Daily Reaction: PS4 and Xbox One Launch Failure

As the internet explodes about a number launch edition consoles failing out of the box, the Daily Reaction crew discusses what it all means and whether or not gamers should be concerned.

Dan: When the PS4 launched, reports of consoles being broken out of the gate had flooded the internet, videos of red lights and blue lights both showing how doomed Sony was from the beginning. But, as Sony have already sold well over a million units of the PS4 in a 24 hour period, are we seeing just the beginning of this generation’s RRoD? Or are we just seeing a small sample of faulty units?

Well, to start off, it is too early to say that everyone is safe and these faulty consoles are simply outliers, as even when the 360’s RRoD started out, it took time for the true situation to be realized. But, this does not mean that all of our PS4s are doomed from the start, it simply means nothing at this point – unless of course, you have an affected console.

If you look at the launch of most major electronic devices, you will instantly find countless videos of products being broken right out of the gate from Apple, Samsung, and just about every manufacturer. This is why most retailers adhere to the usual 30 day return period for defective products, as this isn’t a new issue, its just one that seems to be a bigger issue with gamers than any other demographic.

This is mainly due to the nature of gamers being more connected than the general market, therefore when issues arise, we all hear about it. Although, one of the other driving factors has to be the need for a subset of people on the internet to try and push fear and doubt into certain markets.

The biggest example of this is the rumor of the Foxconn employee who supposedly sabotaged the majority of PS4 consoles, by slipping lead into the thermal paste. This of course leads back to a post on 4Chan, where a poster claims to have used lead to ruin the PS4’s ability to dissipate heat, causing them to slowly ruin the CPU. Then, due to another video where someone was taking apart the PS4, a comment is made about the thermal paste being too hard, too early, leading people to use this as credence to the sabotage.

The reality of the situation is that, thermal paste is supposed to harden, but the amount of time it takes to do so is not definitive and it doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its job. As it is there to simply help the transmission of heat from the CPU to the heat sink for cooling, which inevitably forces the material to dry out, as with anything that becomes heated.

Also, on the list of things fanboys are throwing pitchforks for are a small percentage of consoles having a bent connector within the HDMI port of the PS4. As some owners had found out on day one, if you plugged in your cable and bent the HDMI lead, it would be permanently damaged, causing some of the errors we have been seeing. Not a great thing on Sony’s end, but still something that can be easily sidestepped by simply looking before jamming any cable in.

So, as we are now at our first week out from the PS4 launch, it is probably too early to start worrying about the lifespan of your brand new console. But, if you are seeing an issue or are just paranoid, do know that Sony does have a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty and you can always extend it with the protection plan found on PSN.

Seb: Over on Xbox One, it’s even harder to tell whether problems are widespread or a big deal, as the console is just a day old. After the 33% failure rate of the launch 360s, and repeated rumors that the One was rushed to compete with the PS4, it’s only fair that there’s a healthy suspicion surrounding the console and whether it will have any major issues.

Of course, now we’re beginning to hear about Xbox One’s breaking in the wild, and people are beginning to panic. Various different problems have been reported, but among the most common complaints are – not being able to turn on the console, not being able to go online and not being able to update.

But the one issue that seems to crop up the most by far is disc drive complaints. Forums and social networks are filled with users angry about strange sounds emitted by the drive, and the slightly more important fact that it fails to read game discs, DVDs or Blu-ray. YouTube is filled with repeated examples of the broken drive.

It is a problem. But, just as the PS4’s blue light of death apparently affects less than 1% of owners, the Xbox One’s disc drive of doom may seem like a big deal, it could be less than industry standard levels of broken electronics. The truth is this is the most socially connected console launch in history, and a million or so of each console was sold in a day, so it makes sense that a significant number of people will be vocal about a problem that may just occur at a very low rate.

We don’t know, but what we do know is that no matter how big of a deal these problems are, they will be made into a huge deal by the gaming press and internet commenters.

In reality, though, it’s not these broken consoles that we should be worried about. Early breaks are to be expected in day one consoles, and that’s why warranties exist. All the problems we’ve discussed here should be covered by either the manufacturer’s or the retailer’s warranty.

What is far more concerning is what state these consoles will be in a year or two, when the warranties expire. Unfortunately, we can’t know, and can only hope for the best.

What do you think of the issues with the launch of the PS4/XBO? Is it normal for consoles to be having these issues from the beginning? Let us know in the comments below, email us at [email protected] or tweet us your error codes at Seb and Dan.