The Playstation 3 has been around for more than two years now, going on three this year. Over this period of time, we have seen a trend of activity in the forums relating to the Yellow Light of Death (YLOD) or other hardware failures (Blu-Ray drive, etc.)of the PS3. The competing consoles of this generation have varying reliability, as I'm sure we all know, with one of them having a significant widespread issue, and the other with virtually no complaints. This brings up the question...Does the PS3 fit in to the category of having a widespread failure rate issue? Or, does it fit well-within normal parameters of consumer electronic failure rates?
With current forum activity, one can easily argue that the PS3's YLOD and other hardware failures are becoming more and more common - perhaps a problem even. Users creating threads such as, "My PS3 died!!" or "How can I prevent YLOD!!?! :cry:" certainly make it seem like the PS3's failure rate is becoming higher and higher. However, is this valid data that can be used to analyzethe PS3's failure rate? The answer, is a completely obvious "no".
[spoiler] Warning: You might learn something here. [/spoiler]
The electronic manufacturing process is not perfect, as with ANY manufacturing process for ANY product. Mistakes and imperfections happen, and this is where the term "failure rate" comes in. It's never a question of if a new product will have a failure rate, it's when. SquareTrade, an extended warranty company, has compiled some data that you might find rather comforting.
In 2008, SquareTrade released data on the failure rate statistics for the three consoles of this generation. The table below indicates the percentage of failures for each console.
Well, I'm sure you're saying now, "RotaryRX7, that's fine and dandy, but I bet you that number is higher now in 2009, and I bet the YLOD is indeed a problem, so there!"
Sure, you have a valid point. However, even if that failure rate of the PS3 was at double (6%) or quadruple (12%) at this current stage, would that be bad? Let's find out.
Consumer Reportsprovided some statistics (as of 2006, but still completely relevant) to show the failure rates of common devices as well as the average of most electronics. What did they come up with?
Well, let's take a look at that! After a 3-4 year life span, MOST consumer electronics reach a failure/repair rate of 15%.
What does that mean in the PS3's case?
If anything, the PS3 is on a COMPLETELY NORMAL ROAD towards the average failure rate of consumer electronics. The PS3 is reaching its third birthday, and we hear more and more about failure rates with it. So, the bottom line is... the PS3 does NOT have a widespread problem of failures, and it is WELL WITHIN normal parameters for consumer electronics reliability.
Even if the PS3's failure rate was quadrupled, as I mentioned earlier, it would still fall UNDER the consumer electronics average for a 3-4 year old product (which is the category PS3 is about to fall under later this year).
So, in conclusion...While we don't have any 2009 data on the PS3's failure rate, we can easily assume it's not too much higher than it was back in 2008, especially since the press has barely even bothered the PS3 for the YLOD compared to the attention the Red Ring of Death (RROD) gets. The PS3 is not suffering from a 'YLOD pandemic'.
What does this mean? Everyone here who owns a PS3 has a chance of their PS3 dying. However, that chance is more likely to not happen. So, I hope you learned something today and read through this...or at least the high points.
This thread was inspired by the 1,000,000 threads of "ZOMG my PS3 diedzorz!!" and "YLOD will kill us all!!!" etc.. I couldn't have done it without you guys.
Ars Technica- Article on current-gen console failure rates, Feb 2008.
SquareTrade- Explanation of electronics failure rates, using Consumer Reports' data from 2006.