Sony plays you for a fool?

March 31, 2010

Sony Computer Entertainment released this April Fools’ Day a firmware “update” for Playstation 3 that will only disable a feature – the possibility to run other operating system on PS3. I’m angry and concerned about what this April Fools’ Day joke represents.

There is nothing new in that some features will be removed from a gaming system over its lifetime. Audio/Video connectors and -options, expansion ports and slots, hardware backwards compatibility, storage media options etc. There are not many systems that have lived for several years but wouldn’t have lost anything like that over time. All that for cost savings and profit seeking from the manufacturer.

But Playstation 3 has to be the first system that loses a feature after you have purchased the machine! A feature that was well promoted at the first place and gave the system added value. And how does this help Sony? “Security concerns” they say. Has restricting user freedom ever prevented piracy? Attack the users before someone harms the business? Hackers won’t be stopped by this kind of move – more like the contrary.

I’m not saying that the possibility to install Linux on a PS3 would be important for me, but I’m against this action on the principal level. They are disabling an interesting feature from my PS3 that had it when I purchased the system.

In practice they are forcing this downgrade as the online services, new games and likely other media as well will require always the latest system updates. So choosing not to update is not really an option.

There has been a lot of commenting over Internet like “who cares”. Why wouldn’t you care? What if the feature they were removing was something else like DVD playback, backwards compatibility (well, that was lost for PS2 already) or support for external storage media? There is nothing that would prevent them doing so if those features possessed a “security concern” and could be considered to be disabled without financial losses.

I think it is stupid to give the message that “I’m fine with this – do what ever with the system I (think I) own”.

Sony Computer Entertainment like any corporate is interested only in their market share – not in you as their customer. This action from them demonstrates that very well. I for one will protest with my wallet – that is a feedback channel that a corporate will listen.

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