How serious are the PS4's Blue Light of Death and broken hardware reports?

Seemingly isolated issues frustrate thousands of consumers.

3612 Comments

Just a few days after launch, the PlayStation had already earned a dubious honor: a nickname for its potentially fatal flaw. What some users are calling the Blue Light of Death, mimicking the infamous Red Ring of Death that plagued the launch of the Xbox 360 for years, has forced hundreds of PlayStation 4 owners to send their systems back to Sony and vent their frustrations in online reviews and forums. But just how widespread is the issue?

While it's impossible to accurately gauge how far the claims of broken systems extend, prior to launch Sony shared that their expected failure rate for the console was 0.4%. To put that in perspective, that's about 1 in 250. With over one million PlayStation 4 systems sold, that comes to about 4,000 potentially broken systems. While that's a small number compared to the 996,000 that do work, that's little consolation if you're one of the 4,000 affected waiting to mail a $400 paperweight back to Sony.

This is also the first console-launch since the wide spread of social media, where users can quickly and easily share their opinions with a world-wide audience ready to listen. And studies have shown that people are much more likely to share negative experiences over positive ones. We've grown accustomed to publicly berating companies that offer a subpar service and crowd-sourcing our troubleshooting needs, asking friends on Twitter or Facebook for advice before trying to go through any official channels.

No Caption Provided

Even still, the PlayStation forums have several constantly growing posts dedicated to broken PS4 systems, and the Amazon review thread is divided between 5 star and 1 star reviews, with most of the 1 star reviews specifically calling out the flashing blue light.

Exploring Sony's Customer Service

A thread on the official PlayStation forums walks users through potential fixes for the flashing blue light, but if that doesn't work, the best advice I've read online is to take the PS4 to a Sony store. Official Sony stores can sometimes perform maintenance on-site, and they're generally able to offer immediate replacements without having to wait to mail anything back and forth.

While the PS4 I ordered from Amazon has been working just fine, I wanted to find out what the customer experience would be like if my system didn't work. So after reading up on all the troubleshooting I would have done, I tried accessing the live chat system on the Sony support site. Over the course of an hour, I was only put in line to talk to a representative three times. Each time I was queued at either number 16 or 17 and given a 5-minute wait time. After two minutes, I was booted from the queue with no explanation.

Not a great start, so I tried calling the support system by phone. Although the automated voice on the other end told me that the wait could exceed one hour, I was patched through to a live person in 28 minutes.

I asked about the process for returning a console that doesn't work and has a flashing blue light. First, I was told about the possible Sony store return policy I mentioned earlier, but if no stores were in my area, the representative would collect my shipping info. I'd have a return box in two days (or I could ship it to Sony myself right now via UPS), and after trying to repair the machine, they'd send me a repaired unit or replacement in 5-7 days.

The representative told me that, outside of the flashing blue light, she'd been able to fix most issues for users over the phone. However, she couldn't verify how widespread the irreparable issues were nor what was causing the blue light issue. The representative was incredibly courteous, knowledgeable, and almost made up for the wasted time I spent waiting to chat with someone online.

Ongoing Research

Maybe the GameSpot office and I have been exceedingly lucky. The consoles we were sent by Sony for review worked fine, and held up to the brutal 12-hour gaming sessions they endured for our livestreams. The system I ordered from Amazon has been on and online for hours without a stutter, and all of my acquaintances that ordered a PS4 have been streaming weekend play sessions and posting images of their games.

But even if Sony's estimates are correct and the issues users are facing only affect 0.4%, it's obvious that a vocal minority is having an effect on public perception of the system. And the customer service experience on Sony's side could be handled better, especially for compensating the gamers who aren't near a Sony store and who might not have a better course of action than mailing their system back and waiting for a replacement.

For the potentially thousands of gamers who have had to spend the weekend after launch troubleshooting a system and waiting to talk to customer service, there's a lot of justifiable unhappiness. But on the bright side, it doesn't seem quite as serious as some reports seem to suggest. GameSpot will continue looking into these issues to determine just how widespread they are and if they affect more than Sony's projected 0.4%.

If you've run into any issues, good or bad, we'd like to hear about them in the comments below. But if you're looking for technical support, you probably don't want to ask the commenters. For that, I'd recommend heading to the PlayStation support site.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Justin Haywald on Google+

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 3612 comments about this story
3612 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

131

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

The John Cena fans will have their time, coming Nov, 22, 2013.

2 • 
Avatar image for RabbiSchmuley
RabbiSchmuley

204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> I would like this twice...but then i'd concede to knowing who John Cena is...and man what a headache that is.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for galactic88
galactic88

48

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

And to follow up this article Sony is expediting shipping for all the consoles affected by this unforeseen circumstance.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RabbiSchmuley
RabbiSchmuley

204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> more than I can say for M$. I remember when my 360elite had a meltdown it was going to cost me $60+ to get it shipped for repair.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for danbodamnit
danbodamnit

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> do you feel clever and witty by putting a $ in MS. the originality from you is amazing....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RabbiSchmuley
RabbiSchmuley

204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> you're sticking to the words not the concept. So I retract the dollar sign, what remains is still a short-hand bastardized representation of a company that hands out short-hand bastardized spin-doctored bull shit.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for danbodamnit
danbodamnit

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> no, it never makes sense to do to stupid shit like that. it follows along the lines of microshit, or shitsoft.

stupid whips, are just that, stupid. same for PS whips

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RabbiSchmuley
RabbiSchmuley

204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@danbodamnit @RabbiSchmuley @galactic88 yes, now stand in awe.

btw, it makes sense in the context of sentence..m$ would charge me shipping so that they save me cracking open their plastic system and voiding their warranty

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gamrinline
gamrinline

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

You know. You can get a shirt that says xbone

Upvote • 
Avatar image for zintarr
zintarr

2212

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 0

I think I have around 50-hours of game time on my PS4 and I have had zero problems.


3 • 
Avatar image for AjenoMerveilles
AjenoMerveilles

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

You know, I am almost grateful for the delay of 'Watch Dogs' (slightly embarrassing that the UK advert for the PS4 has Aiden in it quite significantly. Whoops). What went from an insistent first day purchase was suddenly pushed back until whenever the game actually comes out as it was the only one to intrigue me. Conversely, by that time we will know more about upcoming games/exclusives and what not. So, so be it. No different from 'GTA Online' being a minor disaster on release.

Also, it was an intention to sell my PS3 to cover the cost of peripherals. Since then, I have spent £100 catching up on 'The Last of Us', 'Ni No Kuni', 'Beyond:Two Souls' and 'Tomb Raider'. Like I said, almost grateful.

... and I am still looking forward to my eventual PS4 purchase. Patience can be a inadvertent virtue at times.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Mr357Magnum
Mr357Magnum

196

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

What's that? Launch issues? A dubious something-light-of-death within the first wave of hardware shipments? What a BIG SURPRISE.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for klepp0906
klepp0906

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's a wonder people don't go Into convulsions and try to reach the president when they buy a monitor and it has a bad pixel. Seriously, if if has a problem.. Return it or get it fixed. When our cars break do we demonize the maker? No, because it's gonna happen. Tbh it happens much more frequently in just about all other areas and products, which leads me to believe people are fanboys, whining just to whine, incompetent, or preteen and have no conception of the real world. Likely a combination of the aforementioned.

Call me when a class action suit is filed requiring a complete change in the products warranty at a cost of millions to sony (ala-Xbox360).

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dee2k
dee2k

69

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Hmm... I don't recall 1st wave shipments of Samsung TV's, Galaxy Phones, Tablets... 1st wave shipments of new iPads, iPhones, iMacs, Macbooks... 1st wave shipments of the WiiU... 1st wave shipments of new PC's (which uses similar parts as the PS4)... having widespread defects on this level! Hmm...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Mr357Magnum
Mr357Magnum

196

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Hmm, yeah, that is interesting considering that i was referencing consoles and not electrical devices in general. Funny, your use of punctuation at the end. Just really had to really tell it to me! The 360 and ps3 in particular had these issues at launch so it shouldn't really have been much of a surprise, be it an inconvenience.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> search for your favourite brand and model in google along with the related topics. there are thousands of articles. for example, i just brought an xperia sp (exchanged 3 times, now alive and working), and there are hundreds of comments about dead batteries, dead screens, dead pixels, dead memories, bricked on updates. something not sony? i´ve brought an nvidia 560 ti for my mom, and it hasn't failed but there are hundreds of failed chipsets, driver issues, even burnt ones. it's just that people likes to complain, and i hope the xbone does a spectacular job at failing to reach the fail percentage, just for the sake of haters.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for klepp0906
klepp0906

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's impossible to reason with an imbecile. There is a saying for this, but it escapes me as I try not to associate with the aforementioned. I don't get to use it very often.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3209

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> In some ways it is... They went with safe hardware this time it shouldn't be happening the ps3/360 had pretty strong specs for the time these consoles are on the lower end of the spectrum...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for thejeqff
thejeqff

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I had a different problem (but also a somewhat widespread one it seems) where my box randomly froze and shut off. I was able to run the system for about a half hour when it froze and shut off. I was never able to get it back up and running again. I called support on Friday, was on hold for 2.5 hours, and the customer support tech had me try to boot into safe mode. When that didn't work, he told me I'd have to send it in. The information I was told was that they'd overnight a box to me (which they did, it arrived on Monday, yesterday), which would be overnight back to them (also confirmed), and they would immediately send me a new system back, also overnight. I wish I had known about the Sony Store option, because I have one about a half hour away from my house and would have taken that option had I known. In any case, I'm hoping they keep their word and send the new system quickly. My experience with customer support was great. They were kind, thorough, and courteous throughout the entire call, which made up for the 2.5 hour wait. Now I just want to get back to gaming. Thankfully I didn't trade in my PS3 yet so I can still play that while I wait.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Vinnvn
Vinnvn

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >>

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ibejackson
ibejackson

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >>indeed they did...


<< LINK REMOVED >>

Upvote • 
Avatar image for airshocker
airshocker

31700

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I've probably put about 50 hours into the system, split between gaming and watching Netflix. No issues except for the abysmal battery life of the DS4.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

131

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

Xbox loyalists love to troll.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3209

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yep never mind that most of the early console buys are done by fanboys...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

131

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I wouldn't call myself a fanboy, am I biased, yes, but a fanboy, no.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3209

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

@MatthewSnyder86 @ArabrockermanX Most ;)


Edit: anyways what I'm saying is the people complaining probably like Playstation.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for danbodamnit
danbodamnit

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> examples please sir? and dont pretend ps fan have not been trolling since E3

Upvote • 
Avatar image for warrenalan1983
Warrenalan1983

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> this is why i stopped with consoles you lot do realises your shiney new boxes ain't all that fancy.Im sure you would argue over the colour of a sticker on it, They are so evenly matched its untrue, yet you argue on here over a 0.4% failure rate making a big deal .I remember havin 6 360s and 1 ps3, so this time its the other way round whoop de doo, get over yourselves and go get laid

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MatthewSnyder86
MatthewSnyder86

131

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 1

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I saw some comments of gloating, and saying " that's why I'm getting an XBOne!", things like that.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ZombieGuyGeorge
ZombieGuyGeorge

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >>

<< LINK REMOVED >>

<< LINK REMOVED >>


I saw some comments of gloating, and saying " that's why I'm getting a new PC!", things like that. MASTA RACE FTW!!!!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ne0182
ne0182

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>damn, i can't believe they wrote "XBOne" while they like it.

bastards^^

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sammoth
sammoth

50

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>


I saw some comments of gloating, and saying " that's why I'm getting an PS4!", things like that.


Fix that for you and for your true Sony Press Kit.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dumbo77
dumbo77

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

All products have SOME number that will come off any factory floor broken/not working day one. This is why stores have a return policy. I just want to see how Sony can handle this PS4 mess.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sammoth
sammoth

50

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >>

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gamrinline
gamrinline

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

They are just a scheme

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RT-XD
RT-XD

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think Sony deserves sarcastic clapping alongside a "BIG WELL DONE!" sign

Upvote • 
Avatar image for timthegem
timthegem

873

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> Or underneath a giant banner that says "Mission Accomplished".

Upvote • 
Avatar image for FoxbatAlpha
FoxbatAlpha

10669

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

They said .4% before the launch with the Taco Bell consoles. After launch a shit storm hit and it's still .4%?????????????????? Why does anyone listen to this companies lies?????????

3 • 
Avatar image for warrenalan1983
Warrenalan1983

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

<< LINK REMOVED >> go get laid , no one cares now **** off

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3209

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> I think the 500 reported first day on Amazon was more telling than anything... That would mean Amazon supplied 12.5% of the estimated busted units which seems a bit high for 1 supplier.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Bansheezs
Bansheezs

590

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> I believe they are lying too. I think its around 5%

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gamrinline
gamrinline

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Nobody cares were just waiting for xbox release

Upvote • 
Avatar image for timthegem
timthegem

873

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> As if the xbox won't have its own hardware failure issues once again.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Bansheezs
Bansheezs

590

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

<< LINK REMOVED >> wish I was waiting for the xbox release instead of having a paper weight that looks like a ps4


3 •