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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 tarun713 ( 782737 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:29AM (#17376758)
    It's a rep that visits game stores. Bottom of the food chain. One rep saying something stupid in the heat of christmas shopping with a shopper pestering him for conversation while he's trying to set up a demo kiosk isn't really that big a deal.
  • Poor Sony (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:38AM (#17376872)
    They're just pathetic and desperate now. It's kind of sad to watch.

    My brother had two new toys over Christmas. The first was a PS3 which he bought so he could resell it on eBay, with a couple of rented games. The second was one of those $5 Burger King games for the original XBox. Guess which one we played all weekend? It's hard to exaggerate just how much Sony is screwed.
  • OTOH (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:41AM (#17376908)
    it could be that the booth is a PS3 in a nearly airtight clear plastic box...

    I assumed it was a case of overheat

    Also this weekend, I brought my Wii to my brother's place to show it off, only to discover he'd just scored a PS3

    After a couple of hours of side by side comparison, his wife asked him why he didn't get a Wii instead.


    (I also regret not having videotaped our gaming session, as my bro's wife lost her balance and dove headfirst during a bowling throw, almost going through the widescreen tv)
  • Re:Motorstorm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by FunkyELF ( 609131 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:43AM (#17376932)
    Not to mention the glitchy shadows. ...the first thing you see when you start that demo. I was like wow....this is a demo on a $600 console??? ...This is what they're showing us to make us want to buy one.
  • by NeoSkandranon ( 515696 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:45AM (#17376958)
    I distinctly recall demo SNES and N64 units having the same behavior "back in the day" --you'd play for about five-ten minutes and the thing would reset on you.

    I had always figured that there was an extra mechanism built into the demo console for just that purpose: keeping someone from monopolizing the thing. Doesn't seem like THAT much of a stretch that the PS3s would perhaps do the same?
  • Freez up on Purpose? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phoenixwade ( 997892 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:52AM (#17377026)

    What a load of crap.

    It's a matter of time before there is a tech note, and a kiosk upgrade kit designed to ventilate the kiosk.

    One of the Best Buys in town has not had their PS3 kiosk (According to a friend that works at that location) freeze at all, and he was told the other location froze randomly from 6 to 12 times a day. That isn't a designed in effect. A designed in effect occurs every x minutes, and does not require employee intervention.

  • PS3 runs real hot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrJynxx ( 902913 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:58AM (#17377096)
    Considering how small the space is in the demo units enclosures (using bestbuy as an example) I'm pretty sure it's because of overheating. The first thing my friend said about the PS3 was the heat it created when it was on (significantly hotter than my xbox360).. So yea, purposely freezing demos? That's complete bullshit, and if it's true that's a terribly bad practice and doesn't make the customer feel as though they're buying a quality product.

    My PS3 froze during the system setup phase (kinda scared the shit out of me). But it hasn't froze since (even with yellow dog linux 5.0 on it) ..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:05PM (#17377178)
    I asked this question on Digg and I am the one with the -22 Diggs. That's Digg for you. Well, here's my question:

    Who is the guy that wrote this piece? Is it even true? The story just sounds made up.

    Or is it just that people want to justify their hate for the PS3 so much that facts and logic goes out the window?

    Seriously, who is Mr. Nick Brutal?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:41PM (#17377698)
    Actually that was not my question at all. I am asking whether anyone can verify the "truthiness" of the story. I mean I could write a blurb about how a Wii rep killed my dog and ate its entrails in a "The Aristocrats" inspired fit, but that would not be true.

    These days work is a bit slow and I spend a lot of time on /., Digg, Lxer etc. What I have seen consistently is a ton of these blurbs coming up and saying something without any references. This is ok for Digg, but for such a story to be on the frontpage of /. is something I find hard to swallow.

    Say what you will about the PS3, I had high hopes for it to at least open people up to Linux in a small way, if not by way of an alternate OS, then by way of running MythTV etc.
  • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:12PM (#17378966)
    I started to laugh, but then I remembered MicroCenter is selling 1GB SD cards for $15. Of course loading from a flash memory can be pretty slow too, but at least in theory you could have a "cartridge" that loads right into your USB port.

    Maybe what we really need to bring back is games that take up less than a megabyte of storage. They'd look really good and load really fast, but all you'd see is the hero's eyeball.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:57PM (#17379458)
    I don't know what state you live in, but in CT, MA and RI that's completely false. I can tell you as a police officer (with 10 years of loss prevention experience prior) that there is no such statute. A store detective has no special powers above any citizen. The only way they can physically detain someone is through the "citizen's arrest". They are still open to civil liability.
  • Re:OTOH (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sarcastic Assassin ( 788575 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:03PM (#17379564) Journal
    Interesting story about that.

    On the night of the Wii launch, I walked into my local gaming store about 10 minutes before midnight to pick up my pre-ordered console. As I stood in line, the manager (who was busy preparing people's Wii bundles so they would be ready when the clock struck midnight) asked one of the employees to reset the PS3, which was in the middle of a demo movie, annoyingly blaring music. The employee walked over to the kiosk, and opened a latch, and the front of the kiosk swung open to reveal a second PS3 sitting in a metal housing below the plastic display case. He pressed a button on the PS3 in the metal housing, and the screen returned to the PS3 menu. The manager explained that the PS3 you see in the plastic case is just an empty shell, in case someone tries to steal it. The real PS3 is in that metal housing.

    I don't remember if the metal housing had vents, but I doubt the PS3 is overheating. So far, there have been no reports of PS3's overheating (which may be due to the massive shortage), and it wouldn't surprise me that Sony expects employees to babysit their precious PS3 kiosks.
  • by Paradox ( 13555 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @04:41PM (#17380702) Homepage Journal
    Look... when you're at a store-even if you're at a Sony Playstation Store-and a clerk tells you some technical detail that sounds absurd? Ignore it.

    This is a story about a dumb retail clerk spouting off garbage to sound smart. If I had a nickel for every time this happened to me, I'd be wearing an italian-designed suit made of Euros anddriving a SUV made from US dollars.

    The PS3 has some manufacturing defects. Holy crap, shock, and fear. New hardware has defects. This has happened before, it has happened again. If you're concerned about the PS3's future stability, look to updated and replaced Xbox 360s, which are now quite stable.

    One thing I have noticed though. Lots of people tell me their PS3 "locks up a lot". But examining the physical location of their unit, it's in an entertainment center with no airflow. Both the PS3 manual and the Xbox 360 manual clearly said you needed some space around the machines and to make sure there is airflow. The machine heats up, it breaks. Same as any other computer. Once they move it out, they generally experience fewer problems. I'm 3/3 on this. Not that it's an excuse or something you can generally extrapolate from, but it's something to consider.
  • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @05:03PM (#17380936) Homepage Journal

    Actually FFXIIs load times are probably the best on the system. They seem to have taken a hint from many other games, including Metroid Prime, and do a preload of adjacent rooms while the processor is free, and also keeps the previous room in the buffer (monsters appear at the door if you go back and forth). You want ass load times? Try Suikoden V, great game, but each new area can be as short as one hallway wide, and the load time is always between 8-15secs. Probably just as bad is Dragon Quest 8, another great game, but it has a 5-10sec load every time you bring up the menu screen, and then another 5-10secs when you go into various alternate sections of the menu system, and then another 5-10secs to get back to the game.

    It's really not so much the system's capability that defines load times, but how good the game is designed to accomidate for them. There's no question that the GameCube is far faster at retrieving data off the disc, but a lot of the faster speeds you're seeing are due to suggestions/requirements by Nintendo as to how to compansate for loading. Metroid Prime is a great example: large complex rooms are separated by small, simple corridors in which the processor has extra time to load the next room into memory. This way, the game never stops, the player is always doing SOMETHING, and furthermore, it helps to broaden out the level areas, and give some variety in room size and makeup. Many times these corridors are also sparcely populated, or include hidden power pickups as well. Also, since adjacent rooms load in the background, the game is always ready for where the player is going to be. The result is a game that never stops, and the maximum wait time for openning a door is something like 2-3secs tops if you've rushed through a large room before the processor had a chance to finish preloading the adjacent room.

    FF12 did some of this by preloading adjacent rooms... it's one of the first games I've seen on the PS2 that does this, and it resulted in one of the fastest loading games on the system. Most RPGs on the PS2 are absolutely aweful in loadtimes: Xenosaga, Suikoden V, Dragon Quest, Star Ocean, Wild Arms 4, all obnoxious load times (and some obnoxious games, but I won't go there).

    BTW: fuck HDs, why not simply have a gig onboard cache that would be used to store all possible data that will be needed in the next 20 seconds (like adjacent rooms or areas). That can practically be done now, but many programmers are too lazy to do anything with it... there is just no excuse for not doing things like this in Suikoden V and Dragon Quest.

    This is probably the number 1 reason I like about Nintendo, beyond their high quality hardware and software, they have high standards about how clean games must be before they run on their systems. They realize that every game that goes out on their systems reflects on their image, and they take it upon themselves to make sure developers don't screw it up. Sony seem to project an image of non-involvement when it comes to their systems... as long as the developers pay their licensing fees and don't inherently crash the system every 5 minutes, they can do whatever they want. It's like the difference between Apple and Microsoft in terms of interface design, but that's a different post altogether.

  • Re:Market Forces? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @04:08PM (#17391254) Homepage Journal

    While I agree that content trumps loading times, significant load times can substantially mar an otherwise exceptional gaming experience. If the game's goal is immersion (which is most games), significant loading can jolt you out of the experience. Suikoden V could have competed in the "game of the year" catagory, but its load times significantly altered the gameplay experience: you didn't feel the desire to walk around and explore quite so much, all you wanted to do was get to the next place and get the loading times over with. Now, I know this is an extreme (10 second load times every 5 seconds, in spots), but to a lesser degree, it effects quite a few games.

    I hate it when people talk about entertainment products, as if the companies are doing as little as humanly possible. Behind those games are designers with a sense of personal pride, and intrigue. The first and foremost audience for their work is themselves. Even if you're put on a shitty project like making a blockbuster movie spinoff, the designers are trying to make the best thing they can with the resources they have. Usually there's one guy at the top directing the project, like in the film industry, and his sensabilities will be the most prevolent in the game's design. He doesn't want to see ungodly load times as much as Spike Lee doesn't want to see bad acting. What I'm trying to say is that they're not doing JUST the bear minimum of what people will allow.

    In the film industry, we've been able to partially bypass the notion of corporate-created-material, by putting names and faces to directors and producers, and saying "this is their movie"... and to a large extent, we're correct in doing so. Thankfully, we're starting to see that more and more in the game industry, with directors and design teams being at the foremost attention of gamers: Kojima, Will Wright, Miyamodo, Clover Studios. I'm thrilled to see this transition, as credit for games is given to individuals and design teams.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.