Microsoft: Racing-Wheel Xbox Controller Overheats

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), facing its second Xbox 360 headache of the summer, will replace parts of its Wireless Racing Wheel video game controllers after 50 reports that they overheated and released smoke.

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 worldwide, the company said Thursday.

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When the unit is plugged into an electrical outlet, its AC/DC adapter can overheat, Microsoft said, adding that it's safe to continue using the gadgets with battery power.

In July, the software maker said it would spend more than $1 billion to repair hardware problems in the Xbox 360 console itself.

At the same time, monthly U.S. sales of the console have lagged behind its top competitor, Nintendo Co.'s Wii.

Microsoft Corp. declined to say how much it would cost to fix the controller problem.

Gamers can register online to receive a "retrofit," which Microsoft said it would send with instructions "if necessary."

The company would not say what replacement parts it plans to ship.

There have been no reports of fire, injury or property damage, Microsoft said. It also is working with regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC is monitoring the situation, said commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese.

In July, Microsoft extended warranties on the Xbox 360 to three years after gamers complained about their consoles locking up and displaying three flashing red lights — the "the red ring of death."

Microsoft shares added 8 cents to end the day at $28.30.