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back to article Final Fantasy XIII ate my Playstation

A California man who says his Playstation 3 turned into a useless brick after playing Final Fantasy XIII - is the lead plaintiff in a $5m class action suit fired at Sony and Square Enix. In a court filing (republished by IGN), Daniel Wolf, 26, of San Diego, says the Internet is "awash with consumer complaints arising from the… …

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Anonymous Coward

Lemme Guess...

This is caused by some DRM bullshit?

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The problem is the Playstation.

You should never be able to destroy a piece of tech by installing software unless it's some form of robot and you can get it to beat itself to death.

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Anonymous Coward

Might be the software

If the developers are using undocumented hacks that they're not supposed to be doing and that in turn is screwing up the BIOS on some machines, or even causing them to overheat.

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FAIL

Destroying hardware with software

Is actually trivial. Dig you old BBC Model B from the loft. Type the following

10 *MOTOR ON

20 *MOTOR OFF

30 GOTO 10

RUN

Leave running till the buzzing relay burns out.

With modern devices it is even easier. Corrupting the bios is a great way to brick a device.

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If they can mong the firmware then the console is at fault.

All Sony had to do was put in a couple of thermal cut-outs, if it's heat, or make the firmware non-writeable without holding down a button or something (I'm sure there are more technical ways to do it). Unless you are explicitly telling a device "I am writing to firmware now and nothing else" it should not write to firmware.

A locked down piece of consumer brown goods should not be able to destroy itself. What's next, TVs that explode because you change their refresh rate?

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Silver badge

BBC Basic if you please

Come on!

10 REPEAT

20 *MOTOR ON

30 *MOTOR OFF

40 UNTIL FALSE

RUN

This is BBC Basic after all. None of this GOTO business.

(OK, I know it's one more line, and about 12 more characters, but just look how much more elegant it is)

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Coat

So..

Where can I buy this robot, or is it currently at the Tate Modern?

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Anonymous Coward

Sad man warning

BBC BASIC stores programs in a tokenised form, so the version with REPEAT is only 4 bytes longer than the GOTO version (28 bytes vs 24 bytes).

Yes, I am a sad man.

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Bronze badge

Yeah, right.

Anybody here old enough to remember the "speed Poke" on some of the Commodore PET 8296? It *is* possible to fry hardware (especially old hardware, built back when "hacking" your computer was not just expected but required) although these days there are safeties placed on HW to stop most of this from happening (ah, optocouplers... saved more than one I/O home projects).

HOWEVER - with HW (especially chip) designs becoming more and more complex, the number of possible "gotchas" lurking around unnoticed will probably still remain the same...

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Coat

HCF

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halt_and_Catch_Fire

Did Sony implement such a command on the PS3 and the game inadvertently trigger it?

Seriously tho, so far I've had no problems with running the game on my PS3 Slim. Made it to chapter 11, too. Any why just the PS3? The xBox 360 users are all reporting RRODs.

Wait. Both the PS3 and 360 are PowerPC-based, and PPC CPUs come from Motorola...

I see what they did thar!

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Silver badge
Happy

@AC

I was talking about the number of typed characters, rather than the number stored in memory.

I had thought of using auto and the abbreviated commands, but thought that would just be too geeky!

If I remember it correctly, it should be:

AUTO

REP.

*M.ON

*M.OFF

UN.FA.

<ESC>

R.

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Bronze badge
Jobs Horns

@Cameron: 'Should' is one thing.

On a system where the manufacturer can dump firmware onto it after the warranty has expired, and remove some of the functionality that you've paid for, anything is possible.

'Call of Duty: World at War' on the Wii hammers the DVD drive heads far harder than the duty cycle it could ever have been designed for. That went straight back to town. There was no way I was going to get a refund, but I was quick enough to get a good trade-in price from another shop. Yep, there's some crooked behaviour out there alright.

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Games developers

generally try to get the most performance out of a console that they can.

Presumably, if there were not express limits on how much work should be optimised to go through the kit, then Sony can't blame Square Enix for writing a game that pushes the envelope.

Besides, when I used to write games, Sony used to put games through rigorous testing that included hefty runtimes - I would imagine that they'll have to accept responsibility for this f*** up.

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FAIL

Not the first time from a manufacturer

Apple bricked iPod shuffles a few years back with their iTunes update.

Unfortunatelly iTunes license says it is not repsonsible for hardware damage. Worked out great for Apple. The first and last Apple product I owned.

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Not sure I buy it

The game can't modify firmware, so a power off and maybe factory reset should be the max needed (and the game recalled, if it's that buggy.. OTOH I don't know how it got past testing in the first place with a bug like that).

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Final Fantasy indeed

I'm surprised that a game is able to bring down a console...because...

Sorry, started laughing too hard at myself midway into that sentence.

Verdict: it's the game publisher's fault for making a game that is screwing with the OS somehow, and Sony is at fault for assuming game publishers know how to write good code.

Maybe we can use the bricked machines to plug our leaky Gulf of Mexico. The golf balls didn't work.

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Grenade

Destroying hardware with software?

Does anyone else remember the "drive music" 'demo' for the Amiga computer? it made the stepper motor in the 3.5" drive do weird things to make strange tones sort of approximating music.

It was allegedly responsible for many destroyed disk drives, although this may well be mostly rumor as I never actually met anyone who had their computer stuffed via this disk. But then we were all too scared to let it play for more than a second or two.

Jolyon

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Silver badge

Drive music

I actually played that demo right through several times on my A500 for friends and never had a problem with the drive.

I do remember a nasty little program on the C64 though, encouragingly called "Drive Fucker Jam". Running it pushed the 1541's head block right to the edge and locked it there, after making the drive produce some horrible grinding and snapping noises. You had to open the drive up and manually reseat the heads as I recall, then they needed re-alignment. Needless to say, I only ran that one once!

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Thumb Up

haha

I gave up on Final Fantasy about 10 years ago having spent 5 minutes with the demo. It was shockingly bad in every conceivable way. Good to see that nothing has changed.

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overheating?

Given the high level of visuals the game is using, I'm wondering if this is simply a case of pushing the hardware harder than other games do, causing overheating and eventual failure.

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Silver badge

If that's the case...

...then how come we haven't heard reports of this with GoW III, arguably the best looking game on the PS3? That's got to push the hardware a bit more than some of the cross-platform dross released in recent years.

Any word on *which* PS3s this affects, or is the answer simply "all of them"?

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Happened to me - briefly

What happened to me wasn't exactly "bricking" (my ps3 retained functionality after the incident), but there was a specific point several hours into the game during which a cutscene was robbed of all audio and would eventually lock up compleatly. A reboot of the system was enough to restore the ps3, however any further attempts to play the game resulted in the same lock.

A system update from Sony ended up solving the issue, and I was able to continue playing (whether or not this is a Good Thing is up to you, Dear Reader).

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Stop

The clue is in the title

Which part of 'Final' did he not understand?

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Silver badge
WTF?

Which part of XIII...

... is the "final" part??

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Silver badge
Flame

You WILL update your firmware

Call me a cynic but consider

Sony release "voluntary" function-crippling firmware update.

Hotly anticipated game released.

Some consoles get bricked when playing the game.

Sony charges a small fortune to repair the bricked console.

Would the consoles at risk be the ones without the latest firmware and does the repair including a free/mandatory install of the "voluntary" update?

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Wrong!

I've seen it played through and finished on 2 fat PS3's without the firmware upgrade. To be honest, I hadn't heard of the problem before today!

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FAIL

the cretins are out

I mean most sane people can work out that this was just a random console failure and the owner just hapened to be playing a mighty popular game.

I bet statistically more televisions fail during eastenders but people are not stupid enough to think its the cause.

what ever happened to the sound tech crowd here? its just frequented by tech retards these days

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Joke

you might be on to something there

Ban Eastenders!

It's the only humane thing to do.

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A little research

Call me a cretin, but our division was given the Apple shuffle as gifts. When iTunes 8.2 was released everyones shuffle stopped working. The Apple forums were inindated with requests for help and Apple released an "unbricker" tool that worked in some instances. In most instances the PC could not see the shuffle anymore when it was inserted.

If you look at the Apple forums and tech support you will find some history on it.

I suppose a 100% failure rate for a few hundred employees is statiscally possible, but unlikely.

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Anonymous Coward

Destroying hardware with software...

Was quite easy on an old PC with a monochrome display.

Once upon a time I mis-programmed the registers on the 6845 display controller and burned out the display's flyback circuit - a bit more expensive to replace than the BBC's tape motor relay!

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Silver badge

Sony's fault...

If it was a messed up game, like a minor corruption to data written to disc, it would brick the game. A restart and all will be well.

Something that persists points to a deficiency in the console design. Was the firmware corrupted? If so, how did a game do this? Was it a thermal problem? If so, why did the console not monitor this? Sony would be very naive not to think the console would receive a clobbering, hardcore gamers aren't going to use it for Patience now, are they?

Oh, and don't mention drive head music or relay flipping. Those were intentionally destructive uses of equipment. I could wire a simple flip-flop to a Really Big Relay to switch mains current, plug any electronic device into that, start it going, see how long it goes before the PSU has a hernia... There's a difference between pushing the envelope and intentionally screwing up a box. I'm inclined to think if the machine is bricked in a game, it is FF's bad, and if it is bricked beyond, it is Sony's bad.

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Stop

Vetting

I thought Sony forced developers to use expensive Sony dev kits. Then they vetted and approved the games (or not).

If the market was "open" - like buying games for the PC, they Sony would be off the hook. However, games are licensed via Sony. So they take money for approval, they are responsible.

I hope this guy wins in court, alas, I'm sure Sony can afford much more expensive lawyers.

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Coat

Nothing new here

Back in the70's I worked for Honeywell IS in the states.

A programming genius figured out how to play Christmas carols on the drum printer using the hammers. It worked very well.

Most customers cheated out the paper out sensors and played the tunes. OK if it was intermittent use, BUT.......

One good company party and the hammers and drum would be damaged. Took weeks to get everything back to normal, usually involving airshipping drums and hammer assemblies, and a lot of time to set up the timing. 123 hammers, individually adjusted.

Nothing new here.

I'll get my coat, and the new hammers.

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Silver badge
Go

At least back in the 70s

you could do things like that and get away with it. For all that it was a pain to fix, you have to admit it was funny, and probably did a lot to boost office morale. But do something like that in these uptight watch-every-penny behave-yourself days and it'd be a one-way ticket to Sackville. It's tragic how much we've lost in the last 3 decades or so.

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Gold badge

Wrecking kit with games.

Take one shiny new DEC 20 (IIRC) still in its commissioning period at a bastion of academia. Add 20 fresh-faced lads with some spare time clutching moody login credentials and a set of handwritten instructions on where to find DECwars on said box.

A couple of hours later.

<overheat>

<thermal trip>

<emergency power trip>

<disk crash>

No harm to the machine itself, but the good old-fashioned head crash on the disks cost someone the thick end of 25 grand apparently. In the early 80's when 25 grand was a decidedly non-trivial sum too.

There was a witch hunt but no witches were found.....

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