Written by Ryan Johnson (RyanDJ) Monday, 13 June 2011 05:00
You have heard me rant many times about the extra chaos inherent in today's video game consoles. When I had my 8-bit Nintendo, the biggest crash that could happen was getting dust in the cartridge, and there was a home remedy for that. Two of the Big Three companies have had major calamities during this console generation. Early on, we saw the infamous Red Ring of Death. The three quadrants of light around the Xbox 360 Power Button lighting red that signaled your console was no longer operable. Recently, we have seen the crash of the PlayStation Network, being taken offline due to hacking and the acquisition of sensitive materials via third party.
Nintendo seems to have dodged the bullet in the case of extreme tragedies. Unless someone reminds me of something worse in the comments, the greatest calamity for Wii has been either the fact that WiiMotionPlus is what Wii should have been in the first place, or that the Nintendo Seal of Quality has become less quality as of late. Both are business decisions that more or less did not effect consumers as drastically as other issues.
The Red Ring of Death was the result of insufficient testing, as myriads of consoles suffered the same fates. Generally a power issue, the Red Ring signified a burned out console. Microsoft responded with free repairs and extended warranties, and has recently changed the entire chipset structure with the 360 Slim.
As for Sony, who was attacked by hackers, they responded with free identity theft software and free games. They also hired a new Chief Security Officer.
Both are tragedies that should have been avoided. A little more quality control from Microsoft could have prevented the Red Ring; and additional security at Sony might have stopped the hackers.
Ultimately, both companies made mistakes this generation. Gamers will not forget either tragedy anytime soon. The Red Ring has become Internet Lore, plenty of memes end up using it as a joke. And no one will forget when the American Government had to step in to reprimand a company.
In the end though, will gamers look back on this generation as when Microsoft and Sony had major tragedies; or will they look back at how the two solved their problems?