Nov 21, 2012

The One Where Sony Completely Screws It's Customer Base

I first bought a Sony Playstation 3 console back in 2008.  I've owned lots of consoles over the years from the Atari 2600 to the Sony Playstation 2 prior to finally jumping into the current gen consoles.   I owned an X-Box for a couple weeks, but just didn't care for it, and have never owned an X-Box 360.

I've been a loyal customer of Sony for all this time, and I don't even want to know how much money I've put into the coffers of Sony.  I have over 1,500 items in my download folder on the Playstation Store.  I've bought countless bluray movies and games over the years as well, not to mention controllers, and other peripherals.

Lately though Sony is making it more and more difficult to maintain that brand loyalty.  That is because they clearly don't seem to understand how to work with their customer base.  Never has this been more evident than in the wake of the disastrous attempt at remaking the online store for the Playstation Network.

Ever since the change, designed to make it more user friendly (so they say) and more efficient for the technical staff side of things, things have been a mess.  The store is slow loading up, there's serious lag in places, when you're scrolling through the list of games, you'll often have to wait so that the images will load up on each section, and perhaps most frustrating of all, your personal downloads list (the list of games, addons and the such that you have purchased or downloaded) is either all jacked up or in some cases completely missing, thus removing all of your purchases.

                                              MORE AFTER THE BREAK

I'm going to quote a post by a friend of mine on a gaming forum about his experience with the seriously lackluster technical staff at Sony.

Called Sony because my download list is STILL broken... Here are some nuggets for you to enjoy.

He tells me to check my plus cloud because "sometimes the full game goes in there and you can re-download it". I'm like... uh, no you can't

Then he's like, ok. Lets see if this works, I need you to delete your user account. and i'm like... Uh, I'm not deleting my account. Not all of my saves are backed up.

Then he tells me to deactivate my account. So I ask if he's going to over-ride it so I can add it back since I have my account on 4 PlayStations and he said no. The limit is 2. So i'm like WHY IN THE HELL would I deactivate my account if I can't put it back on here? I said, "I bought my PS3s when I was allowed to have my account on 5, those accounts were added when that rule was in place. I didn't have this issue until the new store was put in place. I'm absolutely not going to lose access to my account on MY PS3s that I bought with my money because of their error... Then I asked to be transferred to a manager... On hold.

Manager is having me rebuild my database.

1h17m later my download list is still broken and he's going to call me tomorrow when the network/store team is in.

After about a week, it appears that his list is still missing in action, and he will end up getting paid back for the money he spent on those items.  Whether it's a check or a credit to his playstation wallet, I have no idea though.

In my case, my download list is at least there, however it's all jumbled up, so I can't find things based on when I bought them.  Used to be I could say "oh I bought this in January 2012 and so I'll just scroll down until I get to items from January and find it from there", however now I can't do that because everything is all jumbled up.  I have things from 2011 up at the top and things I bought recently way down the list.  And there's no way to find it easily, because Sony still has not put a search function for the download list, although they claim that is forthcoming.

Furthermore, when I went to re-install Little Big Planet 1, there are two entries in my download folder.  One for the PSP version that was a freebie during the "Welcome Back" promotion after the Sony Network got hacked, and the Ps3 version.  No matter which one I download (and I've downloaded both) they both end up being the PSP version.


I even download it from the PS3 version page, and when I check it after downloading, it won't install because it's the PSP version.

Then you have situations like others that I've come across where you go to download a game and it's supposed to install the unlock key and then the actual game.  Unfortunately it will give me the unlock key but that's it.   When I tried to reinstall Assassins Creed III, it gave me the online pass, but not the actual game.  Fortunately since I had pre-ordered the game during their October promotion, I had received a PM with a direct link that allowed me to download it.  I now have that message protected in my inbox in case this happens again.

These incidents are not rare occurrences, they are common occurrences.  You have situations where after you've downloaded ten or so items from your list, suddenly every single thing you try to download (games, demos, themes, avatars, unlock keys, etc) gives you an error code, so you have to try again later.  That's not so bad until you realize that in some cases I've had to spend 10 minute scrolling through over a thousand items to be able to download stuff, and suddenly it's giving me error messages and there's nothing I can do.

This is a complete clusterfuck on the part of Sony, and it kind of gives you an idea of why Sony's profits are down.  Not only has their VITA system been a disappointment, and surprising lack of games sales even in Japan, not to mention the outrageous pricing for it and the requisite memory cards, but they don't even have the proper tech staff on hand to be able to properly handle issues that come up.  They have people who have zero idea what the hell they are doing, and end up encouraging you to do things that are detrimental to your console, and won't help in the least.

It's a sad day when the average consumer may know more than the tech support staff that you hire.

As I said I'm a long time supporter of Sony, however at this point I don't anticipate spending any more money on them until they can show that they can get their shit together.   I was just checking earlier how many games and whatnot I've purchased from them in the past four or five years.

Currently I have my downloaded games in four folders.  PSN games, PS3 Retail Games (full bluray releases that are available also in the stores), Demos and Minis.   As of right now I have 57 Full Retail Games, 102 PSN Games, 5 Minis and 5 Demos. 

Another aspect of this is how much shit I've taken from friends and people online over my strict preference of digital over physical media.  I love getting games via the store digitally because that's less wear and tear on the laser/drive and also it's just convenient to not have to constantly swap out discs everytime I want to play a different game.    Imagine how much shit I'm getting NOW that it appears that I've been made out to be a huge asshole thanks to Sony?

Now there are TONS more demos and I'd wager at least another 20 games that I haven't installed yet.   I don't even want to factor in how much all of that cost.  Now some of that has been freebies through Playstation Plus, which I've been a paying member since Day 1 of the service, but the vast majority has been bought and paid for and were not freebies.

That being said, I think I have spent my last dollar on the store until they can show they have learned from their mistakes.  This isn't an extortion type thing or an entitlement type thing, it's a situation where a company has put out a nearly unusable service that in some cases renders users previous purchases completely worthless.

Sony needs to step their game up seriously or they're going to lose more than just me as a customer.

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