Sony and Microsoft have been continuously bashing each other in the vain hope of winning a bigger slice of the gaming industry. If assumptions such as “I have the best graphics”, “the best processor”, the “it can do it all” console vs the “console for real games” is their main hook to win over undecided consumers, I think both companies might consider reviewing their long term marketing strategy.

For me, MS or Sony may cover more ground by focusing their attention to post sales support, especially in the touchy field of console failures, rather then providing claims of future potential in their system.

 

I bring the debate of post sales care simply because I, like a few others, experienced the grim reality of my PS3 crashing. It simply will not boot up. Turn it on, fan kicks in a second later, beeping sounds, blinking red light and dead silence.

I call customer service and face the unmovable truth that I have to pay £131 for a refurbished like-for-like trade.

Sony claimed it was due to the age of the machine (my ps3 is merely 2 ½ years old). They state, with such a length beyond warranty, I was not legally entitled to a free repair.

I understood where this representative was coming from, but I felt compelled to write to Sony to voice my grievance and it wasn’t about the warranty. You see, when a company promises to invest the next ten years into a console that barely lasts three I can’t help but feel a tad irritated.

I am an individual who does use the ps3 as a central media hub, thus the loss of the Ps3 also meant forcing me back to my pc to watch blu-rays and dvds on a 17 inch monitor and listening to my music bank through standard pc speakers.

It also made me realize that I invested “all my eggs into one basket” and with the absence of the ps3 I simply lost most of my entertainment in my living room. I informed Sony that I felt I was held at ransom to them simply because the model I own is no longer for sale (the original 60 gb model) and thus couldn’t get out and buy a new one for £70-80 more. The fact that I had no other option but to go to Sony and pay £131 stripped me of my consumer power.

I also searched the net to see if others faced the same dilemma and found it curios that many who posted their questions about their failure also owned 60gb versions.

Despite Sony claiming to have one of the industry’s lowest failure rate, I cannot help but wonder if the data could simply be misinterpreted. With more and more ps3’s being sold (Sony recently boasted a profit of 100 billion yen in Japan contributing a large portion of that to their Playstation brand) the numbers sold would easily outstrip the small claims of failure. But I wonder how many who claimed failure owned 60gb versions? And if we looked at the production number of only the 60gb version, I wonder what the percentage of failure would be for that model only?

I must confess, the amicable young man who dealt with my concern was professional and courteous and really, his inability to offer me alternative options such as waiting for my specific ps3 to be collected and repaired was more to do with Sony’s policy than anything else; it wasn’t him that was delivering poor customer service (never shoot the messenger) but Sony’s policy.

The worst grievance was that after receiving the refurbished ps3, I discovered that my backup did not transfer across due to its security measures. What was most infuriating were the thousands of family photos and dozens of family videos that become corrupt in the retrieval of the content (and yes – I have retrieved from PS3 backup file before without a fuss). The games I could re-download and the music I could re-install. But in the end, the experience left me feeling that Sony really didn’t want to know or understand the impact of the failure of the system in my life.

I lost a weekend re-installing all my downloaded games, and couldn’t be bothered transferring any music across (back to the cd library) and have decided to keep my family photos and videos backed onto the Pc.

Which leaves me thinking – yes, the ps3 can do everything but If it dies within a 3 year cycle, would you want it to be central?

 

can I really trust you when your statement is written incorrectly?

I don’t trust the PS3 to store or be my central media hub anymore. Thus Sony’s claim it can do everything falls short from becoming true in my household.

The worst aspect of this experience is the time lost – my saved games we never retrieved which meant all my progress in the games have disappeared. And in some games (such as fallout 3 and Dragons Quest 8) I just don’t have the time and energy to invest to get me back up to speed,

In the end, I felt Sony fell really short of good customer service because it didn’t understand nor did it want to examine the human cost and impact of such a failure.

I had no choice but to pay £131 for a refurbished system that wasn’t compatible with my original back up. All the years worth of downloads had to be re-downloaded, all the years of game time lost forever and the worst sucks most was that I had no other option – fix it or lose the investment.

Sony wasn’t even able to allow me the choice to wait and have my original console repaired and returned for £131 (which probably meant my back up retrieval would have worked saving me hours of time) and what it could have done (waive the cost in a gesture of good will) it chose not to do.

Good customer service may not directly win over the undecided consumer, but it certainly stops those who have committed to Sony from considering other competitors.

Companies should take the time to invest in the human aspect of the industry (innovative games, great customer service etc). These areas may not give immediate returns but what they may find is that loyalty and commitment is a far better reward in the future than a quick hit on the consumer’s wallet.