Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sony Address Critical Playstation 3 Hardware Problems by Completely Ignoring Them

This console generation has been rough to Sony.  They went to the trouble of trying to make an uberconsole in the form of the Playstation 3, only to watch it get its pants beat by Ninendo's underpowered, yet lovably oddball Wii.  Then they had to stand by and watch as their third-party exclusive titles like Devil May Cry IV and Final Fantasy XIII suddenly suddenly became less exclusive.  And let's not even get into the emotional ball kick that was the announcement of Dragon Quest IX would be a Nintendo DS exclusive.  That had to drive more then a few Sony employees to go drown their sorrows.

My point is that Sony has to take their comforts where they can get them, like how their console isn't prone to catastrophic mechanical failures like that other guy's one.  After all, Sony would never put out a product without checking for massive design flaws, right?

Oops: The Last Word you Ever Want to Hear in Engineering

What you're looking at is the Yellow Light of Death, which occurs when the soldering on the Playstation 3's motherboard overheats.  This renders the system completely inoperable, short of a trip back to Sony for repairs.  A trip that will cost you about $150 if your system is out of warranty, which is likely given that it only lasts for a year.  If this problem seems oddly similar to the Red Ring of Death suffered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 console that's because it's the exact same thing.

Sony is handling the problem with the grace an dignity of any large corporate entity, which is a nice way of saying they're sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling, "LA LA LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

More recently, a consumer advocacy show on the BBC called Watchdog did a story documenting this phenomenon.  Sony responded by blasting them with a six page letter that explained in very meticulous and technical language that they were misinformed and dumb for even bringing up the issue.

You would think that gamers would be getting up in arms over the issue, but the general opinion consists of either apathy or outright denial of the problem.  Just take a look at this one reader comment in response to an article on Joystiq about these recent events (for reference, it's the first one on the page):
u need to look at the hole picture...

MS replace your console and u have a 3 year warranty but u have like 60% chance of it breaking again in the next year, out of the warranty this time.

while the ps3 warranty may only last one year its clear that 90% of the PS3 owners don't even need it....

soo it doesnt matter if u have like 10 broken ps3 ... because even if u have like a hundred it will still not be even one percent....

if your ps3 YLOD or whatever ... u just have terrible luck... 
The commentator's words and attitude are troubling on many levels (especially grammatical ones).  Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't people jump down Microsoft's throat when they claimed that the 360 only had a 5% failure rate?  Why does Sony suddenly get a free pass?

Incidentally, Microsoft made that claim two years ago after the same show did an episode on the 360's failure rate.  Five months later, Microsoft admitted that there was a hardware problem with the 360 and extended the warranty on the console to three years.

Posted at the behest of Hardcore Gaming 101

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