I'll be honest: when I went down to pick up my reserved PlayStation 3 on launch day (to be even more honest, I would never have gotten it if it weren't for this job), I expected the worst. I worked at EB during the launch of the PS2, and I distinctly recalled the terrible reliability of that first batch of systems. To Sony's credit, they worked out the issue relatively quickly; I'm thinking it took less than a year. According to some retailer information I've found, the PS2 has maintained an excellent defective ratio ever since 2002, but even then, there were a few DRE issues that popped up here and there. Nothing half as bad as the DRE issues we had with the original Xbox, but I think we all know by now that Microsoft makes the least reliable video game consoles in history. And for the record, Nintendo makes the most reliable. At the end of the world, three things will exist: bacteria, Cher, and my SNES.
The original PlayStation was pretty erratic, if I remember correctly. I think it had something to do with the disc drive, but although my second system lasted many years and the redesigned PSOne was far more reliable, the first iteration of that machine wasn't especially free from defects. And now that I'm looking at it, with well over two years gone in the PS3 generation, I really can't find any major defective spikes. There were a few instances where a firmware update bricked some systems, and I've recently heard some minor upheaval concerning a "yellow ring of death," but for the most part, it seems that the PS3 is one hell of a reliable machine. There's always one sure-fire way to tell: if it's easy to spot complaints on the Internet. If it's a widespread problem, the articles would be popping up all over the place (just do a search for any articles with the term, "Red Ring of Death" in the title), and I haven't seen anything like that for Sony's console. And then there's the personal – albeit anecdotal – evidence:
Everyone I know had a PS1 or PS2 die on them once or twice in each life span, which isn't too terrible considering we're talking about the years between 1995 and 2008. Everyone I know has gone through multiple Xboxes and Xbox 360s. And when I say "multiple," I'm talking about four, five six… God, they're such pieces of sh**. Any way, nobody I know has had a PS3 die on them yet. Nobody. Not one. Now, I'm certain there are plenty of people out there who are screaming at the screen, going "well my damn PS3 died!!!" I'm aware of you; there's no such thing as 100% reliability in the world of electronics. But I'm really hoping Sony releases some statistics at some point here, because based on the surface picture, it appears as if the PS3 – to date – is the most reliable PlayStation console ever produced. And I'm telling you, I was firmly convinced it'd be a disaster at first. Everyone was talking about how advanced and how complex it was, and all I could think of was, "well, they couldn't get the PS2 launch right…how could they do any better with a far more complicated machine?"
But despite the horrendous lack of available hardware during the PS3 launch, there were no discernible examples of a prominent failure issue. And thus far, there still hasn't been any. So although we don't have hard numbers, I'd like to think we can say with some degree of certainty that the PS3 is indeed the most reliable PlayStation console we've seen.