My PlayStation 4 is Broken – UPDATED

ps4 problems slider


Well, after about an hour and forty minutes, I was finally connected with a Sony rep. I was instructed to disconnect my PS4, remove the cover (the glossy part is removable!), and take out the hard drive. Then, I was told to hook the console back up and see what it said, namely that, well, there’s no hard drive.

When that was done, I put the hard drive back in, hooked everything back up, then rebooted into Safe Mode to re-initialize the PlayStation 4. That basically restored it to factory settings–but when I tried to restart the console from there, it crashed again. After that, I got it to take me to the home screen. But by that point, the rep and I agreed that my console was probably not in fine working shape, and that it would probably benefit from repair.

So I’m getting a box sent to my apartment, at which point I’ll hand it to FedEx and let Sony figure my console out. I asked if a lot of people were calling customer service, and he said there were, but not necessarily more than they’d expected. He put it like this: there were 800 people on hold…but compared with the 1.3 million people who bought machines, that’s not so bad. And he’s right–but that’s also not necessarily accounting for people who a) haven’t called or b) hung up.

He also mentioned that a lot of folks who ordered their consoles from Amazon (like me) were having major issues. The poor showing on the Amazon product page would seem to bear that out, too. HDMI port issues, the Blue Light of Death…we’ve got some issues here, people.

But at the end of my adventure with the PlayStation 4, I don’t feel super bad. The fact that video games are kind of my job–and that I’ve got tons of great games to play on PS3, PC, Vita, and Wii U–means that I’m not sad about my PS4 not working right away. Hardware launches always have hiccups like this…it’s just the first time this has happened to me.

So that’s my experience, more or less drawing to a close. Let us know in the comments what you’ve been going through.

Original Post

As you know by now, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 on Friday. In the days leading up to it, reports started to swirl about defective units going out—particularly reports from press outlets like Kotaku and IGN. I was a little concerned since my own unit would be coming later on Friday via UPS (purchased myself, not provided by Sony or Inside Gaming), but I figured that Sony’s assurances that the number of defective units were small would work in my favor. What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, a lot could go wrong. Simply put, my PlayStation 4 is defective, and that sucks.

The first crash happened after I tried waking the PS4 from sleep on the evening of my first day with the console. It flashed on, turned off, then rebooted into Safe Mode. Then it turned on, admonished me for unplugging the power cord while it was still on (I didn’t) and seemed to work fine. Before this happened, my girlfriend and I had spent the evening watching Netflix and everything was going fine. And even earlier that day, I’d been enjoying about an hour’s worth of Killzone: Shadow Fall with no problems.

The second crash was this morning—again, waking it from sleep mode. The same thing happened: flash on, turn off, safe mode, then back to normal.

The third crash was about a half-hour later, while I was downloading games from the PlayStation Store. I just left the console in the home screen while it downloaded Contrast, Warframe, and Blacklight Retribution. Resogun had downloaded and installed without a hitch the night before (after the initial crash). I went into the other room to make coffee. When I came back in, the console was off. I turned it back on—booted into safe mode.

The fourth crash came while I was playing Contrast, after it had finished installing. After booting into safe mode, the console didn’t want to turn on by itself. I pushed power again. I tried to turn it on, but only got a blinking blue light on the top of the console. After waiting for ten minutes or so, this time I did take out the power cord for a hard reset. That finally got the thing to boot up again.

The fifth crash came when just browsing the settings menu. Once again the console spazzed out and turned off.

I have not had this thing hooked up for 24 hours yet.

While I was on hold with Sony support, Landon recommended that I boot into Safe Mode, and then Rebuild the Database, so that’s what I did. It all worked fine. I had been on hold with support for about a half hour, so I figured that I could hang up. I started playing Contrast again, to see if it would crash. While trying to solve a puzzle in the first level, the controller went dead, my character started moving of her own accord, and then the game froze and went black. The console shut off.

That’s six crashes. Plus, the HDMI port seems a bit loose and wiggly, and at one point, when reaching to the back of the console during a freeze, I touched it and the image flicked between black and back. So…that’s not so good either.

I booted back into Safe Mode, rebooted the console, removed my Killzone disc, and turned it off. I’ve been on hold with Sony support again for the last forty minutes. The recorded hold message lady who intermittently reminds me I’m still on hold tells me that I can go to Sony’s Support page and do a live chat—but that’s not true:

sony support

I can’t click it, I can’t try it—they’re just too overloaded.

So what do I do? I could wait for Sony to pick up the phone, run me through the same things I’ve already done, and hopefully replace my console. My other big option is to simply return my unit to Amazon for a full refund—they won’t replace it, since they’re out of stock (surprise!).

And with all that, I’m not really even that upset…though I wouldn’t say I’m not annoyed. Hardware launches are riddled with bugs and problems, so this kind of thing isn’t too surprising. But here we are, ushering in the next-generation, and all I want to do is plug my Xbox 360 back in.

Any readers out there have similar stories? And what are the chances that the Xbox One launch will be similarly problematic? After all, the Red Ring of Death has achieved legendary status by now…has Microsoft shifted its launch curse to Sony? And while it’s too early for me to tell myself, how have people’s experiences with Sony support been so far? I have some sympathy for the company since its employees are likely just as frustrated by this as I am. But at the same time…this isn’t quite how I wanted to spend my Saturday.

In the meantime, I’m still on hold. I’ve already done the dishes. Any good books I could read while I wait?


  1. Haha… Super, omega, total PS4 fail… :D

  2. Did you try booting to safe mode and installing the firmware from a USB thumbstick?

    • Pretty sure it’s not a software issue, but a hardware one. I’d rather just send it in and have them fix it rather than screw around with it anymore. I got stuff to do!

  3. Welcome to the TRUE next gen alright… a TRUE gen of broken consoles for sure, haha!

  4. Sorry to hear that Brian, when you joked about on the original post about issues I was hoping that would end up as that, just a joke, but seems now there is an actual concern in buying one and ending with a lemon, hope they sort this out fast and doesn’t take 2, 3 years like Red Rings did.

    • Eh! It’s really not that big a deal–at least not for me. To be quite honest, the only reason I got a PS4 right now is because of the job I do. Keeping up is part of the game, but typically I wait a good long while before getting new consoles. Every big hardware release has lots of bugs, so to think that Sony’s (or Microsoft’s) would be any different would be naive.

      Might as well wait at least a month, though. My real fear is for parents who bought defective PS4s now, only to finally test them out on Christmas morning when their kids open them up. THAT is going to be some sad shit.

      • And now it’s just coming up on March and the preorders still haven’t all been filled. The PS4 sales have probably stressed out more store staff than any previous run to date. Most of the initial issues were minor overall and fixable without RTM. Oh and as someone else mentioned not all of us called Sony over defective hardware, I was calling regarding a store issue with some preorder DLC code that couldn’t be redeemed, turned out for some bizarre reason it was included with another code from my content package… Not that the store message made that at all intelligible, but said merely there was an error with the code being “invalid”.

  5. PS4 disappointed :/ , but i believe SONY will fix it maybe :D

  6. You do realize that not all the 800 people calling the support are calling about a broken PS4. Now lets say that 5000 PS4 ( I don’t think that the real number of broken consoles will reach this but ) were reported broken that is still a 0.4% failure rate which is pretty low.

  7. I told you it was broken.

  8. Killzone single player is kind of lame. Resogun is pretty okay, but it’ll always be pretty okay, and I beat Contrast in a single sitting. You’re not missing out on much.

  9. I would like to inform my readers that I am an avid gamer I’ve own every system know to man I myself usually wait weeks or months after launch before purchasing but for the first I was so anxious that I purchased the ps4 on launch day honestly not expecting glitches because of Sony’s fair track record but now all that has changed I purchase my gaming system from gamestop. I’ve tried to contact sony by phone as Brian said its busy or they walk you through the same steps online is entirely impossible to reach support but here’s how it started day 1 couldn’t access my psn nor connect to the sony network day 2 It wouldn’t stabilize with the internet connection (52bps) high speed also it became a slow loader for anything accessible day 3 nba 2k14 server went down glitches also became exposed with that game boy are they bad the jerseys vibrate more then the control hilarious might be time for nba live but with that being said here’s where PlayStation became defective the moment I turned the system on after glitchy 2k it went in to safe mode asked me to update system I tried update via. Internet usb drive no results now each time i turn the system on its permanently stuck in safe mode an the system will not shut down it goes blank who else is stuck in safe mode?

  10. well I think .4% is bs. 4 people at my work report failed systems, and as you can see its al over the web, not to metion all the unreported fails, ps4 made over 700 million on launch, I am very disappointed after waiting 2 hours on the help line I marched back to the store I bought it from only to learn I was the 8 person with the same problem, I gave them my system and told them to get me a new one, they are still working on it, it seem like Sony knew of the problem and launch anyways, if I get my money back will be buying x box and if I get a new onward I will be spending 70 buck on extend warranty, what a crock of cap this is,

  11. I also experienced the BLOD today. Called sony customer service was on the phone for no more than 20 minute. Got my box processed. And now I wait.

  12. Got the blue line of death too. Got it yesterday. If I have it vertical it boots 1 in 3 times, parallel it don’t boot at all. When it dose boot it will often make some weird noise than turn off. Can’t download a demo without becoming corrupt before it finishes downloading. Haven’t even tried a disc yet. Anyway Game can’t replace it as they only have pre-ordered stock left. Anyway got through to Sony after a while and getting a replacement on Wednesday. Hopefully that one will be Ok or I will be driving to Sony UK in a rage.

  13. Well it does seem like there is a large number of people with this and similar problems.
    Bought mine yesterday and booted it up today. Installed the update and jumped into killzone after about an hour the system turned off by itself.
    So I restarted and tried again it did the bloody same.
    I called sony and they got me to “initialise ” the thing.
    After waiting like 1-2 hours the ps4 wouldn’t even boot up just kept flashing the blue light on top.
    Called sony again and they are gonna replace it however what is gonna be so different with the new one they are gonna send?

  14. Hey man I had the exact same problem.
    You need a good HDMI cable but not one that looks nice, one that has a bulky square on the end so that it doesnt have the opportunity to move or get loose while your playing. I also put it vertical, and just to make sure, every time I go to sleep I take the disk out. When I wake up I boot it up NORMALLY(thanks to the strong hdmi) and afterwards put the disk in.

    WHole explanation doesn’t look promising, but believe me, it is worth it


  15. My ps4 crashed also, but what I see is a patern here, mine crashed when I was playing killzone! Now I’ve had ghosts,and Lego marvel heroes and they loaded and booted fine it was when my killzone froze when the loading stopped

    • Killzone is rather unstable, though I found a lot of my issues were resolved with PS4 update 1.52 with game crashes, further updates to KZ itself may have impacted this but I beat the SP that day and haven’t attempted the MP due to lousy net.

  16. We are on our second ps4 of course sent the 1st one in and now the second ps4 has now crashed. Two different playstation two different problems since it’s been since November we can’t get our money back and playstation won’t refund us either so I say they r junk and I will never buy another ps product.. .04% might work but this is horseshit!!!

  17. i bought my ps4 beggining feb it is now end of march and i have replaced 1 sytem with blue light of death and now getting error codes on games tech support told me to send it in also this product is broke and i think the amount of bad ps4 is more ike 40% if you look at some of the articles online you should be able to tell one guy sent in 4 systems that were faulty i personally am very pissed i spent almost 600 on system 1yr ps plus and bf4 and have had nothing but trouble do not buy this product

  18. This is why you never buy a new console right away, your own faults. There are many ways these systems could have been damaged, shipping is usually the number one cause of electronic defects. I used to work for UPS and I can promise you, a lot of stuff gets tossed and banged around in the trucks. Not usually on purpose, but it happens. High chance for it to happen through tractor trailer as well, forklifts are not the most gentle machines known to man when removing amd placing pallets.

  19. I know I’m late but u was having trouble with my ps4 it kept giving me a error code when I did anything involving psn (nothing wrong with internet) so I called sony and I’m having a box being sent here and I was wondering how that worked with you sending it to them and everything maybe you can email me or just type a reply on here if you remember how things went …thanks !

  20. I bought my PS4 from back in December (and regret it mightily now) and it started having intermittent crashes and refusing to power on about a month later, till now it’s crashing every time we try to play (and having just got Watchdogs, that’s pretty damned annoying). Amazon won’t take it back, saying the deadline for returns was Jan. and Sony’s saying all we can do is send it in for repairs, so I am pretty unhappy my 500 dollar next gen system is a dud.

  21. I ordered the kill zone play station bundle from gamestop in march and it worked fine til last night when my system went in safe mode. I called sony and the guy said return it after he walked me through the steps which didn’t work. The best thing I did was pay 60 bucks 4 a 2 year warranty so if anything happens I take it back and get a new ps4. I agree with some of these post with shipping problems.

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