Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Addendum to "Nintendo and the last mile"

In my last post, I talked about Sony's nearly bulletproof manufacturing, and their lack of any systemic hardware problems. That's still true -- the failure rate for the PS3 seems to be substantially lower than that of its competitors. But Moriarty at Ain't It Cool News is experiencing one massive exception. Not only has he been having severe problems with his unit, but Sony is seriously face-planting the last mile:
The first girl who helped me today told me that the update can do that to machines. Now, when I first got my PS3, one of the selling points was that the machine is essentially "future proof," but if these firmware updates might fry your machine completely, then that’s not really future-proofing anything, is it? The girl seemed to be totally nonchalant in telling me this, too, like it shouldn’t bother me.

So suddenly, I’m feeling a whole lot less evangelical, folks. I’m going to call my friends who I convinced to buy the PS3 this week, and I’m going to make sure they know that this might be an issue. I thought I could sneer at the Xbox 360 RROD, but it turns out this machine is just as susceptible to sudden and complete system death. At least in my experience.

When I mentioned to the second guy I dealt with on the phone today that I felt like should write about why I couldn’t write my reviews, and how unreliable my experience with the PS3 has become in the last month and a half, he told me to "go ahead and slander us if it makes you feel better."

It's hard to imagine Sony's customer service reps handling the problem any more haphazardly. Note to CSRs: You never know how big a megaphone the customer may have. How bad does this look for them now? Even if the 1% failure rate Sony claims is true, that's no reason to slag off those customers who do experience failure -- particularly in Sony's case, where their installed base is still lagging behind Microsoft's and Nintendo's. That's terrible form.


Korey said...

It's always interesting, and sometime frightening, to see how companies handle their customer service. That PS2 story reminded me of several horror stories of people having trouble using Valve's Steam download service. I haven't used it myself, but it sounds like you get charged as soon as you begin the download, and then if there's a problem after it's finished, you're not gonna get much help.

Reports about Nintendo's service tend to be generally supportive and reliable.

Ian McCullough said...

The second person should have said "Go ahead and libel us if you want." Although truthful reporting is neither slander if spoken or libel if written.