It happened. That thing I was told to expect for over a year. The death of my PlayStation 3. As someone who owned two PlayStation 2 consoles that seemed to prematurely cut out, I have no idea why this came as such a shock. How I managed to transition so fluidly between such an unusual host of emotions.
Outrage. Despair. Acceptance. Indignation. Sorrow. Grief. Determination.
That feeling of sudden elation followed swiftly by dejection as the various remedies provided by the interwebs failed. “All I need, angelic bearded Christ, is my data. The rest I can live without, but that save data is my lifeblood!” I more or less cried out to nothing in particular. Maybe I was hoping to embarrass myself in front of my tiny Japanese guest until it was revealed to be a ruse. Before I could test that theory, an article that suggested using one of my vacuum cleaner’s largely ornamental attachments to clean the vents brought it back to critical condition. Though on death’s doorstep, it should survive long enough to transfer the necessary data on to its successor. The younger, slimmer, perhaps whiter, more forward-facing* replacement.
Going through this ordeal got me thinking about all the bad press Microsoft received about the premature death of X-Box 360s, the dam-busting cascade of nerd rage, and how there’s somehow only light rumblings of dissatisfaction here and there on the Sony end. This is in spite of a comparable mortality rate in older PS3 models where the general rule, as with the 360, is that it may not die today, it may not die tomorrow, but sooner or later it will die.
It was proven one console generation ago that Sony released a product they knew would die based on their own tests, but they didn’t take the time to fix the hardware problems that caused this. Instead of making it up to their consumers with an early admission and streamlining channels to replace their defective products when the outcry reached a certain roar, Sony waited until they got hit with a class action lawsuit.
Sadly, the death of your PlayStation 3 doesn’t come with the benefits of the settlement from last generation. There’s no free repair or replacement. The only potential silver lining comes with being empowered to purchase a new SKU with potentially sleeker features. If you happen to like curves, though, you’re screwed.
At a glance, the first likely guess for why this isn’t a huge deal would be the meager size of those who purchased the first round of SKUs. The Sony loyalists. The early adopters. They’re the ones stuck with the shaft, as PlayStation 3 sales weren’t too stellar until they released the slim model that coincided with the price cut everyone had been hoping for since launch. And while I understand the slim models aren’t immune to the yellow light of death, a cursory glance around the internet seems to indicate that their failure is less common, or simply less noted.
So in a way, by making their console something of a luxury item with a high price point that was geared almost exclusively toward consumers they’d already won over years ago, their damage control was kind of built in. The people aren’t likely to make a big stink and there weren’t likely to be that many of ‘em, I guess.
Still, this bad juju is bound to go somewhere, and I was delighted to learn that it had. Not only is Sony alienating the people buying into the gaming branch of its consumers, but apparently all kinds of Sony consumers are seeing products crap out long before they out to, but sometime after the warranty is up. According to an article called “The Ghosts of Sony,” written by site favorite Jake Adelstein and Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky, some refer to this phenomena as the “Sony Timer.”
The keen point made in the article is that it really doesn’t matter whether or not Sony designs hardware flaws in their products aimed to keep the consumer active within the Sony consumer web. What matters is that many believe it is.
Frankly, I’m not sure whether there’s truth to the “Sony Timer,” but what I do know is this: three Sony consoles have crapped out for me whereas zero of their competitor’s consoles have. The fact that so little attention is paid to this issue makes me feel that this will continue to be the case, especially since many of those plugged into PlayStation products signed away their right to participate in class action lawsuits in an updated Terms of Service.
While I’m tempted to take someone up on the offer to treat me to one of the sexy new PlayStation 3′s, this feels like too good of an opportunity to vote with my dollar. Rather than investing my own money, or anyone else’s money for that matter, in the hot, futuristic-looking PS3, I’d rather take a principled stand against corporate dickheadery and shoddy manufacturing. If nothing else that should lessen the blow when my Sony flat-screen craps out.
*= So long, Metal Gear Solid 4 bundled, backward compatible PS3!