Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wrestling With PlayStation - Part 1

I have never done, or said, or written anything without merit. About anything.

Or anyone.

But I always catch some sort of flak when I'm speaking about Sony. Fanboy, the fans chirp. Hater. Etc. Never mind the fact that as a gamer, I am proclived to using EVERY system and not just one of my preference, generally at the behest of my passion, usually to the detriment of my wallet. My friend tells me I'm always hating on Sony. I told him, I have no problem taking the piss out of Microsoft, or even Nintendo when they are deserving of it.

"You can't say I'm hating on them when what I'm saying is based in fact. The notion that they are NEGATIVE facts is indeed a point of contention, but it isn't my fault that they are negative in the first place."

He nodded. He knew I was right. Though, making light of the fact that I seem to always be harping on Sony was his way of trying to come up with a legitimate reason why my 60gig PS3 up and died on me the night before.

Yeah, it up and died. Just like that. I knew it was going to happen eventually.

To make a very long story short, I finally ended up purchasing a PS3 late last year when I found the model I wanted, the only reason I'd EVER invest in a PS3: The 60 GB model. Backwards compatibility with PS1/PS2, mixed media memory card slots, 4 USB ports. I was happy. I played my games, watched my movies, went to town. All was well, though I did notice something amiss.

The system would heat up extremely fast, and while this seemed normal for a console with so much under the hood (an older model PS3 weighs about 12 pounds), I still became concerned. The system would heat up so much that the sound of the fan would literally overpower the sound of dialogue in a movie. It wasn't uncommon for it to heat up to this level during a game, and it seemed that the more graphically intensive it was, the faster this occured. I started having to make concessions like lowering the temperature of my room via the AC so the system wouldn't heat up, or even purchasing a small fan to keep it sounding decent, because it did worry me. At it's worst (and it frequently was), it sounded like a vacuum cleaner. I put up with it because, well, they just don't make the PS3 like that anymore, and despite its problems, I did consider it a pretty sturdily built machine.
Though I always threw caution to the wind.

"I'm just waiting for the day it finally just up and explodes", I used to kid. Kidding was all I could do. Where else was I going to find a new 60 GB system? It's not like swapping this one, or exchanging it was an option. I figured I'd just be covered when the system finally petered out.

And it did.

I woke up on Monday, watched a bit of a movie, played Tekken, and left. I came home, it refused to turn on. I did every bit of troubleshooting imaginable. It wasn't a common problem like the "Yellow light of death" or even a blinking red light. I googled and found nothing. My PS3 was gone. Calling Sony didn't help either. After waiting over 20 minutes for a rep to answer, I was hit with a firm denial. Despite the fact that I was technically still within the warranty period Sony offers, I was informed that my model was out of warranty, and that they would not fix it for free.
I thought it was ridiculous. I tried to argue my case and got nowhere. Despite the fact that I was within warranty, they absolutely refused to honor it because of the age of my model. I would have to pay $150 plus shipping so they could not repair my system, but simply send me a similar refurbished model. I would have to pay $150 plus shipping so they could not repair my system, but simply send me a similar refurbished model. This also meant I would lose my hard drive data. Apparently the "repair" process doesn't involve the transfer of data either.

The rep's smug attitude didn't help matters much either, especially the part when he insinuated that Sony's inability to transfer my hard drive data between consoles was my fault because I neglected to back it up often. The exchange literally went like this:

"I don't understand. If I can purchase a 15 dollar cable from a store, mount the drive myself and view its contents with a PC, why can't a certified technician from Sony do so at a repair center? You're telling me I'm getting the system 'fixed', but you can't preserve my data?"

"No sir."

"Why not, exactly?"

"Hey, I have a computer and I know to back up my files frequently."

"Wait..are you insinuating that it's my fault that my data is lost?"

"..Uh no sir, but--"

"Because you're talking about using a computer, and the myriad of problems those units can have are generally related but not limited to: Hardware changes, frequent software deletions and installations, and other unknown factors in the form of viruses and malicious software from third parties. Exactly HOW does that comparison pertain to a self contained piece of equipment like a gaming system?"


"Or are you telling me that I should back up my PS3 hard drive every time I remove a disc from the system?"

He had nothing else to say. By then, I was personally fed up. Calling didn't help, and I was no less stuck than before I called. I couldn't even self diagnose. Between the console's already known heat problem, and the variety of other factors that could've caused my malfunction, I was stuck. I just knew I wasn't paying to give up my console and data for a smiliar refurb that was going to break down in the same way my previous one had. Backward compatibility or no. The copy of Tekken 6 that's stuck inside can stay there as well.

I eventually decided I would just have to replace it with a new model, and keep the old one until I could figure out how to fix it.

Little did I know it was the beginning of my problems, and apparently newfound relationship with Sony's customer service.

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