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Viral videos show Xbox Series X consoles smoking, but are they real or fake?

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Update, November 11, 2020: Microsoft has offered this statement on the "issue," noting that they take all these reports seriously, and are currently in the process of investigating the so-called claims. "We take all product safety reports seriously and our products meet or exceed industry standards. We are in the process of investigating further."

Ah, the internet. The most powerful repository of all of humanity's cumulative knowledge. And the most powerful way to amplify viral falsehoods for internet clicks. And no, the irony is not lost on me.

Alas, I've already had dozens of DMs and messages from friends and family about a viral video, that apparently, shows the Xbox Series X full-on catching fire. Are they real, though?

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The first comes from @Arek_Adamowicz in Poland, who posted the above video which appears to show thick white smoke billowing out of the Xbox Series X. The second comes from reddit, which shows a similar wisp of smoke curling up from the vents.

The Xbox Series X is designed to vacuum cool air from below the console and feed it up through the components with a very large, very quiet fan. Naturally, this would make it incredibly easy to fake a video like the ones above, feeding smoke from another source (like this) into the console. The length of both videos, being only a few seconds, would corroborate such. The fact the Xbox Series X in Adamowicz's video is sitting on a frame, which is conveniently cropped in the video, could also indicate smoke being fed in from another source below the console itself.

Source: Microsoft How the Xbox Series X handles air flow. (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

If a component inside the console had caught fire, I would've expected continuous smoke production, along with a spreading of the fire. For the components inside the Xbox to actually catch fire, they'd have to get seriously hot, enough to ignite the surrounding plastics within the box.

Our current thinking is ... don't believe everything you see on the internet.

The Xbox Series X like the PS5 and other modern devices have an auto-off switch for situations where the components are getting too warm. Microsoft's labs also test the Xbox Series X consoles inside large toaster ovens, to ensure that they're not a fire hazard and that they can remain cool even in warmer climates. Our own thermal imaging tests concluded that the Xbox Series X runs generally cooler than the Xbox One X even.

There's an outside tiny possibility, of course, that the videos are real and not filmed in bad faith. There's a slim chance a piece of packaging fell into the console and potentially caught fire. If properly insulated, though, modern electronics simply don't do that. It's not like video game consoles are stuffed with igniting material. The very rare instances that smartphones catch fire is almost always due to battery issues, which, of course, aren't found in non-portable video game consoles.

Update November 11, 2020: Twitter user @XboxStudio showed how to re-create the video using smoke from a vape pen. Looks pretty similar, no? Some might say, identical.

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In any case, we've reached out to Microsoft to comment, but our current thinking is ... don't believe everything you see on the internet.

Case in point, those pictures that show a ping pong ball suspended by the "force" of the Xbox Series X fan are probably fake too, given that I couldn't even get a feather to float on mine. But hey, gotta' get those juicy clicks.

Xbox Series X/S

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Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

18 Comments
  • Yeah, I'm calling bull on that video, that is way too much smoke coming out of the device for it to be legit.
  • Also, whoever buys into this being real has absolutely no experience with an electronics component burning down. You need to really burn the hell out of a component for this to happen. It's not going to happen to a new Series X, period. 100% impossible.
  • I'm getting pretty sick of this concern trolling over the heating of the console.
  • Are people so stupid to take their time to spread this crap? Yes, they are. There seems to be a lot of downright stupid and also resentful people involved in this childish "console wars" thing. Maybe they have too much time on their hands that they should use to play the damn games on whatever console or appliance they damn want. Jeez.
  • Election is over. Gotta keep busy with something..
  • This, well said.
  • Is it? Look at half the country right now...
  • Don't discount the power of Viral Advertising to ratf$%#@k your opposition. Many big corporations do this by hiring dodgy 3rd parties to "seed" videos of their competition failing at something to produce a viral "negative" reaction, especially when they are desperate to make sales.
    Would someone like Sony do this? (duh!) If you believe every video you see on the Internet you are a moron, which is what they are hoping anyway.
  • Smoke like that would have a flame
  • It definitely would not be fluffy white plumes.
  • that second guy clearly pumped smoked into the bottom of the Xbox lower left so stupid. The First guy did most likely the same thing that is why the smoke dissipated so quickly. Why would you do something like this. You buy a Xbox but then try to damage the brand you spend a lot of money on?
  • Yeah, I agree it's likely BS. I hope MS shows this guy's system logs and calls his butt out on it. I don't know that what he is doing would be necessarily defamation, but it could be argued that it might hurt their pre-orders. Considering they can't make them fast enough, I'm sure they're fine, lol. But still, I hope they flame the guy enough to make him smoke a little.
  • I think I'm more disappointed with the fact that we're even questioning that it's fake. Obviously he used his vape pen That's clearly in his hand. Wow.
  • LOL I love the title of this article: https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-please-dont-blow-vape-smoke-into-you...
  • I will say one thing, it does look pretty cool.
  • Yeah, can you imagine some RGB lighting and a smoke generator? Maybe thats the next version. 😛
  • Why didn't he record the whole video from first time setup ? If he asked for a replacement then he did something with his new device.
  • I JUDGE YOU
    because none of you ask an author of this video about his statement. None of you check if it would be truth or a fake only speculation, "Reconstructions". And you have one opinion without evidence. Now everyone judges author, guy from Poland what he did, but there is a plot twist. He said that it isn't fake and this is real. In my country is only one person who ask him what's happened. An independent journalist. Now you can check what author have to say. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HiAih9x5qU So, "don't believe everything you see on the internet." because now you are browsing and reading an article from the internet. ;)