I have my own Playstation 3.
That's right. And what a tale I have.
I had a hard choice between which model I wanted. In a week Sony releases the 120GB PS3 Slim. The current model has 80GB, no card readers and only 2 USB ports (ditto for the Slim). The most valuable model is the 60GB, the one Nathan bought on the official UK launch date for the PS3 (over 2 years ago). It's still the most sought-after model 'cos not only does it have card readers and 4 USB ports, it's backwards compatible (ie. can play older games from previous Playstations).
Ain't that ridiculous? One key reason the PS2 sold so well was because of its backwards compatibility. With the PS3 Sony ditched that ability (in order to lower the price). Now earlier in the year I wasn't that fussed. But you see, when Nathan decided to sell his PS2 and as many of his games as possible, I let him sell my games too. All except Gitaroo Man. I just like that game too much. But the more I thought about my future console, the more I thought I'd be happier playing Gitaroo Man again.
So to eBay we went. Well, either eBay or Amazon Marketplace. But I ended up purchasing a console off eBay, via Mum's account (I never intended to use eBay again so why should I get my own?). It seemed good: the console was in fine condition, it came with 2 pads instead of one (neither being Dual Shock but I didn't care), the seller had the most wonderful of feedback...what could go wrong?
What did go wrong was something most unexpected.
The package came quickly. On the day it arrived, Nathan and I promptly went to Comet to buy the other necessities: an HDTV, headset, keyboard and I ended up buying a game as well. The new Ghostbusters one, if you're curious. Now, there was nothing wrong with the PS3 standing on my desk. There still isn't really, but for some reason I just couldn't get into the Playstation Network (vital if I want to do some online gaming). After a long phone call to Sony, it turned out the console had been banned.
It was just unbelievable. The Sony helpline speaker explained that recently there was a trend of new PS3 buyers being conned by banned users to buying banned PS3s and never having a chance of getting onto the network. I found it hard to believe my seller could be so malicious. It was also worrying since the seller didn't operate a returns policy per eBay rules. But eBay recommended first contacting the seller, so I sent him a polite message explaining what had happened. In the meantime, I was without a satisfactory console.
I decided that the next morning I wanted to quickly pop into Croydon to just pick up a console. This was, funnily enough, the scenario I had first imagined when I agreed with Nathan I should buy a console. Now keep in mind, I hadn't heard back from the seller yet, so I was slightly nervous. So first I went to GAME in the High Street, where it turned out, there were no 80GB systems in store (since Sony had stopped production). I asked where I could find one and I was surprised that there was still a branch of GAME at Debenhams. Oh and in the meantime I happened to see my old friend Stephanie-she looked amazing and it was good to briefly catch up.
Now shock-horror, not only was there an 80GB system available in that smaller branch of GAME in Debenhams, but there were also 60GB pre-owned systems available. About 4 if the display was accurate. Reduced price too. At first I was happy to just snatch one, but I had to be measured and calm. I explained to the shop assistant what had happened and asked all the relevant questions in order to reach my decision. He was very nice and rather patient with me, and explained everything I needed to know.
My choice ended up being either: 1) buy a 60GB system, find out it's banned, return it in exchange for an 80GB while also paying an extra £100 (or buy a 60GB and simply find it working but with no warranty, still some risk) or 2) go the safe route by buying a brand new 80GB system, plus 2 years warranty (I had to pay extra but it was good value and it also meant not needing to find separate insurance for the already-expensive-console) with the only downside not being able to play Gitaroo Man. I took route 2, feeling the risk with 1 too high.
Funnily enough, I could've gotten a free game with the console, but apart from Ghostbusters-which I already had-there was nothing I wanted. Way for life to screw me hard, right? So while carrying the large box in a larger plastic bag home, I couldn't help but wonder what lesson I was meant to learn. Was there a lesson to learn? I'm still not sure.
So it was later that same morning that the seller responded to my message and the situation became even more bizarre. He was a very nice man, who offered the full refund, so we arranged for the parcel to be sent back in exchange for the refund to my Paypal account this time. He was nice enough to send me his phone number so we could discuss all this, and also let me keep the HDMI cable he sent with the sold PS3 as a consolation "for the inconvenience" (the cable was necessary to link the console to the HDTV).
The bit that gets weird is finding out about the console itself. The PS3 this guy sold belonged to his son...who is 10. In order to get banned Sony had to have responded to a complaint of and found evidence for a certain someone committing identity theft. I'm puzzled as to how a 10-year-old could have possibly managed that, so my other theory is that he managed to piss someone off by acting very immature online (a common complaint against younger online-gamers). This seller, being very nice, felt the need to write another apology email once I told him when to expect the returned PS3. So in response I advised him to not be too hard on his son and explained how he could find out the circumstances of this ban. I'd quite like to know myself how it happened but no matter how curious I am, it's not my business and I don't expect this man to tell me if he does find out.
So again, what can I possibly learn from this strange array of circumstances? Well the only observation I can make is that it was simply a set of circumstances that were set in motion by various people, who can't take the entire blame. The only thing I can take away is that I am both happy and relieved that the two of us could settle it maturely and quickly.
So now I can play Fat Princess in peace. (I haven't started Ghostbusters yet)