DualShockers PlayStation 4 & Xbox One Buyer's Guide: Community and Support

By Tyler Christensen

October 23, 2013

With any purchase of a console, there are always questions that sit perched upon your frontal lobes like stone gargoyles. The who-what-when-where-why’s are natural feelings to have when making your next purchase. Its almost time for Microsoft and Sony to unveil their next generation consoles to the public. For the past several months, its been a constant flow of nonstop coverage on both upcoming systems. We’ve even released our own series of Buyer’s Guides to help you with the ultimate decision—Xbox One or PlayStation 4?

Looking back at the last generation of consoles, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have had their own series of ups-and-downs. Each console has faced issues regarding hardware failures and system errors, but there are also ways to protect you in case of the ultimate worst happens. The PS3 faced a run of Bluray drive and system hardware failures on some of the original “fatty” models—what some were referring to as the “Yellow Light of Death.” Fan and cooling problems were also being experienced by some consumers. Xbox 360 consoles also had there own similar issues concerning hardware and drive problems. This also had its own nickname within the community considered as the “Red Ring of Death,” which left a system as a $400 paperweight and a frantic gamer in shambles, wondering where and how they will get their consoles fixed or replaced if it was outside of its warranty. Thankfully, if the console is still within its warranty, contacting either Microsoft or Sony will grant you a replacement system.

If you are concerned as a consumer about what kind of issues may arise with the next-generation of gaming consoles—consider purchasing a protective plan on your console. Whether you’re buying Xbox One or PlayStation 4, each console will come included with a one-year warranty, but it never hurts to think about extending that an extra year or two.

The PlayStation Protection Plan can extend coverage of your console of up to 2 years. Looking through PlayStation’s Protection Plan pricing website, it looks like in the past Sony has offered $45 for an extended one-year warranty and $60 for a two-year extended plan. I would assume that the prices would be the same for the PlayStation 4, but have found no official evidence of this on Sony’s website.

As for Xbox, its the same type of situation—Microsoft offers a one-year limited product warranty included with the purchase of the Xbox 360 console, with the option to extend the warranty up to two-years for $50. A warranty can cover a multitude of situations, but some of the big ones that it won’t cover include is if it has been modified, wear and tear, if the serial number has been defaced from the console, if a power surge occurs, abuse and even if an Act of God happens—taking these directly from Microsoft’s Warranty Policy. Microsoft even offers a Disc Replacement Program in case your Xbox damages your games discs, but they must follow the terms and conditions of Microsoft’s Game Disc Replacement Program.

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Each manufacturer provides their own support center that you can contact for questions or concerns about your console in case of hardware issues. Aside from each systems madness that revolved around their hardware failures though, there have been other issues that have arisen within the community—being hacked.

Back in April 2011, there was a hack against PlayStation that took down the network for 24 days, leaving 77 million gamers from across the world to resort to going outside or at least left to playing their single-player campaigns. At first, Sony didn’t communicate well with the general public. Many were finding out that their information including 12.3 million credit card numbers may have been compromised through various reports on websites around the internet. It took Sony a week before they sent out e-mails, which answered a few of the questions that many had on their minds. What kind of actions did Sony take to support the community when the hacktivists left the network completely inoperable? To make up for the month long inconvenience—besides making all of its gamers change their passwords—Sony introduced its gamers to the “Welcome Back” program, which gave everyone affected by the hack their choice of two of five free PS3 games and PSP games, a one-month trial for PlayStation Plus and more from other vendors like Hulu and Qriocity. There was at least some form of compensation for the incident.

As for Xbox 360 players and account holders, don’t assume you have the Titanic of gaming consoles, because as we’ve seen—with the 360’s vast accounts of Red Ring cases—even the most impenetrable and unsinkable ship can be sunk. There have been several cases where accounts have been hacked and information about the account holder has been compromised, even past and present “high-profile” employees accounts faced intrusion. The issue is still there. It may always be there. Microsoft has their own “what-to-do” section on their website in case of such intrusion occurs and you believe that your Xbox Live account has been stolen or compromised. Kotaku made a report referring to “scams run by shady types” where accounts were being “jacked” and personal Xbox Live account information were taken and sold for collateral across the shady “black market” forums of the internet.

Scary stuff. Good thing Microsoft and Sony both have plans in motion that protect all of us in case of such intrusions or if our hardware decides to work against us in mid-mission. How has the community reacted so far as far as these situations go? For the most part—haters are going to hate and gamers are going to game. There is no right or wrong answer here. Most everyone seems to be equally accepting of each upcoming next-gen console. Many are pro this or pro that because that’s what they are comfortable and familiar with. That’s what they want. That’s what you want. So, what kinds of situations do you think the next-generation of consoles will face? In a matter of weeks, Microsoft and Sony will go head-to-head in a match of king of the next-gen hill—who do you think is planning on dominating the console wars? What are you taking home on launch day?

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Tyler Christensen

Marked until death with the words "Gamer" across my back (literally) with Duck Hunt pistols across my shoulder blades. Tyler enjoys good beer, open-world games and is also a singer/songwriter.

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