Ever since the launch, the PlayStation 3 has been one of the most reliable systems available; far more reliable than either the PS1 or PS2 during their first years. Most all retailers have reported approximately 1% failure rates for the PS3, which is most impressive for such a complex system…and especially considering Sony's significant problems with launch hardware in the past.

But shades of the past came to light yesterday, when a Dutch gaming site (Gamed.nl) reported that the new "entry level" 40GB PS3 was suffering from a ridiculous 40% failure rate. Even the disaster that has been Xbox 360 reliability (the top five game retailers reported 33% defective rates for Microsoft's system earlier this year) isn't as bad as this. However, we've heard nothing of this in the U.S. or any other region, so the report was immediately questioned. Sony didn't just question it, though; their official response was both firm and clear:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) can categorically deny that there is a 40% failure rate on the newly release 40GB PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) as has been reported on a Dutch website. Having launched in October, the 40GB PS3 has encountered the same industry leading, very low failure rates, comparable to the low level failure rates of the 60GB PS3.

“We are very proud of the quality and reliability of PLAYSTATION 3 and are disappointed that such extremely sloppy journalism has resulted in this totally inaccurate story,” said David Reeves, President, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. “Since launching the 40GB PS3, we have experienced a fantastic jump in sales and the failure rates have remained at the very low level that we not only strive for, but have been achieving since the launch of PS3.”

Logically speaking, there's no reason why the 40GB model should be any less reliable than the 60 or 80GB models because they're all essentially the same system. The only real hardware difference is the hard drive, and we highly doubt 40% of the hard drives are failing. At this point, we're going to chalk up the initial report as either a flat-out mistake or a very isolated event.

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