There’s a tale they tell in the darkest cell of Iso-Block 666. But this isn’t it. This is the tale of a PS3 that went pop and the aftermath that I am relating to you in case there is anything you might learn from it in the event that the same fate should befall yours.
A loud crack, loud beep, flashing red light and it was all over. I had got in from work and started playing PixelJunk Shooter while waiting for tea to cook but it was something inside my PS3 that had finished baking first. Having worked with electronics in various states of development for a number of years I recognised the loud crack as something violently separating itself from a circuit board.
With a faint sliver of optimism I switched my PS3 off using the switch on the back, counted slowly to ten and switched it back on to standby. Gently brushing my fingertip against the capacitive on/off switch on its front, time slowed to a crawl as I dared hope for good news. It was a forlorn hope though. The LED turned green and the fan whirred into life. Then after an all-to-brief moment there was a beep, the LED shone yellow and my PS3 turned itself back off, leaving my hopes dashed and the blinking red LED mocking my optimism.
So that was it. After two years, eight months and twenty two days of faithful service my trusty launch-day 60GB PS3 was no more. For all of that time I have been extolling the virtues of the PS3 to all who would listen and pointing out that even at the launch-day price of £425 it represented good value for money. Now though with it having failed to last little over a quarter of the ten-year life span Sony have promised it suddenly feels like pretty poor value for money.
My near-launch PlayStation and PlayStation 2 are still going strong and I had fully expected my PS3 to do provide me with a similarly long period of service. What is it about this generation of consoles? I am on my fourth Xbox 360 in just three years and now my PS3 has died. None of my other consumer electronics products have ever displayed such poor reliability whether that be TVs, VCRs, Laserdisc players (both of them), the DVD player I bought shortly after the format’s launch or surround sound receivers, they are all still running.
Buying A Low Fat Replacement
This was just ten days before Christmas and the prospect of not having a PS3 for the thirteen days I was not going to be at work for was not a pleasant one. I also knew I was getting at least one PS3 game on Christmas Day. So what to do? The PS3 was long out of the standard one year warranty, a fight with a retailer as it had failed within six years of being purchased would take too long and I had no spare cash. So I did that most British of things and decided to increase my household debt and use my credit card.
The following day saw me scouring the Internet before hitting the shops to try and find a good deal on a Slim. It was notable that most of the deals that I had seen in the preceding weeks that disappeared now that it was so close to Christmas. I always buy consoles from an actual physical shop. Not only for the instant gratification of handing over cash (or more likely plastic) and being able to walk away with a box in hand but also because it is much easier to return something to a physical store if you need to.
After wandering around the console stockists near both work and home, including a few supermarkets, I ended up in GAME, which is actually where most of my gaming hardware has ended up being purchased over the years. Their console bundles are generally competitive and if you are lucky you can sometimes talk yourself into an even better deal. Before long, with my credit card grinning smugly at me, I was on my way home with a 250GB Slim.
One aspect of my experience in GAME was a little surprising though. As usual, so this is not the surprising bit, the GAME staff member gave their own extended warranty plan the hard sell. The surprising bit came when as part of the sales spiel he told me that it was much better value than Sony’s own offering. “Sony’s own offering,” said I, “what’s that then?”. “Sony’s extended warranty costs you £5 a month, so that’s £60 a year whereas ours is a one-off payment for much less”, said he. “Do you mean Continuous Play?”, I asked. “Yeah, that’s the one.” was the reply.
Being some six months on from when Sony had pulled the plug on Continuous Play I was a little bemused that GAME were still comparing their own extended warranty to some non-existent competition. Perhaps I should not have been surprised though? I pointed out that Continuous Play had been withdrawn because of abuse back in the summer, but he would not hear of it and was adamant that it was still running. I considered making more of an issue of it but my tolerance of being in shops near Christmas was reaching its limit.
I did take out GAME’s extend warranty because I had planned to anyway. With my experience of the failure rate of this generation’s HD consoles, paying less than the price of a game for a few years piece of mind seems worthwhile to me. Also experience has shown that GAME are much more willing to make ‘a deal’ if you take out one of their warranties, so you may be able to essentially reduce the price of the warranty further especially if you are buying accessories in store at the same time. Though if you can avoid doing it in the run-up to Christmas you will likely find you can get a better deal.
Check back at the same time tomorrow to find out what happened when I got my new Slim home.
Bonus kudos to the first person to identify where the opening line “There’s a tale…” is from.