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Man Files Class Action Against Sony Over Firmware 3.0 Problems
Man Files Class Action Against Sony Over Firmware 3.0 Problems
October 5, 2009 | By Kris Graft

October 5, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

A Florida man filed a class action lawsuit against Sony Computer Entertainment America last week, claiming that PlayStation 3's recent firmware 3.0 upgrade caused consoles to "malfunction," requiring an expensive fix.

A complaint filed by lead plaintiff John Kennedy, and originally unearthed by Courthouse News, claimed that "thousands of Sony PS3 video game owners who downloaded a system software update required by Sony found that the update caused their PS3 units to malfunction and actually damaged the hardware on many units." The suit claimed that Sony is charging $150 to repair PS3s with "sustained hardware damage" from the update.

Sony released a major update to the PS3's firmware in early September, which added some new functionality and features to the console. Days later, Sony acknowledged complaints from users who said that following the update, certain games would "freeze" up, and controllers were not functioning correctly.

"SCEA is aware of reports that PS3 owners are experiencing isolated issues with their PS3 system since installing the most recent system software update (v3.00)," the company stated on its blog following the release of the update.

Days later, Sony released a follow-up firmware update intended to remedy the issues apparently caused by the original release, but the plaintiff alleged the new update did not fix the issues, and actually caused further problems with the console's Blu-ray drive.

The suit accuses SCEA of breach of implied warranty, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and other counts. The suit is seeking restitution and damages in an amount to be decided at trial, as well as legal fees.

SCEA did not immediately return request for comment.

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Alan Rimkeit
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Does anyone here actually know someone that has had these supposed issues that is not from the internet? I know lots of people with a PS3 and I don't know anyone with the problems caused by the update.

Also I heard that the problems were just with games like Uncharted malfunctioning. Is this guy claiming that the update bricked his system of ruined the hardware? That is just crazy. I haven't heard a thing from anyone like this.

Alan Rimkeit
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That is weak sauce Robert. I have a 80GB PS3 and I updated to firmware 3.0 with no issues at all. I wonder what is triggering the issues with he hardware. My PS3 played Uncharted with no issues and is still playing movies with no issues. This is certainly strange. Though I would put away the tin foil hat as I really doubt Sony is messing people's PS3's on purpose. The danger for being found out and being sued would be to huge, not to mention potential criminal charges of fraud. No corporation in their right mind would do such a thing.

Andy Lundell
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It's pretty much a mandatory upgrade.

Without the upgrade the machine will no longer perform as advertised.

(And as far as I know there's no downgrade path.)

Alexander Bruce
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These law suits always sound so strange when people file them.

"My console broke. I demand $50,000 in damages".

Crazy people.

Alan Rimkeit
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Robert, yes the 80 GB has partial PS2 BC to about 85-90% of all PS2 games. The only one I have had any issues with was SSX:Tricky. :( That made me a sad panda. Good thing my daughter still has my old PS2 Slim. :)

Otherwise I do believe they are almost exactly the same. I would say Sony is not going to release and hard numbers on the optical disk issue unless they are sued for it in court. And even then I imagine the records might get sealed. I sum it all up to the regular failure rate that all consumer electronics experience. I understand that almost all of consumer electronics fail at an average rate of around 5-8% from what I have read. That is about the level at which PS3's have failed from what I have read around the internet.

James LeGeros
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I have to strongly disagree Robert... Hard drives have allowed games to be patched and updated with new content. It also allows me (as a consumer) to be able to save the game I'm playing without going out and buying a memory card.

In the PS3's case, it allows developers to cache data to speed up load times which allows you to bypass the inherent flaw of optical drives of being able to read only one file at a time.

Robert C.
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Human beings are pattern seeking animals. You update the firmware and the console crashes within some period of time and your brain makes the connection. Nothing seems to indicate that there actually is a connection, but with millions of PS3s out there, it has happened to enough people coincidentally that it feels like there is a pattern even if there isn't.

Pre-internet this wouldn't have happened because it would have been unlikely that anybody that you know personally would have had the same problem. Or at least, you'd recognize that the number of people with problems compared to the number that did not was very small. With the internet - the information you get is that thousands of people have the same problem as you - but with no context as to the overall picture.

Kren Cooper
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Alan Rimkeit wrote "The danger for being found out and being sued would be to huge, not to mention potential criminal charges of fraud. No corporation in their right mind would do such a thing."

Is that like no huge music company would ship out audio CDs that when played on your PC silently installed a rootkit as part of their DRM that made your machine about as secure as a wet paper bag?

I agree with some of the earlier posters - the ability to patch and upgrade a product is a two edged weapon. Sure it can help you resolve unforseen problems and make drivers more stable or considerably faster... but it must also contribute to the "ship it now, patch it later" pressure for some games publishers.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Kren Cooper -

The difference between Sony bricking PS3's on purpose and the whole RootKit DRM fiasco are not even in the same ballpark and you know it. That was my point. Do you know what would happen if any company got caught bricking older systems on purpose just for the opportunity of selling newer systems? The idea is crazy. So please don't take my words out of context as you obviously did. You also cherry picked the quote of what I said as well.

I also tend to agree that the whole idea of patches and upgrades to firmware hold a certain risk. But I also think that the benefits general out weigh the risks. Sony has had some issues with firmware updates. So what? It is getting taken way out of proportion. Nintendo has had some issues of their own with bricking Wii's after an update to the firmware. Are they going to get sued next?

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The only problem I have had thus far with my PS3 40gig has been when Home updated this past week and I could not log in. I kept getting a hangup when the internet portion tried to load. It was easily fixable though after many complained. Speaking on complaining over the net. It becomes hard to gauge when people are telling the truth about hardware hangups or bricking problems when using the net as a source. For instance. I get updates about PS3 news all the time through social networks like Twitter and facebook. About two to three post down form any update, whether it be a game or whatever, some person arbitrary post about their bricking problem, leaving no details or asking for no help. It becomes hard to gauge if that person is just a troll, or if that person has a real problem. It takes the steam out of the real conversation.

BTW I agree with Alan on his point about knowingly bricking hardware. No company in their right mind would do that to a consumer and expect to reap a good reputation.

Danny Pampel
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My 360 died on me the day Bomberman came out, I was so mad as I was so excited to play Bomberman online as it has long been one of my favorite franchises. Less than 2 weeks later I got a console back from Microsoft and has been fine ever since. I pretty much abused my 360 with all night GoW sessions, it took a real pounding and I was sad when it died but I must have had hundreds and hundreds of hours of play out of it.

My PS3 on the other hand was used only for Resistance, Warhawk (which I gave up on because of the crappy servers) and for watching Blu-Rays. I estimate I got less than a 100 hours of use out of it in over a year. It just stopped working one day, I think it died of neglect. It was a 40GB and I think I broke his little heart with all the love I showed for my 360.

Everyone has a different story and while Microsoft definitely seem to have had a much higher failure rate, they treated me well, Sony don't want to know.

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@ Robert

The Xbox360 scratching the disks wasn't hidden by MS. In fact it was in the instructions that if you move the console when a disk is in it that you should remove the disk before turning on the console, or it will get scratched.

Luke Baker
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I just know that before the update, I was playing a game. Then I updated to 3.01, put in a disc, then it didn't work.

It may not have happened to a number of systems, but I doubt people would be making up everything that's happening on the forums.

I'm not trying to bash Sony. My PS3 was my favorite system, and I would just love for another firmware to come out to correct this, or at least allow the users to downgrade to a firmware that worked for them.

Kurt Koller
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Same thing happened to me. The upsetting part is that Sony, not known for their software development expertise, forces a download on you on a fairly regular basis. When one goes bad, and of course they do go bad, they tell you that Sony values their customers and that they don't see anything that points to them, so please pay $150 + tax to have your console repaired.

It's total crap. I've had mine for over a year, I played Metal Gear and watched maybe 40 hours of blu-ray total. Then I put in a disc, it reads it, I go to play it, the console says I need an update, I update, and the console restarts and I no longer have a functioning drive. I'm out of warranty and Sony just shrugs its collective shoulders at me. They can bite it.

As far as lawsuits being filed by crazy people looking for $50,000 because their console died, I believe that's designed to have the manufacturer take them seriously. I know that my attempts to be taken seriously on the phone with them were in vain.

Steven Boswell
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"[S]everal PC shops are finding the problem is the firmware has been overspeeding and burning out BD drives".

David Weir
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I have to say I have always been a Sony fan. That said I recently upgraded to 3.15 and immeadiately my gen 2 80gb stopped reading discs. I really never connected my PS3 to the internet cause seriously why would I? I have a PC built specifically for gaming. (was kinda off the subject but...) But I descided I wanted to check out the PS store so I connected it and got a "Manditory Update" I had 0 choice in the matter.

I do however, after looking on the internet including Sony's official blog site, see that ALOT of ppl are having exactly the same problems. I do not think that the fanboy mentality of "Well mine works!!!" is a good idea cause what can happen to me can also happen to you... It is obviously a problem that is growing by leaps and bounds. (RLOD from the 360's started with a few ppl and grew) So fanboys why not try and find a solution before Sony (a really great game platform company, among other things) becomes another microsoft.

I'm sorry but I had to comment on a few posts in this thread. For everyone in my situation or worse (YLOD) I feel your pain. I hope sony fixes the issue soon.

Glenn Morris
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Serious damage suffered from 3.15. Sony customer support bounced me through supervisors until one became verbally abusive towards me. If anyone has information on how to support and/or become officially associated with John Kennedy's lawsuit or another, please post it here.