Forecast In Hell: 32 Degrees Fahrenheit … And FallingMark Fossen

Posted on July 6th, 2007 in Gaming, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, News, Opinion by Mark Fossen

hellfreezesover.jpgGet out your cashmere sweater vest, Satan: it’s looking mighty chilly down there today. The Pre-E3 winds are blowing mighty fierce as Microsoft and Sony look to get a running head start at what remains a huge press event for gaming. In the span of a few hours yesterday, both companies made serious news in the The Department Of “About-****in’-Time!”: Microsoft ‘fesses up to faulty 360s, and the PS3 sees a price cut.

The failure rate of the 360 is the story that simply will not die, no matter how much Microsoft wishes it would. The new heat sinks appearing in repaired consoles and the December change in warranty coverage from 90 days to one year both point to the fact that Redmond knows the problem is more serious than good customer service can fix. Recent articles are starting to peg the failure rate at an utterly alarming 30% or more, and this could easily have overwhelmed Microsoft’s E3. The last thing Microsoft wants to be doing is to answer embarrassing questions about one-third of Xboxes failing while they try to redefine the word “hype” with HALO 3. Extending the warranty to three years doesn’t solve the underlying problem, but it at least should help to control the E3 news cycle and allow Microsoft to stay on the offensive vs. Sony.

Of course, the PS3’s failure rate isn’t in question, as people don’t generally care about failure rates for products they don’t own. Sony’s problem is getting their behemoth into entertainment centers, not what they do once they get there. The problems for the PS3 are twofold: it’s too expensive and there’s no content. E3 will obviously try to answer the second concern by trotting out a bevy of delicious experiences like Killzone, Lair, and Little Big Planet. The first concern is getting taken care of by Circuit City and the Blu-ray Powers That Be. Sony is still being coy about the price cut, but it’s inconceivable that Circuit City is doing this on its own. It appears that by next weekend, the PS3 will have shaved $100 off it’s asking price and will include five free Blu-ray movies, which means that the deal is considerably sweetened. With the pricing albatross off their neck, maybe Sony can concentrate their E3 on getting that foot off their throat.

6 Responses to 'Forecast In Hell: 32 Degrees Fahrenheit … And Falling'

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  1. T.J. said,

    on July 6th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    The price cut for the PS3 is long overdue. This is more like what the price point should have been when the console was released to begin with. Surely they’ll have some non-gamers willing to fork out the $500 now, just for it’s Blu-Ray playing capabilities. It’s still the cheapest Blu-Ray player on the market, right?

    As I’ve said before, it’s damage control to the nth degree for Sony. But if anything is going to help them catch up to Microsoft in this generation, they’re going to have to start somewhere, and trimming the price by a Benjamin is a start.

  2. Crazy.Stanley said,

    on July 6th, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    CNN and other news sites are reporting that Sony has denied any rumors of a price-cut. Are they just trying to do a little damage control until they can officially announce it????

  3. Mark Fossen said,

    on July 6th, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    I really wonder if this was to be their E3 megaton?

    And now Circuit City’s let the cat out of the bag, and Sony’s hoping everyone forgets.

  4. Sully said,

    on July 6th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    “About ****in’ time” nailed it…in both cases.

    Whether it’s announced at E3, or not, a PS3 price cut must be quickly approaching. The gap in sales between the 360 and PS3 is widening by the day. Yes, the PS3 is the cheapest BluRay player on the market whether the pricepoint is $500 or $600, but which demographic is likely to boost PS3 sales? Gamers or HD fanatics?

    Moving on to the 360, or should I say moving on from 360 to…yet…another…360. I’ve had 5 fail since launch. With each failure, the turnaround time has increased by several days, with the last one taking close to 6 weeks. Granted, it didn’t cost me a single penny, but I’m sure the brass amongst Microsoft are happy they aren’t relying on word-of-mouth advertising.

  5. Brad said,

    on July 11th, 2007 at 11:49 am

    “Recent articles are starting to peg the failure rate at an utterly alarming 30% or more, and this could easily have overwhelmed Microsoft’s E3. ”

    I have been saying the rate was 30-40% for over a year now and people laughed at me….

    I still have not seen where Microsoft admits there is a problem.

  6. Shawn Drotar said,

    on July 11th, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I think the extension of the Xbox 360’s warranty to three years and the creation of a new chipset makes it abundantly clear that Microsoft knows it’s a problem.

    It may not be the groveling apology that certain people are looking for, but it’ll have to do.

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