Sony Hates Users; PS3’s “Restore Default Settings” Eats Your Data

I’m the first to embrace that much of this was written in anger and, though I might now word it differently, I’m not going to because it captures the depth of frustration and crappy experience I endured (a first world problem, assuredly).

But, hey, let’s make the vitriol useful– if there were a means that I could report bugs, I would. If there were a way to capture the state of my machine for validation, I’d do it. If there is some way that my crap user experience could be used to prevent future user abuse, that’d be awesome.



To be completely blunt: The team responsible for the PS3 non-gaming user experience — the menus, data management, user interface, and everything else that doesn’t happen in game — are either incompetent buffoons or have a management chain and/or product marketing/design/definition demands that are ridiculous, stupid, and an insult to the customer. (Personally, I’m betting it is the latter — the PS3 is an impressive piece of engineering, both software and hardware).

It is unfortunate that the PS3 is the only vehicle via which one can enjoy such great titles as Ratchet&Clank, WipeOut HD/Fury, and Uncharted. It is insult to their greatness to require the user to have to experience but a moment of the steaming pile of crap that is the Playstation 3 user experience.


I did something incredibly stupid this evening.

I assumed that Sony remotely cares about user experience, that Sony understands that their users care about saved game data, and that Sony — after more than a decade in the game console business — might have a clue about how to implement a system.

Boy, that was a stupid assumption.

I wanted to move the PS3 from TV A to TV B. No video; TV B doesn’t do 1080p. No problem; a google search or two later reveals that holding down the power button will reset the video and give you a menu where you can reset the video.

Nope — the closest is restore default settings. An internet search indicated this was the right thing to do. Wrong. The internet was wrong. Very very wrong. Don’t do that. Don’t ever do that. If you want to switch the resolution of a PS3 without losing data, do so on a TV that works with the PS3 in the current display mode first. If you don’t have one, you are screwed. Sony? Why do you hate your users?

In fact, what it does is worse than restoring the system to factory default. The first sign of trouble is when the PS3 says something like “Hey, I discovered there was user data I didn’t know about, I restored it”.

It lies.

It actually creates disconnected, unsigned, unblessed, shell accounts that have your data in an unusable form. They will have an asterisk in front; bbum became *bbum.

Uh oh.

Upon logging into the faux-*bbum account, many things are now broken. The worst — the single biggest insult — is that the original save game data is still there, but many games can’t use it.

Assasin Creeds II? Apparently, that saved game data will still work. Peggle? Nope, not so much. Oooh.. joy… looks like all data related to games purchased from the playstation network is trashed. WipeOut HD? Won’t even launch — key file missing, redownload dumbass user! But, Sony, All I wanted to do was make it work again? Why are you throwing rocks at me?

Better yet! When you redownload, the PS3 downloads all the bytes and then says “Hey, man, you already got the same crap installed. Do you really want to install it again?” The stupid. It burns!

Now, logging back into the Playstation Network let me sync my trophies. But there was also some warning that said that I might not be able to earn any more trophies, implying that online play was broken in some fashion. Of course, there isn’t anything that I can find to verify current status.

Wait. I played Peggle once and the challenge modes were locked. Now they aren’t. Huh… what? It appears that I didn’t lose Peggle data, but that something magically triggered the reconnection of the data. I’ll have to assume that it was the WipeOut HD “key” download as that seems to be the only “user authing data event” to have happened.

At this point, I renamed the account and have restored Playstation Network connectivity. I may or may not have a mostly working account. I have lost data — all Peggle data gone and deities knows what else. Even getting back to this point was a bunch of effort that I wouldn’t wish upon a non-admin user any day.

Of course, that I failed to maintain a backup was definitely a fault of mine. Then again, I didn’t actually lose any data, Sony just went to great lengths to make my data unusable without actually modifying it.

Or not. It might be that my data is now fully restored and usable. Or it might not be. There is no way to tell. Who knows? I might decide to fire up Uncharted One later this year only to discover that I can’t load the game save and have to start over.

Sadly, this abusive user experience is not unique to the PS3. I had a similar experience with the Wii, though — to be fair — Nintendo has apparently addressed that exact issue in the interim couple of years.



8 Responses to “Sony Hates Users; PS3’s “Restore Default Settings” Eats Your Data”

  1. Tweets that mention bbum's weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Sony Hates Users; PS3’s “Restore Default Settings” Eats Your Data -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Major Gamer, Ty Cameron. Ty Cameron said: bbum's weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Sony Hates Users; PS3's …: To be completely blunt: The team responsible for… http://bit.ly/9Sb742 […]

  2. Luc J says:

    That’s they nice thing about having a blog: when a product gets on your nerves, you can rant about it ;-). You have my sympathy.

  3. Weston says:

    I had something much the same happen with my PS3. It got a yellow light of death, so I picked up a new slim and put the drive in there, except the drive was no longer readable and so I lost all my saves for every game I had… It irked me royally. I still don’t think I’m quite over it yet, so I know how ya feel.

  4. david mize says:

    i restored my default settings now it wont load my saved data for inFamous at all i know the feeling

  5. Networkgamer says:

    This is pure user error. I had the same problem about a week into my ps3 experience (i got a launch 60gb) so early november 2006. I had hooked it up to a 1080p set at another house, then went back to my home with my 480i/composite multi-av out setup. I read the manual (this was before the online manual), hooked the ps3 to the multi-av out, held the button down till it beeped twice, signaling a video reset, and voila! It set itself to 480i. Ive done this countless times each time I switch tv’s. And this may be my logic speaking, but last I checked, the default setting for each ps3 doesnt include restoring YOUR save data. Stab in the dark here though.

    [ED: yah — it was total user error. The point, though, is that the PS3’s interface for such things absolutely sucks. It is unintuitive and entirely painful to use.]

  6. john says:

    I tried restore default settings and now the same TV is not supporting the video. i bought the ps3 in india and using that in the TVthat i bought in US . Need help.

  7. natasha says:

    yea,.. i just came across this actually looking for the menu they were talking about and read this. immediately i was like um no that is not what you were suppose to do. ‘NETWORKGAMER hit it right on the head though as i was reading. I will have to 100% say that what you did has NOTHING to do with Sony, they DO respect their gamers and users! so you need to be the one that CALLS them or RESEARCHES more about what you are doing when you obliviously do not know. The simple Video Reset to AV options is what you were suppose to do and that i believe is even right in the manual for the system. While the system is on you just press and hold the power button until it does a beep and then turns off. Once you turn the system back on it reset just the AV back to standard settings. Why on EARTH would you not research, call, or go back into a store before messing around with anything else on your system like that!? i have to say it sucks that your stuff got lost/corrupt, but your irrational decision is all that is to blame not SONY. I personally think this posting still up after seeing it was your fault is a slap in the face to SONY and you shud be the one apologizing to them for telling them they are so horrible.

    After re-reading this I think you should just get rid of your systems and give them to some 6yr old that knows more about games,.. you should stick with ol’school TIGER Handhelds and stock up on batteries!

  8. Rog says:

    Same thing happened to me. My original HD is a piece, and do both “restore file system” and “restore default settings” to fix in game stuttering issues.

    I booted up to a *Rog profile. Madden told me my file was created by another user.

    I FIX IT EVERY TIME BY SIGNING IN TO THE PSN ACCOUNT THAT WAS ACTIVE AT THE TIME OF SAVE.

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