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updated 8/23/2007 6:10:24 PM ET 2007-08-23T22:10:24

Microsoft will send out replacement parts for its Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel after 50 reports that the video-game controllers overheated and released smoke when plugged in, the software maker said Thursday.

The $130 steering wheel-shaped controllers mimic the physical sensations of race car driving for games such as "Forza Motorsport 2." About 230,000 have been sold to consumers, according to the company.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said owners of the controller should stop plugging it in, but said it is safe to use with battery power.

This is the second Xbox 360 problem this summer. In July, the company said it expects to spend more than $1 billion to repair hardware problems in the video game console.

Microsoft Corp. didn't offer any estimate of the cost of fixing the controller problems.

Gamers can register online to receive a "retrofit," which Microsoft would send with instructions "if necessary." The company would not say what replacement parts it plans to send to customers.

Microsoft said it has not received reports of fire, injury or property damage as a result of the defect, and it is working with regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The consumer product safety commission said the smoking controllers were only reported in Japan, but that it is monitoring the situation.

"Any time that a company is taking individual action to offer their consumers something to be proactive...we're big fans of proactive," said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the commission. "If the company is making recommendations to its consumers, by all means consumers should respond to it."

In July, Microsoft extended the warranty to cover shipping and repairs for the Xbox 360 console to three years, from two. The company said it fixed production problems that caused consoles to lock up and display three flashing red lights, which gamers have referred to as "the red ring of death."

Microsoft shares slipped 6 cents to $28.16 in afternoon trading Thursday.

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