The PlayStation 3 now retails for just £199. It’s a tempting price and the cost will surely tumble as shops engage in a PS3 price war. But what if it breaks outside of warranty? Sony wants to charge you £135.
Last week Sony announced that its PS3 will cost just £199. It’s a huge stretch from the price I paid for my PS3 in 2007 – a little over £400.
Of course, Sony released its original “fat” games console at a loss and over the years it’s been able to cut the console’s manufacturing cost, eventually releasing a much cheaper-to-make slim version in 2009.
So, a lot has happened in the past four years, and I’m in no way bitter about the current price – I hope it tempts a whole host of new gamers to the “PlayStation family”. What I am miffed about is the price of repairing my out-of-warranty original 60 gigabyte (GB) PS3.
My second PlayStation 3 is dead
My launch PS3 passed away after just over a year – the poor sod died young. Back then, Sony kindly replaced the out-of-warranty console with a refurbished model for free, in what it called a “gesture of good will”.
A greater “gesture of good will” would have been if my relatively new console had lasted longer than a noob playing Demon’s Souls. Then again, these things happen… I’ve forgiven them.
That was, until my second PS3 gave up the ghost. The dreaded Yellow Light of Death (YLOD) returned, apparently caused by a possessed The Hills Have Eyes DVD. This console had lasted a little longer – a good two years (nowhere near as long as my original PS1 and PS2, which are still going strong) and well outside the measly three-month warranty Sony hands over for refurbished replacements.
So, how much does Sony want to charge for a repair? 135 smackers. My piggy bank’s wincing at the thought. I’ve tried to explain how much I’ve spent on PlayStation products but, as their customer service team told me, Sony’s got to be fair and treat everyone equally.
Just buy a new PS3?
My PS3’s been lying in its own death bed behind my TV for the past few months. I’ve been weighing up whether it’s worth just handing over the cash. And I was turning around to the idea – until Sony announced a price cut.
£135 for second-hand refurbished 60GB original PS3? Or £199 for a brand-new 160GB PS3 Slim (which I personally deem more reliable) which comes with a £30 controller? Surely I should just buy a new one? Plus, as Becky (@spritesbites) told me on Twitter, I could then ‘sell the broken one on eBay for parts’.
The £135 repair cost may not look too bad when held up against the PS3’s original £425 price tag, but against £199? It’s a massive 68% of the RRP.
To complicate things further, online stores and supermarkets will soon enter a price war as we edge ever closer to Christmas. That £199 will rapidly become £179 with bundled games. I’d be mad to spend £135 for a refurb – wouldn’t I?
Sony’s repair cost compared
So what’s Sony’s defence for this repair cost staying static over the years? Well Sony Computer Entertainment UK told BBC Watchdog in 2009:
‘This figure reflects the cost of repairing a PS3 to the high standard required and includes a door-to-door courier exchange service and other general administrative costs. SCEUK does not profit from this service; in fact, it operates it at a loss in order to offer customers with out-of-warranty PS3s the best price possible.’
It’s a fair defence. Plus, as Jeremy (@Jeremy_LaMont) pointed out on Twitter – the cost of repair is not the parts, but the labour. So although it might be cheaper to buy PS3 components now, the cost of fixing may not have necessarily gone down.
But if parts have nothing to do with it, then we should see a similar cost with other game manufacturers then? Well, actually, Nintendo charges up to £68.50 to fix an out-of-warranty Wii (charges dependent on the specific problem – good idea). And Microsoft charges just £62-plus-tax to fix an Xbox 360.
Sony’s £135 doesn’t look so fair now, does it? But more importantly, it’s now a better investment to buy a whole new console than to get my current PS3 fixed (which is what I’m about to do). Isn’t that a little back-to-front and wasteful?