I’ve hated on Geek Squad for a while now. I’ve been breaking and fixing computers since I was an urchin, so I know what I’m doing at this point. In my experience, Geek Squad does not.I’m going to be nice and keep the shredding after the break. In short, Geek Squad is now charging customers for updating the firmware of their Playstation 3’s. Lame.
Battlestations. Okay, Geek Squad’s had a history of pulling stupid stunts like this but this takes the cake. As an aside, they’ve rarely ever been particularly skilled at properly fixing computer issues – I’ve had to clean up after them for Virginia Tech students multiple times. Moving on… Game discs, online score submissions, general game updates, etc. all require firmware updates to your PS3 if it’s not running the latest version. Sony’s pushing them especially hard now after the Other OS option was canned and jailbreakers are starting to make inroads into their beloved console. In other words, there are no shortage of avenues for updating your PS3’s firmware. And – here’s the kicker – it’s FREE. It’s always been free. The most you pay is the time it takes to download the firmware and then install it. $30 for a “firmware update service” may not be that much after you’ve bought a console, accessories, and games – but the sheer audacity of Geek Squad doing this makes my skin tighten on principle.
So, how then, is Geek Squad justifying charging customers for updating the firmware on consoles they’re selling or that’ve already been purchased? Got me. Hurts my noggin’ to even try and process it. Am I saying you should avoid Best Buys? No. Am I saying you should avoid Geek Squads? Yes. Very yes. This is legal theft of your money, in my opinion. And, the sad thing is, they’ll make money off of ill-informed parents buying the consoles for their progeny. Weak.
Do yourself a favor and find a local nerd in an ad if you need your computer worked on. And, for the PS3 owners and owners-to-be out there, make sure Geek Squad hasn’t gotten its grubby hands on your new baby. Updating your firmware is as easy as a few button presses and then some waiting. Even if you don’t have broadband at home to download the updates, many new game discs contain the firmware themselves – and you can always download it from Sony’s site onto a flash drive and update that way (I often do).
Shady, Geek Squad. Shady.