BBC Watchdog Shambles Over PS3 Failure RateI watched the new format Watchdog last Thursday with particular interest because of the mention of the PS3 and what they described as Sony's refusal to fix a common 'Yellow Light of Death' (YLoD) problem. Surprise, surprise it turns out they didn't actually know anything about the subject matter but they did hire someone who gets paid by Microsoft to help out!
I have always quite enjoyed the Watchdog program and they have helped a lot of people in the past by exposing companies who rip off innocent members of the public. But their comments about the PS3 were so far off the mark they seriously need to sack their researchers or so called 'experts'.
Lets go through some of the points they raised.
They kept saying there have been thousands of reports of peoples PS3s dying with a yellow light displayed. The official figures show that only 0.5 percent of UK PS3s have been reported to have failed with a yellow light. This is out of 2.5 million sold here in the UK. Also, if the problem was so widespread, how come they could only find 3 people with faulty PS3s to bring to the studio? One of those had been tampered with by the owner on his own admission.
They said that the PS3 cost £400. Obviously nobody keeps up with prices at the BBC as they don't seem to have noticed the huge publicity over the price drop to £250 recently.
They make out the yellow light of death can easily be fixed by this special team they have discovered. The yellow light is a generic fault light simply reporting a non-specific error has occurred. A single fix cannot possibly repair all PS3s which show the yellow light. At the end of the program they admit that many of the repairs the team had done for them had actually failed again shortly afterwards but it was brushed over very quickly. Also, the 'easy' repair involved stripping the PS3 down to the circuit board, putting it into a special oven which heats the solder and seals dry joints on the components. Not so easy really, is it?!
They made out that Sony won't repair this 'manufacturing fault' when it occurs. If the PS3 develops a fault in the first 12 months then Sony do repair or supply a replacement free of charge. If they fall outside of the 1 year warranty then they will still repair/replace them but charge a fee. This seems standard practice with electronic equipment these days. There is no evidence at all that there is a 'manufacturing fault' and the soldering voids (tiny gaps in the solder visible only under x-ray) mentioned by Watchdog fall well within IPC standards. Third party repair companies like the 'special team' Watchdog had found charge about £104 for a repair (plus courier fees) compared to Sony's £128 repair/replacement fee (inclusive of courier fees). Sony make no money from this (in fact they make a loss to keep customers happy). I know who I would trust more with my PS3 and its well worth the extra small amount.
They use a guest presenter Iain Lee to report their discovery. I like Iain Lee and think he is a very funny guy. He was great on "The 11 O'clock Show" and "RI:SE" but he is employed by Microsoft. He has fronted corporate events by Microsoft and writes for their MSN gaming column. Impartial? I don't think so.
The whole segment would be a joke if it didn't seem to be aimed at damaging PS3 sales or its reputation of reliability. My only thought was that they want Sony to offer a three year warranty like you get with an XBox360. They seem to have missed the point that MS had to offer a three year warranty due to a massive manufacturing fault on their part which led to a huge failure rate beyond any other console in history. I am not the only person who felt the show was biased and untruthful - in fact Sony have sent the BBC a six page letter explaining their factual errors, inaccuracies and exaggerations.