When Microsoft had a problem with their Xbox 360 they spent hundreds of millions fixing a “red ring of death problem”, now Sony who has a PS 3 “yellow light of death” problem” is asking owners to pay hundreds of dollars to fix the problem if a Playstation console is over 12 months old.
This is despite the fact, that when the problem PS3 consoles were purchased, they were most expensive gaming console in the world, simply because it was made by Sony, who sees themselves as a superior brand to both Microsoft and Nintendo.
Described as a super powered entertainment machine, Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia has already had problems with the Blu ray player in the PS3, now the Japanese Company who are currently strapped for cash is asking owners to pay to fix the new problem which fails to boot after displaying a yellow light.
This is not the first time that Sony has price gouged consumers for repairs to a Sony PS3.
Writing in response to a News Ltd story on the new slim PS3, Trish of Melbourne said that when she recently reported a Blu ray problem to SCE Australia she was told that it would cost $315 to fix her PS3 console that was less than 2 years old.
She wrote “When the Xbox 360 developed a common fault outside the warranty period, Microsoft fixed it for free. Having to spend $315 to fix a PS3 console after not even 2 years is equivalent to spending about $10,000 on repairs on an average car – totally ridiculous”.
Now hundreds of PS3 owners are claiming that their gaming consoles have broken down without warning, with all of the problem devices displaying the same fault indicator – a yellow flashing light. When that light shows, the box no longer works. It’s become so feared by gamers that they’ve dubbed it “The Yellow Light of Death”.
The BBC in the UK reports that more than 150 Watchdog viewers contacted them to say they’ve had problems with their PS3.
And while Sony has admitted to 12,500 problem machines in the UK, SCE Australia is refusing to admit how many problem consoles they have had to fix, or how much they are charging owners.
Sony has also refused to release the failure rate for the 60GB model which is known to be a problem machine. They claim that the information is “commercially sensitive”.
Sony is adamant that users must pay to get a fix if the console is more than 12 months old.
In the UK Sony offered a refurbished PS3 console in return for the faulty one? The only snag was that they were asking consumers to pay $268.00 for the privilege.
In contrast, Microsoft picked up the cost of fixing the red ring of death problem with their Xbox 360 irrelevant of how old the machine was.
Sony is saying the problem is not caused by faulty components. So in an effort to get to the bottom of the problem, the BBC Watchdog program turned to independent repairers to inspect several units.
The BBC said that consumers unwilling to pay Sony for a refurbished PS3, customers often turn to independent console repair businesses. Several of those businesses told Watchdog that the vast majority of consoles they see with the “yellow light of death” can be repaired by heating up specific parts of the circuit board. This process is called solder re-flow.
By heating the connections between the components and the circuit board to temperatures in excess of 200 Celsius, the metal solder joints melt, just like they did when the device was first assembled. Console repairers say that this process method is commonly used to repair fractured connections, or dry joints.
Watchdog then asked independent console repairer Marc Newman to attempt this repair on 16 viewers’ consoles which had the yellow flashing light problem.
After being disassembled and heated in Marc’s special oven, all 16 machines began working again, much to the delight of their owners. Unfortunately, of the 16 repaired, five have since stopped working again, and these were just 16 out of the thousands to have suffered the “yellow light of death”.
They now raise the question as to whether it is just coincidence that they were all resurrected using the same technique? Could that mean their breakdown was caused by the same thing?
In response to the BBC’s investigation Sony’s said in part “There is no evidence that these problems are caused by a manufacturing fault, “We entirely refute the suggestion that PS3 consoles have an inherent defect or other design issue”.
“It is standard practice for businesses in the electronics and many other consumer products sectors to provide free servicing/repairs only during the warranty period, but to charge for out of warranty repairs. It is therefore unfair to criticise Sony Computer Entertainment in this way.”
for the BBC UK story see bbc.co.uk/watchdog
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