Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Console Wars - Built to last.

Ah the console wars, for those who don't know it the battle is still raging on with the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 and the Wii. The Wii has sold more, the 360 has better games, and the PS3 um looks really nice. All that though is superficial compared to the really big question - what happens when something goes wrong?

This entry was prompted by a set of coincidences one of which was this link from the Guardian Games Blog about the real reason behind the failure rate of this console.

It seems easy to believe - in order to get the jump on a rival a company discards quality in the vain hope that it can be all sorted out later; a little like a cavalry charge into the enemy followed by thick fighting hoping the infantry turns up to bail them out. The most interesting point I found was the answer to the question

Q: How many times does an Xbox 360 unit have to be sent in and repaired before they will replace it with a completely new unit?
You don't they get rotated the one you get back isn't necessarily the one you sent in. Results in a nice turnaround, but as one commenter asks 'Can't wait for someone to send in a new HDMI version and get an old one in return'.

Next up is the Nintendo Wii, this part was prompted by my boss who bought two before Christmas and found one of them failed to accept a disc. It took him until last week to manage to get in touch with Nintendo who, as it was still under warranty, are sending out a Freepost address sticker and asking him to stick it in a box for return. He's intelligently going to add on proof of postage and insurance which will come out of his own pocket.

Finally we get to the Sony Playstation 3 which had bubble mixture spilled over it which got into the disc tray. This caused the system not to work... at least for a while. After contacting Sony the same day he was asked to boot it up to check and was surprised to find it worked. Two days later while playing a DVD it failed. He talked to Sony the next morning, out of warranty, damn. How much to fix? Well the easiest thing to do is we can send you out a new one for £200 and pick up the old one.

The next day a courier arrived with a big box, unsealed it, took out a new identical version PS3 and put the defunct one back in the box for return.

So what can I say? Microsoft Xbox360 - Apparently a poor manufacturing process leading to a high failure rate; Nintendo Wii - difficult to get hold of in every way; Sony Playstation 3 - robust enough to withstand accidental spillage for a time, easy to get hold of and quick to respond (admittedly when money exchanged hands)

I think I picked the right horse.