BBC defends Watchdog report

Following last night’s focus on alleged manufacturing problems with Sony’s PS3 on BBC consumer rights show Watchdog, the broadcaster has fought back in its war of words with platform holder Sony.

Yesterday’s show, which has since been widely ridiculed by the UK games industry (and, indeed, MCV) claimed that Sony is cheating customers by refusing to fix what the show described as a systematic issue with launch versions of the next-gen console.

Sony responded by claiming that the allegations were inaccurate and that PS3 has a reliability record far in excess of the average fro consumer electronics.

However, the Watchdog website has issued a response of its own: More than 150 Watchdog viewers have contacted us to say they’ve experienced [the yellow light of death] and by Sony’s own admission, around 12,500 of the 2.5m PlayStations sold in the UK have shut down in this way since March 2007.

The problem is mainly thought to affect the 60GB launch model, but Sony repeatedly refuses to release the failure rate for that model, claiming that the information is commercially sensitive.

Sony dislikes the term ‘the yellow light of death’ since it implies a single fault is afflicting all consoles. It says the flashing yellow light is a ‘non-specific fault indicator that can be triggered in a range of different circumstances’.

"Sony adds that the yellow light could indicate a problem caused by ‘any one of a range of issues that may inevitably affect any complex item of consumer electronics’.

So if there isn’t one single thing that’s causing thousands of machines to stop working, why does it appear that one single repair appears to get them working again?”

It’s worth noting that Sony has not stated that 12,5000 machines have suffered from the YLOD in the UK – it has only said that under 0.5 per cent of machines have experienced problems.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that last night’s episode, which is the second in the latest series, suffered a significant slump in viewers with 700,000 fewer people tuning in than the week before.

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