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Should next-gen console warranties be extended?

by Zubayr Bhyat (plut)  Posted Friday, January 31, 2014 1:09:00 PM

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It's a valid question no matter who you ask. Between November and December 2013, reports of console faults were flying all over the internet. Xbox One console Bluray drives were not reading at all and some PlayStation 4s were not even booting. We've also seen controllers with worn out analog sticks.

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Launch day issues were always meant to happen, especially with the manufacturing volumes that Sony and Microsoft were working with. Also, a year is not a long time in the lifespan of a console. Consider this:

Consoles are meant to be kept for long

The lifecycle of a console is typically seven years. This applied to both the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2. Within seven years, anything can happen to your console. Whether it's badly applied thermal paste, faulty power supplies or something more serious like a mainboard issue these things should be covered. Dell, HP, Acer and Sony offer extended warranties for those wanting to get more life out their systems. Why shouldn't Microsoft and Sony do the same?

The reasons to consider it are pretty compelling. First off, if an extended warranty were to be offered (as an extra charge above the price) users would be more confident in the console of their choice. Secondly, if an issue were to arise when a Xbox One or PS4 reaches over a year old, the would be no need for a gamer to pay in for a repair that they may not have budgeted for. Both Microsoft and Sony would then be able to keep their customer base intact while potentially gaining new buyers as a result of the improved service.

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Having extended support for these devices over time will also convince many customers on the fence regarding their choice of platform to move from system to the other.

Should we have to pay for extended warranties?

The next question to ask is whether to charge extra for this type of support or to extend for free. You're going to pay over R6 000 for a new PS4. Add 2 games and a controller into your price and suddenly you're forking out R8 000. Unless you've recently won the lottery, that's a ton of cash to spend. Typically, a new laptop with a Core i5, 4GB of RAM and 500gb hard disk is going to set you back in the region of R5 000-R8 000. That's without an extended warranty. If you want that as an extra however, be prepared to put in at least R1 000 on top of the price. Dell charges at least R1 500 extra depending on the machine you're purchasing. Again, that's an equally high amount of money to spend on an electronic device. Having that extra peace of mind after putting thousands into your entertainment adds to the appeal of that product.

Many will want to have this extra service for free, but I have a feeling that neither Microsoft nor Sony will be willing to go that far. If it could be offered as a value-added service on top of the purchase of the console, customers would be far less likely to move to another platform or system. Think of it as a maintenance plan like the one you can get with your car. In the end some opt for it, others not - those who take it are more likely to stick with the brand they stick to. Ask any Audi driver with a car within a 7-year motor plan, would they consider going elsewhere after investing their hard earned money into their purchase? No. What if we got these options with our PlayStations and Xbox Ones? It'd make them that much more appealing to me.

Exceptions will always be found

There are others however who have had no issues whatsoever and will happy keep their one years warranty. With the second edition of the Xbox 360 (Slim) many reliability issues were resolved and the units were far more reliable than before. The same could be said about the PlayStation 3 after launch. Many still have their 'fat' PS3s to this day and play on them comfortably since the day they bought them.

For me it's great to know that any issues in the first three years of my console would be resolved without extra cost. Others may not agree. Would an extended warranty attract your attention? Would it make a next-gen console any more appealing to you despite possibly paying in more? What would you want to see covered when paying extra?

Let us know in the comments below. If you've had any problems with your PlayStation 4, then drop us a comment as well.

Want to read more? Check out these great articles:

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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