Sony has sharply criticised a facile BBC report castigating the PS3’s warranty and reliability by claiming it has a “Yellow Light of Death” problem.
However, few can help but notice the lead journalist involved has himself worked for Microsoft, during which time he called the Xbox 360 “perfect” and said he “feels sorry for” PS3 buyers, whilst loudly proclaiming his own impartiality in true BBC style.
The BBC’s “Watchdog” programme, a primetime show which gaudily investigates consumer complaints against companies, aired a report based on 150 complaints it had received about PS3s failing from the so-called “Yellow Light of Death,” the PS3’s generic hardware fault indicator, where it claimed that Sony refused to repair the units for free (as they were out of warranty).
Together with companies hawking their own PS3 repair services and an independent consultancy it then prepared a “technical report” of the problems based on its analysis of 3 failed consoles, one of which had been modified by the owner, which it attempted to confront Sony with.
A publicity stunt involving BBC funded “free” PS3 repairs being offered outside the Sony HQ was then set up, though Watchdog admitted of the paltry 11 units repaired, 4 later failed again.
Sony responds with a lengthy and detailed rebuttal, saying that the scale of the problem is minute:
“SCEUK has run searches of its customer complaints/warranty database to identify the number of reports made to it regarding instances of system shutdown or failure in circumstances where the front panel yellow indicator is illuminated.
The results show that of all PS3s sold in the UK to date, fewer than one half of one per cent of units have been reported as failing in circumstances where the yellow indicator is illuminated.”
The actual number is estimated to be 12,500 units, out of the total UK install base of 2,500,000 units, which is of course difficult to compare to the supposed 54% RRoD failure rate enjoyed by the Xbox 360.
Sony warns the BBC that it is prepared to take “all necessary steps” to protect its brand from slanderous reporting. The BBC has yet to issue a defence.
Most curiously of all, the journalist presenting the report, one Iain Lee, has previously been employed by Microsoft to shill for the Xbox; in one such article published on MSN, entitled “Console Wars: Iain Lee takes sides,” he demonstrates his impartiality:
“You have to feel sorry for everyone that plumped for the PS3 over the 360. Not the Sony diehards that would buy a polished poo if it had the Sony logo on.
And don’t get me started on the online services. That’s a whole rant in itself. Suffice to say, one console offers a sublime, beautiful, wondrous, joyful online experience, while the other is guff. I’ll leave it to you to try and work out which is which.
Look, I’m not saying I’m never going to play PS3 again, all I’m saying is it’s going to take something pretty special to get me to try and find the controllers and start up the thing.
Firstly, the 360 came out and is as close to perfect as you can get. Don’t get me wrong, I may be in the employ of Microsoft to write this column, but there is no way I’m taking dirty money.”
Who would ever think such a thing.