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Demo PS3 Units freeze on Purpose 363

AbsoluteZero writes "A Sony rep has claimed to Destructoid that demo PS3 units in kiosks across the country were built to freeze up on purpose. From the article: "We do that so that people won't play it all day long," he explained. "Specifically during Motorstorm, we made it freeze up a lot.""
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Demo PS3 Units freeze on Purpose

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  • by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:24AM (#17376680) Journal
    No, no I infact won't. Changed my mind.

    That's what the short 5 minute demos are for. Actually making the console freeze up is just stupid, it screams unstable. This sounds more like backpedaling to cover up design flaws.
  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:25AM (#17376688)
    "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" Where have I heard that before
  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshetc ( 955226 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:25AM (#17376700)
    Couldn't they just uh, like make a popup that says it is the person-behind-you's tutrn to play?
  • by CoolVibe ( 11466 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:31AM (#17376790) Journal
    Oh! Eureka!

    As a comparison: Windows crashes on us all the time as to not let us be too productive! I get it now! What the hell do I need a *nix clone for!

    Natch. Sounds more like a save-my-ass excuse. Way to go Sony!

  • Re:credibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:40AM (#17376884)
    "I don't doubt that they might be speaking the truth, but they could've just put in a five minute reset timer or something. having the unit freeze up is just tacky."

    You don't doubt that they might be speaking the truth? Are you serious?

    What in heavens name has Sony done to instill such deep trust in you?

    There's exactly NO chance that they made their demo product unstable and prone to crashing to keep people from playing it for too long.
  • by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:40AM (#17376886)
    No one in their right mind would design a kiosk that needs employee attention every 5-10 minutes. I mean, if the WalMart or BestBuy guy has to run over there to restart it constantly, then it's either a massive waste of his time or else there's the serious risk that the game will stay frozen for a long period of time. I did a little test last time I was in Best Buy. We saw that the PS3 was frozen when we walked in. 90 minutes later, we ambled out, and the PS3 was frozen at exactly the same screen.

    A kiosk is supposed to be hands-off for employees. Requiring a employee-managed kiosk is a bad idea.
  • by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:43AM (#17376928) Homepage
    It would have been less of a deal if the rep said "Really? Thanks for telling me. I'll look into swapping out this unit." It probably wouldn't even have made the front page of /. then. And wouldn't that have been easier than coming up with some whack job story about "it's on purpose?" roflcopter. Seems to me that the only reason this rep would go with a nutsack story instead of a "I'll look into it" is because that morning he got an e-mail telling him that that was the direction they'd be going with for customer inquiries. Read the article, he got the same story from a Best Buy employee. Now, where's the smoking gun?
  • by Thansal ( 999464 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:49AM (#17377004)
    There is a difference between rebooting and freezing and needing to be manualy reset.

    Auto rebooting after 5 mins is an ok idea. Ok, not great.

    Locking up so that a clerk has to come over, unlock the disply, reset it, and fire it up for the next customer, is bloody stupid.

    An actual idea?

    You want to showcase your nifty new games on your nifty new console? Have one of your pogramers make you a friken demo, containing one level (or what ever, we KNOW how to make demos now, don't we?) of the actual retail game.
  • by RESPAWN ( 153636 ) <> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:00PM (#17377126) Homepage Journal
    I think the real story anyway is that the demo consoles are freezing up on the customers in the stores. They shouldn't be doing that and it makes for a poor selling point if the customers always see a PS3 hard locked. (Also, what happened to putting a user-enabled reset switch on the front of the kiosks.) We all know the rep lied, but why was the console freezing up in the first place?

    So far, I have been to three different stores and seen the demo console frozen at each one of those stores with nobody bothering to reset them. (Meanwhile, I was able to try out the Wii at my local EB with them letting customers check out the Wiimote with their driver's license.)
  • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:02PM (#17377148)
    One rep tells one lie to two people and two different times. The two people converse to confirm. The lie has "validity".
  • The Future (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DanCentury ( 110562 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:11PM (#17377234)
    I'm glimpsing into the future and seeing Sony finally collapsing under the weight of hubris and abysmal business decisions, probably before the price ever gets down to the $200 mark and I become moderately interested.

  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#17377328)
    Being that it was a "Sony Rep" rather than a well known Sony executive means that the story could very well be true ...

    A retail level representative is essentially just a sales person with little or no technical understanding of what they're selling. When a representative is asked a question they're always supposed to spout the company line when they can, and always make every answer positive for Sony. Being that Sony probably hasn't come up with a company line for why the PS3 keeps freezing a (dumb) representative spouted that "They were designed to do that."

    Developer/Publisher level representatives are (usually) far better informed and far more honest.
  • I call BS. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dannycim ( 442761 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:17PM (#17377330)
    From TFA: ...and in the middle of it all I spotted a Sony PlayStation retail rep frantically cleaning off the very same kiosk...

    You think that a Sony Representative is going to go to your local EB store and vacuum your local kiosk? Don't make me laugh!

    This is rabid fanboyism, and a further proof of Slashdot's slant.

    News for nerds? BS too. This is news reporting on par with Fox's.
  • by Mage Powers ( 607708 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:18PM (#17377362) Homepage
    One employee gives out bullshit reasoning and it gets treated everywhere as an official statement? Sony has screwed up enough already, theres no need to scrape the barrel guys.
  • by Horrortaxi ( 803536 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:27PM (#17377516)
    I was caught up in the hype and would have bought a PS3 at launch if I could have. Then I played one at Target for about 10 minutes and it reset twice so I figured it was unstable and if was going to get one I should wait a good long while. Then the lack of games for the PS3 struck me, then I went home and watched a DVD and realized that it looks good enough so why am I excited about BluRay? I fell out of love with the PS3 really fast. I think Sony is going to cause a lot of people to buy Wiis.
  • Sony Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#17377642) Homepage
    I used to be on the Sony Bandwagon. I loved my PS2. I liked what they where saying about the PS3 with free multiplayer etc. Then this whole rootkit crap happened. Sony refused to respond to consumers and only caved once the lawsuits flooded in. Then Sony pushed back the PS3 launch and pushed up the price. Then Sony pushed a company out of business just because they sold games and hardware out of region. What a racket that is anyways. Now Sony has reliability problems and they just lie some more to cover themselves. All of this pushed me to buy an XBox 360. I really didn't want to but I'm glad I did. So what if I have to pay to play online? At least my console works. At least it was hundreds of dollars less expensive. I'm tired of Sony's crap. Even if it means I have to buy MS crap; I'm never buying Sony crap again. Death to Sony!
  • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@viate x a s . com> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:40PM (#17377676) Homepage
    Well actually, he was later told by a "Best Buy employee that they were told the same thing -- the locking up and freezing was intentional." It probably still came from somewhere near the bottom of the food chain, so I agree it's not a big deal.
    More to the point, the author probably got the quote from his local Best Buy, in the same area as the EB Games. So I'd bet they were serviced by the same representative for the area.

    Plus, let's be honest - most people who aren't knowledgeable in a certain area do believe everything they're told. You think your average mom in an EB Games location would question this logic at all? How many things in life are designed to fail or cause problems as part of their schematics? Your power is designed to fail in case of a problem (circuit breakers), your brakes are designed to make noises when the pads are running low, and your average ATM is designed to shut down if it thinks its being hacked. That a console would "lock up" on purpose isn't the most far fetched thing Joe Public's been handed to swallow.

  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:41PM (#17377702)
    There's far more elegant ways than to make the machine freeze up. One would be to have the Motorstorm demo running for X minutes, then the machine switches to showing HD footage for Y minutes. Repeat.

    If they truly wanted it to freeze they would have a reset button outside of the case. I believe the Xbox 360 kiosks came with that.

    I have no doubt the PS3s freeze. To date, there are only two unfrozen units that I've seen since launch, out of maybe 20 total. One has actually had the same screen for over two weeks.
  • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:49PM (#17377810)
    I'd say his statement is complete BS.

    I used to work at EB. We had display kiosks of all the major consoles. The various vendors each had their own method to keep people from playing on the kiosks all day... I remember the XBox demo discs we ran in the kiosk all re-set back to the main menu every 10 minutes or so. The PlayStation 2 kiosk had some sort of timer that would interrupt the power and force the console to hard reset every 20 minutes or so. The GameCube demo discs generally just had very small snippets of gameplay...less than a single full level... The GameCube kiosk never forced a re-set of any kind, but there just wasn't that much to occupy your time on it.

    If Sony was, in fact, concerned about people playing on the kiosk all day long there are plenty of ways they could have re-set or rebooted the system that didn't require employee intervention. These machines aren't rebooting, they're locking up, and it requires an employee to physically re-set the system. That, to me, screams of poor design. Either it's a poorly designed re-set system that doesn't work as it should...or it's broken software that isn't actually supposed to be locking up. It isn't terribly encouraging either way.
  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#17377978)
    I understand what you're asking, all I am saying is that there is nothing about this story which could be verified (regardless of whether it is true) and there is very little about this story which would make me doubt that it is true; I have personally seen a frozen PS3 unit on display and I have seen in store Company Representative make remarkably stupid statements.

    Now, as for why this is on Slashdot ...

    The fact is that over the past 18 months Sony has alienated a large portion of their loyal userbase and their potential userbase; personally, Sony lost me before that but that is another story. A year and a half ago the PS3 was the system everyone wanted, the XBox 360 was an overly expensive console produced by an evil coporation, and the Revolution was exciting to Nintendo fans with massive disinterest for everyone else; today the PS3 is an overly expensive console produced by an evil coporation, the XBox 360 is exciting to XBox fans with massive disinterest for everyone else, and the Wii is the system everyone wants.

    Basically, Sony burned a lot of bridges and people want to hear negative stories about the PS3 because they hate Sony.
  • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:45PM (#17378646)
    I think the problem is less whether the story is true or not than whether one conversation with a low-level Sony employee counts as any kind of news whatsoever.

    It would be like me talking to a clerk at the Best Buy who says he's pretty sure Sony is going to ship a million PS3s on New Years day. Then I go ahead and write a story saying that "Best Buy says" a million units will show up and people should start camping out in line.

    Why would this guy know? Why should I trust him? Why don't I confirm with a more authoritative source? Why on earth would I report it as the position of the company rather than random gossip from "some dude".

    HELLO, he's just a sales rep! He's not a spokesman, an engineer, and he doesn't work in shipping. At best, he heard something from someone else and at worst he's making it up. If you believe the latter is not the case, then you should at least have the sense to check with the guy he heard if from before reporting it as the actual policy of the company.


    Oh, BTW, some guy who was giving away free Linux disks told me that Linux doesn't have good open source ATI drivers on purpose, because they want people writing code instead of playing video games. Do you think I should submit that to /. so they can put a story on the front page about this important news? I know it's the real policy of the Linux kernel project because the guy is an active participant in the Linux community.
  • Re:Sony Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gamer4Life ( 803857 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:50PM (#17379364)
    Wow, if that's all it took for you to "never buy Sony", you'll probably throw your XBox 360 out the window when you actually do research into Microsoft's history.
  • by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:59PM (#17379492) Homepage Journal
    Having taken multiple security courses for multiple security jobs, I can verify this. I do it all the time, too. Problem is that if the guard is well-educated about his job he'll know that he can ask you what's in your pockets and say he has a 'witness' that believes you slipped a CD or something in your pockets, but no, they have absolutely no right to check your receipt upon exit.

    The worst part is that retail security has arguably the most 'power' over other, legally. Otherwise there isn't anything that a security guard can really do unless you've got disclaimers up the wazoo. Like driving into the Menards lumber yard. Generally you have to sign a slip that says your vehicle is subject to invasive search to exit the yard.

  • by PlasticArmyMan ( 967433 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:01PM (#17379522)
    You could also, oh I dunno, NOT be a dick to the employee? Just a thought.
  • by Scratch-O-Matic ( 245992 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:03PM (#17379566)
    My approach is similar to yours, except I smile politely and show him my receipt. He usually looks at the receipt, smiles back, and wishes me a happy day. Total time spent standing still: about 10 seconds. Maybe I'm just a sucker that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:27PM (#17379908)
    Personally, I think Wii is the biggest disappointment. Sports and a remake of Zelda! How come no one is taking Nintendo to task for such a poor game lineup. So, they have the nice controller. Perfect for non-gamers. What about gamers? Where is my FPS lineup? OK, gameplay over graphics. But is that really an excuse for an underpowered system?

    The PS3 has a launch line-up of 16 games of which 7 are sports games (Fight Night Round 3, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, NHL 2K7, NBA 2K7, Madden NFL 07, NBA 07, Tony Hawk's Project 8) and 2 were FPS (Resistance: Fall of Man,Call of Duty 3) ...

    The Wii had a line-up of 24 titles of which 4 are sports games (Madden NFL 07, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Wii Sports, Super Swing Golf) and 3 are FPS (Call of Duty 3, Red Steel,Far Cry Vengeance) ...

    And you think the Wii has too many Sports games and too few FPS compared to the PS3?

    The PS3's line-up is barren of most genres yet has an abundance of Sports games and Racers ... Which is great if you like sports games and racers but sucks for everyone else ...
  • by hexix ( 9514 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @06:26PM (#17381902) Homepage
    Why are you telling me to read the article? What is it that you think I missed?

    The poster I was replying to said someone was going to get fired over this "decision", so I was pointing out that if they actually thought the console was freezing by design, he was being fooled. That is, after all, why this story made it to Slashdot. It is a ridiculous claim, and it was posted for us to laugh at how stupid this Sony rep is. The very idea that Sony would have designed the demo kiosks to freeze up in order to limit play-time is silly.

    Are we on the same page here?

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.