Viral videos are circulating on Twitter showing the newly-released Xbox Series X seeming to billow smoke. While this would certainly be cause for concern, others have pointed out possible causes besides the console burning up, and Spanish Twitter news account Xbox Studio demonstrated how easy the effect is to recreate using an ordinary household vape. You know, like every household has. Update: Microsoft has responded to the situation.
It started with a tweet from one Arek Adamowicz, tagging Xbox Poland for help with their Xbox Series X. According to a Google translation of the tweet, the system was in use for only a minute or two, still in menus, when a pillar of smoke appeared. The tweet was accompanied by a brief video of what looks like a new console owner’s nightmare.
Adamowicz’s video isn’t the only smoking Xbox Series X making the rounds. Another, posted to Twitter by Nick Blanco, shows a much less dramatic display of smoke.
While Adamowicz says the video is “not a joke,” Twitter users have been pointing out indications that it could be faked. Some note that no smoke is coming out of the bottom of the system. Others note that the way the “smoke” dissipates indicates that we’re looking at water vapor from a vaping device instead of cooked internal components. It’s certainly a very clean smoke.
I’m not saying these videos are fake or real, but as the Xbox Studio Twitter account demonstrated, the effect is pretty easy to reproduce. After the Xbox Series X powers down, the fan is still spinning, pulling air from the bottom and passing it through to the top, dissipating heat. When he blows thick clouds from his vape, they’re sucked through, creating the dramatic effect.
You probably don’t want to try this at home. Vapor is still water, and blowing water through your electronics is a bad idea, even if they are powered down. I attempted to recreate the effect using a thin stick of incense, which did not produce much “smoke” but did make my living room smell like lavender.
I wouldn’t worry too much about your new Xbox Series X becoming a smokestack, at least not without help. Should your new hardware actually begin melting from the inside, that’s definitely going to be a warranty issue.
Update 11/11/20 7PM: Microsoft gave Kotaku the following statement regarding the posted videos: “We take all product safety reports seriously and our products meet or exceed industry standards. Findings from our initial investigations do not align with some of the claims being broadly reported, however we are in the process of investigating further.”
We’ve also learned that Microsoft engineers have never encountered a similar smoke-billowing situation during the testing of thousands of consoles over the past year.