The Entertainment Software Association, or ESA, is currently fighting against a “right to repair” bill on the table in Nebraska. The bill is designed to “give fewer rights to control the end-of-life” of hardware after it is in the hands of consumers.
The bill in question, which is similar in nature to bills hitting several other states, is a requirement placed on manufacturers to sell replacement parts and repair tools to third-party electronics repair companies and consumers themselves at similar rates authorized repair centers have. Also, the bill would make diagnostic manuals publicly available, as well as any relevant software or firmware. Specifically, the bill calls for these in order to reverse anything that causes software to lock or prevent independent repair.
The ESA, a trade organization that includes many publishers and developers including Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and other parties opposing the bills are citing safety issues as a central argument. They are claiming that opening the doors for independent repair could endanger the safety of individuals messing around with hardware. Of course, there are already legal protections in place against holding these manufacturers liable for harm induced by independent tampering with hardware. There are also provisions in the legislation with protecting trade secrets in mind.
Opposing these bills is transparently an effort to protect an extra source of revenue in expensive, proprietary repairs. While the infamous “Red Ring of Death” was handled on Microsoft’s dime generally, many other repairs for consoles are incredibly expensive and require shipping hardware out to said manufacturers, often for repairs that are much more simple and inexpensive than these companies would have consumers believe.