Question #1: How many people do you know who own Xbox 360's have had it break down (commonly referred to as the 'Red Ring of Death,' or the 'RRoD')? Some estimate the failure rate to be as high as 68%. I still think that number is low, as I don't have a single friend who hasn't had it happen to them.
Question #2: How many people do you know who own Playstation 3's have had it break down? Sony claims that the fail rate on the PS3 is 'around .02%'. I don't know anyone who has had it happen to them.
Question #3: How many people do you know who have had both an Xbox 360 and a PS3 break down on them? I assume maybe zero? Well, it's zero no longer. I got the RRoD last summer, and my PS3 just took a shit on me last night too.
I tried to download their new firmware update (which Sony forces upon people on a regular basis) via the internet, and kept getting an error code (80029C78). It was past midnight, and Sony's customer service department isn't open 24 hours, so I e-mailed them with the details. About 18 hours later, I got an e-mail back, telling me to download the update on my PC, transfer it to a memory card, transfer it from the SD card to the hard drive of the PS3, and make sure the 'Media Server' option is disabled before installing. I did all of that, and then got a new error code (8002F163). The system tried to reboot itself three times, and then it stopped turning on altogether. I called Sony customer service this time, and they didn't try to troubleshoot it or anything. 'You'll have to go to the website and fill out a form to have a pre-paid repair box shipped to you.' I went to the website last night and guess what? It was down 'for maintenance.'
I had a similar phone call with Microsoft about nine months ago, and while the person on the other line was in India and didn't speak very clear English, he took my address over the phone and had the box sent to me. Also, Microsoft paid for the repair, without any proof of purchase. When Sony's website finally came back up, I saw that I needed to submit a copy of my receipt as proof of purchase, or else the repair would not be covered. This is concerning for two reasons: 1) I can't find the receipt, and 2) Even if I had the receipt, Sony's warranty on the PS3 is only good for one year, and I've had it for almost three. Microsoft may have extended their warranty on the Xbox 360 because of the high fail rates, but Sony only has a one-year warranty? They say the PS3 will have a ten-year life cycle, but the hardware is only protected for one-tenth of that time? A quick check of the official PS3 message boards shows that repair usually runs around $150, and that's not money I just having sitting around. Why should I have to pay for a mistake in their firmware update that ruined my hardware? They already have my $599 U.S. dollars...
There IS a happy ending here though (no, not THAT kind of happy ending). When I was filling out the return form on the service website, I went to get the serial number off of my PS3 and thought, 'I'll try to turn it on again.' It came on, and it downloaded the update. It's working just fine right now.
But for how long?