An Xbox360 customer in Chicago who was sold a faulty console is suing its makers, Microsoft, for selling the console even though it knew there was a fault with the machine.

In a move that could only happen in America, the class action claims that in Microsoft's bid to gain share in the $25 billion global video game market, the company was so intent on releasing the Xbox360 before competing next-generation machines from Sony and Nintendo that it sold a "defectively designed" product to make the Thanksgiving weekend in the US and Christmas in the UK.

Robert Byers, who brought the suit, said the power supply and central processing unit in the Xbox360 overheat, affecting heat-sensitive chips and causing the console to lock up.

Days after the American launch Pocket-lint reported that some customers were experiencing problems with the console.

Problems included screens going black and the appearance of a variety of error messages due to power packs overheating.

"We have received a few isolated reports of consoles not working as expected", Microsoft spokeswoman Molly O'Donnell told Reuters in a telephone interview at the time.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in federal court in Illinois, seeks unspecified damages and litigation-related expenses, as well as the replacement or recall of Xbox360 game consoles.

Some websites have published work arounds to the problem with the most extreme being to dangle the power supply on a piece of string over an empty box.