The ability of console makers to update their systems' firmware has a number of benefits, as evidenced by the continually expanding capabilities of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. However, the updating of firmware on all three platforms is sometimes associated with reports of systems being broken by the updates, or "bricked."
In some cases, the owners of ruined consoles do more than make angry message board posts about their misfortune. In late 2006, an Xbox 360 owner sued Microsoft over a system update rendering his console inoperable. That suit was dismissed in mid-2007 when Microsoft and the plaintiff reached an agreement out of court.
Now it's Sony's day in court, as last week a pair of PlayStation 3 owners who had their systems bricked by the September 3.0 and 3.01 firmware updates filed suit agianst the company. The two gamers--one from Texas, the other from Iowa--allege that the updates caused PS3s to malfunction, with problems including loss of controller use, malfunction of the Blu-ray drive, and bricking of consoles. When they contacted Sony's customer service representatives, the pair were told that the system failures were coincidental and unrelated to the system update. Furthermore, Sony would charge them a repair fee of $150 in order to fix the systems.
"Defendant's unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices include, but are not limited to, misrepresentations regarding the fitness of the PS3 and software updates, failing to disclose defects in the system and software updates, and refusing to repair PS3 systems free of charge," the suit alleges. It also takes exception to Sony making it so that certain software refuses to run until the firmware update is downloaded and installed on the system.
The pair are seeking class-action status for the suit, with the stated class being every gamer who owns a PS3 and installed either one (or both) of the firmware updates in question. They are seeking unspecified damages and restitution from Sony.
As of press time, a Sony representative had not returned GameSpot's request for comment.