Sony has struck back at the BBC, following a piece about the PS3 on the BBC’s consumer interest show Watchdog.
Sony has defended itself against the BBC’s claim that the original model PS3 suffers from a manufacturing defect that which causes the consoles to not boot up and to display a yellow light, dubbed the ‘yellow light of death’. The BBC attributes this problem to faulty solder connecting the components to the circuit board. Should this fault occur outside of the 12-month warranty period, then Sony charges £128 (roughly $208) for a refurbished unit.
According to Sony UK Boss Ray Maguire however, the yellow light in question is an all-purpose error indicator, with no central cause. He also claimed that the 155 people who had contacted the BBC did not represent a significant portion of its 2.5 million install base. Sony says that less than half a percent of the consoles it has sold in the UK will experience the yellow light problem, which means a total of up to 12,500, if the half-percent figure is correct.
Sony also criticized the BBC for a section of the Watchdog program, in which technicians in a van outside the Sony London HQ offered free repairs for out-of-warranty consoles; calling it a stunt which “treats with inappropriate levity an issue which may do serious damage to…the Sony and PS3 brands”. The BBFC refuted the claim saying: “We presented a fair and accurate account of their stories, using expert advice and we broadcast Sony’s response”
While it would be easy to call this Sony’s ‘Red Ring of Death’ and to criticize the company for charging for its repair, it’s important to remember that the extended warranty that Microsoft offered was due to the pervasiveness of the RRoD problem, and that while 12,500 seems like a big number, a success rate of 99.5% is actually very good.