The Signatories of the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement have made a number of commitments to improve the resource efficiency of their products. In particular, this section provides information on repair or refurbishment services for Games Consoles that bring benefits to both the consumer and the environment.
Ensuring Repair for Games Consoles
Games console manufacturers recognise the importance of products that last longer, and for customers to have easy access to repair services when needed.
Therefore, under the Games Console Voluntary Agreement, manufacturers commit to providing a repair or refurbishment for games consoles beyond the commercial guarantee period (i.e., ‘out-of-warranty’ and the availability of these services extend beyond the legal guarantee period.
More information and support for specific products can be found on each manufacturer’s website below:
Microsoft: see Getting your Xbox device serviced | Xbox Support
Nintendo: see Nintendo Repairs | Contact | Support | Nintendo
Benefits of an out-of-warranty repair or refurbishment service
An out-of-warranty repair or refurbishment service for games consoles benefits both the customer, and the environment, for example:
- The out-of-warranty repair services of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are equipped with specialised tools, including internal diagnostic software necessary to enable the safe repair of consoles. Consoles undergo a series of tests, measurements and diagnosis to test their functionality. All major components are methodically evaluated and the final step is validation testing to ensure maximum console performance.
- The manufacturers, through their authorised repair services, provide the optimal and necessary working environments for performing console repairs. For example, in some cases using cleanrooms to conduct highly technical repairs is necessary.
- Several solutions to a customer’s issue are available through the service, including replacement with a refurbished model in some cases, such as when consoles are unable to be repaired.
- Data on reoccurring issues from the service centres are fed back to product design teams and used to improve the product design over time, making consoles more reliable in the longer term; resulting in a reduction in return rates for some products .
- In some cases, consoles beyond economic repair are able to be harvested for reusable spare parts before sending to secure recycling facilities for disposal.
 For more information, see DEFRA (2018) ‘Our waste, our resources: a strategy for England'
Why there is a need for authorised service centres?
Game consoles are complex electronic products which often require thorough knowledge and skills to repair. Authorised service centre operators have access to the necessary information – including confidential, proprietary information - and are adequately trained to perform such repairs.
In addition, many key internal components form part of a secure system designed to protect against intellectual property infringement and against risks of hacking and piracy of video games.
As software used to diagnose broken games consoles contains detailed proprietary blueprints, console manufacturers cannot directly provide spare parts or similar diagnostic software to independent repair companies without compromising this protection.
Other resource efficiency commitments
The Signatories of the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement have made a number of other commitments to improve the resource efficiency of their products. These include ensuring the ability to disassemble consoles for re-use and recycling; restricting the use of halogenated flame retardants in product casings to improve recyclability; and providing selected spare parts to independent repairers and end-users. A full list of these commitments can be found here.