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Watchdog participants warned PS3's might not be repairable

BBC admitted "there is a risk that the machine could be damaged further" after filming TV stunt

Before the BBCs Watchdog programme filmed disgruntled PS3 owners having their hardware repaired for free, it warned them that the stunt might not work and their consoles could be left beyond repair.

Last night the BBC show aired a segment on PS3 failure rates, based on an assessment of three home consoles, one of which had previously been repaired by a user.

It also filmed the repair of 10 consoles outside Sony's HQ earlier in the month, but later admitted four of those repairs hadn't worked. The company it used for the repairs - eSales, trading as PlayStation Pros - claims to have a success rate of 95 per cent.

"We are going to attempt to repair your faulty PS3, along with nine other consoles," wrote the programme makers in a letter sent out to participants.

"The technicians are from a company which specialises in PlayStation 3 repairs, but as I will have already pointed out to you, there is a) no guarantee that they'll be able to repair your console, b) there is a risk that the machine could be damaged further, c) and there is no guarantee the console will continue to work for long after the repair.

"The repair company is a small business, who are not approved by Sony. We cannot guarantee their work in any way," added the BBC rep.

Watchdog also informed its participants that Sony would be willing to repair the consoles – "even if the warranty seal is broken and a repair has been attempted" - should the eSales repair not work.

The programme makers were keen to spring the stunt on Sony, telling participants: "We haven't told Sony we're coming, and we'd like it to be a surprise. At the same time though, we do not intend to storm Sony, or interfere with their operations!"

And although Watchdog footed the bill for the the repairs, it would not pay travel expenses or for food and drink for those invited to the day-long filming event.

Yesterday Sony crushed the BBCs report by issuing GamesIndustry.biz with a 6 page document, countering all claims by the show that the system suffers from inherent hardware failures and Sony's Out of Warranty scheme was too expensive.

Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.