More bad news for Microsoft's gaming arm. Not only has the Xbox 360 been overtaken by the Nintendo Wii as the world's biggest selling next-gen games console, but now it's having more hardware failure problems.

This time the problem comes in the form of a malfunctioning accessory. A number of its Xbox 360 Wireless Wheel steering accessories have been overheating and breaking. Consequently, Microsoft is taking a precautionary measure and voluntarily providing customers with a free retrofit to all existing units.

The action is being taken after Microsoft was informed of a very small number of incidents where a component in the Wheel chassis overheated and released smoke when the AC-DC power supply was used to energise the Wheel.

Retrofit offer

Microsoft says owners of the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel should stop using the AC-DC power supply until they have obtained their retrofit. Owners may continue to operate the Wheel using battery power.

Owners of the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel should download and send off this form or call Microsoft on 0800 587 1102 to register for the free retrofit.

The red ring of death

The Xbox 360 console has also had its share of hardware problems. Microsoft was forced to extend the warranty on all Xbox 360 models from one year to three years in July after it was discovered than one-third of the consoles were experiencing overheating problems. Afflicted consoles were seen to display a red ring of lights on their fascia instead of the usual green.