PS4 launch unit problems: Sony isn’t worried

Sony’s Playstation 4 was a hit at launch, selling over 1 million units in the US and Canada and selling out in most retail and online stores.

However, with the launch came reports that some consoles are dead on arrival, or suffering from a manufacturing fault, or acting up because of software issues.

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida responded to the issue on Twitter and acknowledged that Sony would be working on the problems.

Faulty HDMI ports

Some PS4 HDMI ports can ship with broken pins - this is a working retail model

Some PS4 HDMI ports can ship with broken pins – this is a working retail model

The most common issue so far is a batch of PS4 consoles which have faulty HDMI ports. The pins aren’t straight when the console is taken out of the box and the act of pushing in the HDMI cable usually ends in one pin being bent back, causing the PS4 to glitch up into a white LED of death.

PS4 owners with the faulty port were advised to turn their consoles into a Sony repair store or the shop they bought it from.

Another HDMI-related problem is that some TV’s may not successfully pass the handshake that is done when two devices are hooked up via HDMI. The handshake is done so that devices can recognise each other and establish which security features and protocols each supports.

In this case, holding down the power button for seven seconds should put the PS4 into safe mode and one should be able to reset their video settings through the “Change resolution” option.

Software issues

Playstation 4 user interface

Playstation 4 user interface

Other issues have also been seen reported across the Internet, but are less widespread. Some users are unable to boot up their PS4’s into safe mode to perform a system update when their hard drives are replaced, and Sony says this is a firmware issue – in this case, the consoles will be replaced with a functioning unit.

Some PS4 consoles are stuck in a boot loop, where the blue LED light strip will continue to pulsate while the console makes multiple attempts to start up. Again, this is a firmware issue and some users have managed to boot into safe mode on these machines to perform a system update, which appears to fix the issue.

Some consoles which became frozen while installing a game from the PSN had to be manually reset to factory settings to restore functionality. Switching between an installation of DC Universe Online and the PS4’s user interface also appears to set off a glitch that requires the console to be restarted.

Faulty controllers

Faulty Dualshock 4 analog sticks

Faulty Dualshock 4 analog sticks

On the NeoGAF forums, some users who managed to purchase a Dualshock 4 controller early have reported that the rubber lining of their analog sticks is wearing off prematurely. This is a manufacturing issue.

Some users are also seeing issues with sticky triggers and buttons, but these reports are few and far between. They are less than a month old, however, and buyers should see no issues in getting their hardware replaced.

Future projections

Sony Playstation 4 consoles in Amazon's warehouse

Sony Playstation 4 consoles in Amazon’s warehouse

On the whole, these issues are minor compared to the million-plus consoles Sony sold on launch day. The company made a statement following the launch about their expectations of hardware failures and remained upbeat about the PS4’s prospects.

“There have been several problems reported, which leads us to believe there isn’t a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of systems. The number of affected systems represents less than .04 percent of shipped units to date, which is within our expectations for a new product introduction,” the company wrote in response to an article on Eurogamer.

In comparison to previous consoles, Sony’s failure rate is quite attractive. Separate studies done by Squaretrade, IGN, and Gamespot all came to the conclusion that by August 2009, less than 11% of PS3 units were failing within two years, compared to over 54% of Xbox 360 consoles which failed within their first year of operation.

Both Microsoft and Sony have made drastic changes to improve reliability since then, but it remains a fact that hardware will die at some point due to ageing silicon and exposure to heat, dust and moisture. Still, it looks like we can expect a good run from a PS4.

Has Microsoft taken the lessons learned from the Xbox 360 and used them to improve the One’s reliability? We won’t have to wait long to find out, as the Xbox One begins its rollout in North America on 22 November.

Sources: NeoGAF, Twitter, Eurogamer, Squaretrade, IGN, Gamespot

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PS4 launch unit problems: Sony isn’t worried

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