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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why I hate Sony part 2: PlayStation Store

Like every other PSP owner, I was pretty excited when Sony opened up the PlayStation Store to PC access, meaning that we didn't have to own a PS3 to download content from it.

It was PC-only (not Mac compatible) and you needed to install the Network Downloader program to use it. But the program seems fairly small, and it worked alright for me .

My biggest problem getting started was it wouldn't accept my credit card. It's a major brand, but it would not take it for some reason. I had to use a relative's CC which for some reason DID work (also the same brand)

Once that hurdle was cleared, the PS Store worked well enough.... I was downloading demos like Patapon & God of War: Chains of Olympus, and I bought Beats.

Everything was lovey-dovey... until one day when I tried to download a demo, it would get 2% into the download, then say: Communication with the server failed (80048516) ... every time I kept trying the same thing would happen. Nothing's changed on my computer--I was baffled. I looked up the problem on the web, tried to do as much research as I could (I always do with gadgets) and people were saying deactivating & re-activating their PSP was solving the problem.

So I tried that. You go to the activate PSP page, and (at the time-- it's been months since I've looked at the PS Store) all there is is a blank page with a check mark of either Activate or Deactivate. No other details. If you click Deactivate, it asks "Are you Sure?" but no other details.

Once I deactivated my PSP, it wouldn't reactivate, and so it was completely cut off from the PS Store. What the hell???

I phoned up Sony Customer Support, and told them my problem. Their "solution": the PS Store suddenly stops working for you? Then you can't use it. That's LITERALLY what the support drone said. He also told me that a PSP can't be reactivated to the same account once it's deactivated. WHY DON'T THEY SAY THAT ON THE ACTUAL WEBSITE PAGE?!?! Maybe... fill up some of that NEARLY COMPLETELY BLANK space that is on the activation page with some of this info?

For that matter, there was *NO* help or customer service link ANYWHERE on the PS Store site.

So I was left with my deactivated PSP Slim, which had demos of Patapon & God of War: Chains of Olympus... and more importantly Beats which I PAID MONEY FOR.... *all* of it suddenly became DEAD, USELESS DATA on my memory stick, completely inaccessible.

Another issue with the PS Store was how you paid for product: You have to transfer funds to your Playstation wallet, only in $5.00 or $10.00 amounts. Something like Beats cost me, I think $7.00 with tax? Because of the price structure, you'll ALWAYS have money left over that you can't spend. Stupidly I even put in another $10.00 I think because I was going to buy another game.

Imagine going into a store wanting to buy a stick of gum that costs, let's say, $1.50. You fish out your wallet to find only a $10.00 bill. Well that's more than enough to cover the costs, right? Now imagine instead of getting change back, the store automatically KEEPS your ENTIRE $10.00, and the shopkeeper telling you that the extra $8.50 will go towards your next purchase. Does that seem like a place you want to shop at? Welcome to the PlayStation Store.

There might be ways around the activation problem, like creating a new account. The thing is, you need another CC to be able to create a new account.... it's all such as hassle.

So to sum it up, the problems with the PlayStation Store:

  • -randomly won't take some credit cards
  • -network downloader randomly stops working (80048516 error)
  • -no customer service/no HELP link or info
  • -have to pay more money than what you want to buy

This experience sent me over the edge with Sony, coupled by my PSP Slim problems, but the Store is what really turned me from miffed to a hater. It's been months since I've even checked on the Store. I believe there's a new Network Downloader program, and the Store interface might be improved. But this whole thing has largely soured me on downloadable content, which I was wary of to beging with. It's one of the reasons I chose to buy a PSP over an iPod back in 2006.

If I sit on my UMD and it cracks, I don't blame Sony. Sure, UMDs are fragile & flimsily-designed, but if I sit on one, that's MY fault. If I scratch a CD, I know what's wrong with it, I don't blame the record companies. I bought the product, it's mine.

But if I wake up one morning and my downloaded content/network that I bought stops working for no reason, who's fault is that? That's what I hate about DRM. All this talk about moving completely to downloaded games really has me worried. I don't think Sony is competent enough to handle it. It's a real shame, because I'd like to buy Super Stardust Portable or Flow. But I can't see how I can trust Sony again.

related: *Why I hate Sony part 1*


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