I'm going to start off saying I know nothing about appliances.
With that said, it is obvious that entire industries - automotive, appliance, etc etc - are moving from relatively complex designs using many simple components to relatively simple designs using one or very few complex components. In other words, instead of 50 resistors, capacitors, relays, diodes, inductors, and so on on and so on, we get one PCB with a microcontroller that's wired up to your inputs (hopefully through a wiring harness.)
The benefit of this is obvious. It's much easier to engineer (most simple appliances have a PCB that can be designed and manufactured by a first-year college student or your average hobbyist), reduces diagnostics (you don't have to figure out which component is broken, you just figure out that the PCB is at fault and replace it entirely), can probably be re-used between appliances (same PCB, eight slightly different models of dryer), can be upgraded silently and invisibly to the consumer (same input/output interface and behavior, new design, to avoid end-of-life parts or to reduce cost or whatever).
The real downside is when the customer has no choice but to replace it. Now, let's say you have a $400 washing machine and a $5 PCB malfunctions. The worst-case scenario is that you spend $400 on a new machine. Therefore, the ceiling to the repair cost is probably $200 or so before your average person figures that they're better off just buying a new one (partially to avoid future problems with more malfunctions.) Great. But let's say your $20,000 car has a $5 PCB malfunction. The manufacturer can charge $1000 for it because fuck you, that's why. In real terms, they're almost unlimited in the cost they can charge, especially if it's a complex component that can't be ripped out and replaced. If the design was discrete, composed of many simple components, then the cost would be bound by labor to diagnose and replace a failed relay ($5 part from a hundred different manufacturers.) Your car's navigation/entertainment system fails, that'll be four thousand dollars please, yes we know it only costs us $50 to make it but fuck you that's why.
And the other real downside is when the manufacturer makes repairs impossible (see above: fuck you, that's why.) They can refuse to sell replacement PCBs or they can make it take two hours of labor to get up into them on cheap appliances. Then again, the latter thing can be done with a discrete design as well.