The PS3's yellow light of death: Big deal, or sorta ‘meh’?


The BBC is running a piece about “the yellow light of death,” the PS3’s equivalent of the Xbox 360’s “red ring of death.” Well, perhaps the word “equivalent” isn’t the right one to use, since, at least according to Sony, less than one half of one percent of PS3s sold in the UK have turned up bad.

That works out to 12,500 faulty PS3s out of 2.5 million sold. I don’t know if that’s enough to start an angry letter-writing campaign—electronics are still sensitive little angels—but it’s certainly enough to get the message boards all worked up. Wrote one such person:

My “unbreakable” Playstation 3, broke, 18 months after purchase. After contacting Sony, i was told i would have to pay £150 for the repair and would only recieve 3 months extra warrenty. After much complaint, they cut the price to £99 and gave me 12 months new warrenty. Still not good enough, their problem, they pay, warrenty or no warrenty!!!

You’ll note he used three exclamation points, which means he means business.

The yellow light indicates, in layman’s terms, that something has gone wrong, which does make it analogous to the red ring of death, which also merely indicates that something has gone wrong. (I believe the exact phrase is “general hardware failure.”) Sony, naturally, doesn’t like the term, since it implies that there’s something massively wrong with the PS3. Is less than one half of one percent “massive”? I don’t think so, but perhaps my opinion would be different if I ran into the yellow light. And I say this after having run into two red rings of death over the past three years.

Any of you guys run into this problem? This is literally the first time I’ve heard of it, which, I think, goes to show you just how small an issue this is. We’ve all heard of the red ring of death, but this yellow light business? News to me.

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