Best Buy Stands Up for Firmware Update Charge

October 7, 2010Written by Corey Schwanz

Remember when you found out that Best Buy was actually charging customers to update their PlayStation 3 firmware? For us informed gamers, it seems like a pretty despicable practice. But the retail giant apparently feels no remorse.

Just last weekend, PlayStation LifeStyle reported that Best Buy’s Geek Squad can upgrade the firmware on your PS3 for the low, low price of $30. Considering that the process of upgrading firmware is an integral part of owning a console these days and the process is incredibly simple, it seems pretty unbelievable.

But this practice has apparently been around since November 2008 when Geek Squad introduced their “in-store and at home gaming set-up and customization services.” Including the firmware upgrades, these services include setting up multiple accounts, parental controls, transferring data between systems, and hooking up your console to the internet.

But these processes are all described in the PS3’s instruction manuals, no? All these processes are pretty intuitive, but it turns out it’s Best Buy’s policy. Talking with IndustryGamers, a Best Buy spokesperson said:

“Best Buy’s Geek Squad offers services to support virtually all the gear we sell – and gaming consoles are no exception. This service has been available to our customers for nearly two years. While many gamers can handle firmware upgrades easily on their own, those customers who do want help can get it from Geek Squad, and we continue to evaluate this offering to ensure it meets their needs. The service goes beyond a firmware updates, and includes user account setup, parental control setup and other components.”

What kind of people would sign up for this? The parents who don’t take an active role in their children’s gaming life. Probably those same parents that buy their 9 year-old children something like Grand Theft Auto IV or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. At least Best Buy knows their market.