Game and Sony Playstation Respond to Third-Party Gameware Pads
After writing my previous article, I decided to chase both Game and Sony up about the blocking of third-party firmware remote control pads. I took a trip to Bexleyheath GAME and they were completely unaware of any update issued by Sony that blocks third-party Firmware. They gave me a full refund of £9.99 for my Gameware pad that I purchased on Monday and offered me a brand new Sony remote control pad for an extra £40. That’s £49.99 for a Sony remote control pad. Ridiculous! I then decided to contact GAME in Surrey Quays via telephone and they also had no knowledge about Sony’s update. They said they were going to contact their HQ straight away to tell them.
On the whole, Game seemed to be sympathetic and even suggested that they may even do a recall and a refund for others (I assume). You may have to wait until they have officially issued a statement on that one though. Don’t take my word for it. What was interesting though was my contact with Sony Playstation. I was first greeted on the phone by a customer services telephone operator who went by the name of Helen. After raising the issue with Helen, she confirmed that the latest update blocking third-party firmware was not update 3.5 but it was in fact update 4.6.
She said that update 4.5 was released a little while ago but it was only up for a short period as it was causing a blue screen to appear. When I mentioned about the price of a PS3 remote control pad Helen was very sympathetic to the high costs. She had claimed that she also comes from a low-income background and so she claimed to completely understand where I was coming from. However, in Sony’s fairness, she did make the case that Sony Playstation had invented the PS3 console, and that Sony Playstation would not support other companies designing and selling cheaper products for their system as “it would be like someone else ripping off your invention”.
It does make sense and I completely understand Sony’s point. If you invent a product and some other company comes along trying to rip you off, then of course it makes sense to block these other companies from cashing in on your product. However, considering that Sony has sold over 75 million units since November 2006, and considering they have taken in so much money from their consumers and yet their pricing still appears exceedingly high, that’s not really fair on the consumer now is it? For example, if Gameware can create a control pad that works absolutely fine with the Playstation 3 and they can afford to sell it for as little as £9.99 then Sony are making anything between £1-40 for their branding alone, surely?
There is but a very small difference between the pads if I am to be honest, and I would be happy to have a cheaper pad that did exactly the same thing than get ripped off over branding. It’s pretty obvious that Sony did not take into account low and middle-income families with the prices they are charging, and if they did, then I’m sure they had fantastic deals set up with firms like Brighthouse who charge 29.9% interest on each weekly re-payment!
I then went on to asking Helen why is it that Sony is not taking legal action against these smaller third-party manufacturers for ripping off their product? She said that Sony did not have a legal team in place (are you sure?) and that it wasn’t anything to do with law. She then went on to say that, Sony PS3 does not support third-party firmwares and that their console do not “support” the pads so can’t guarantee they work with the pads. However, when I raised the fact that the pad was working absolutely fine and that it wasn’t until I updated to the latest version of 4.6 that it stopped working, she basically removed all liability and reiterated that Sony Playstation does not support these pads. I asked her if I could speak to her boss or someone from PR or their legal advice team but according to her no such departments exist at Sony.
I have a strong feeling that consumers are being completely ripped off here. Why is it that Sony cannot put an end to the third-party companies? Their effort to block does not do the consumer any favours as the consumer has already gone out and bought the control pad before they block it. They claim they cannot take legal action. On the boxes of these cheaper control pads it states “designed for Playstation 3” but Helen says that what they say is true, and that it is designed for Playstation 3 but it is not designed by Sony Playstation.
In Game’s fairness, they seem to be completely out of the loop to what is going on here (until I have notified them now) but it seems that there is a cold war going on behind the scenes between Sony Playstation and third-party Gameware firms and it is the consumer being used as the weapon in it all!