By Vandal 29 Comments
I cannot be the only one who is currently disappointed and frustrated with Sony Europe and the European PSN. There have been repeated cases of games and dlc not being released on schedule, with little to no statements or information from Sony. The following examples are only my experiences from the past month or so, there are many other similar stories with games that I don't have direct experience with.
Firstly, I want to bring up the CS:GO fiasco. Here is a fairly high-profile game that was released and available for all announced platforms except the European PSN 6 weeks ago. I find it highly unlikely this is Valve's fault as the game had no problems being released everywhere else on time. Since the failure to release the game, Sony Europe has said nothing official about the game. Nowt. Not even a statement saying it failed to be released. As frustrating as this delay and lack of communication is, nobody is entitled to the game and nothing has been lost......
Then comes Telltale's : The Walking Dead. Here the first episode (along with the season pass) did get released on the European PSN on time. However the second and third episodes were both two weeks late. Once again, I find it highly unlikely this is Telltale's fault as the second and third episodes were released everywhere else when scheduled to. As usual, Sony did not announce their failure to provide the episodes, provide a reason, or provide a revised release date. The big difference here is that many people, myself included, were entitled to receive the episodes as they had already purchased the season pass, with specific dates set for some of the future episodes. At the very least they were entitled to some information on their absent purchase.
I have seen the argument that the delays might be due to stricter QA process and translation to different languages. I fail to see why, if Microsoft are be able to test, translate and release software on time, why Sony Europe cannot. This brings me to the incident that not only makes the concept of a 'strict QA process' laughable, but was also the tipping point in souring my view of Sony.
Alundra is a PS1 game that was brought to the PSN in late 2007 in Japan and late 2010 in North America. It eventually got released in August this year in Europe. Being a fan of the game I purchased it immediately only to find the game was running slow. The FMVs, the main menu, the music, everything was running too slowly. Even though I had not played the game in over 10 years, I was aware of this issue WITHIN 15 SECONDS of launching the game from the XMB. I quickly found the game was running at 50 htz when it should have been running at 60 htz. I find it hard to believe a 'strict QA process' of a PS1 port could allow this though. After speaking with technical support (premium rate number) and confirming it was a software issue, I asked for a refund. Refunds have to go through another department that I am not allowed to speak to. A week later I get an e-mail saying I have been given Playstation Wallet credit, and not a refund as I asked and am entitled to under UK law (check edit). I understand it was a small amount, but when you have millions of customers, these 'small amounts' can become very large amounts very quickly. This is no doubt why they deliberately obstruct refunds by using premium rate phone numbers, denying contact with vital departments and providing store credit instead of a refund.
The European PSN is constantly failing to provide a comparable service to either the American PSN or the European X-Box marketplace, and Sony's decision to ignore any problems let alone provide any information, will only frustrate users and drive them away. I want to use my PS3, I prefer (mostly) to use my PS3 over my 360 or PC. I've bought all of Sony's consoles (bar the Vita), sometimes twice. But due to reasons stated above, Sony won't be receiving any of my money for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, I have other avenues that provide the same content, I feel sorry for other PS3 users that don't.
P.S. I understand Australia/Australasia get a similar raw deal.
EDIT : Thanks to dekkadekkadekka for pointing out that is seems very ambiguous as to whether a downloaded game is a good or a service and therefore covered by the Sale of Goods Act.