PS4 'Blue Light Of Death' Has No Clear Fix Yet

PS4 'Blue Light of Death' Has No Clear Fix Yet

A number of PlayStation 4 owners appear to have non-functional units that all suffer the same problem, a so-called blue light — or blue pulse — of death. We can't tell how many and assume it's a small but noteworthy minority.

The problem is being cited in scathing Amazon reviews, a trickle of Twitter complaints and a stack of videos on YouTube — as well as in more than a dozen e-mails and Tweets received by Kotaku since the console's launch on Friday.

Sony hasn't offered any official comment to Kotaku on the matter, but a representative on the official PS4 support forums did post a lengthy set of step-by-step troubleshooting tips today. That post, on a thread entitled "[INFO] Blinking Blue Light PS4 Issues," doesn't offer any surefire fix.

From what I've heard, those with this issue have found that the best solution still involves sending the unit back — either directly to Sony or to the retailer who sold it to them, if an exchange is available.

The problem that these PS4 users are facing is frustratingly simple. When a PS4 is working and is turned on with a press of the power button, the light that runs along the side of the console should first pulse blue and then switch to white. As it does, the console should send a signal to the TV it is hooked up to. Those who have the "blue light/pulse of death" are instead finding that their PS4 pulses blue, never goes to white and never sends a signal to their TV. I first heard about this problem on Wednesday from a Redditor going by the name Arogon. He'd won his PS4 in a Taco Bell contest and received it prior to launch.

You can see many examples of the blue light of death on YouTube. This one, for example:

...and this one...

...and this one...

We've presented another one in the GIF atop this post.

Sony's troubleshooting tips involve holding down the power button for seven seconds, unplugging the console and then powering it back on. The company also recommends checking the seating of the hard drive and ensuring that the firmware of the connected TV is up to date.

While I've heard from numerous people who've had the pulsing blue light problem, I've not heard from any who have been able to fix it through any simple steps.

I have, however, heard from multiple PS4 users whose systems did have problems that they could fix — those users, like us, had PS4s that had lights that went from blue to white. The scattered issues involved things like bent metal in an HDMI port and incompatibility with some non-Sony HDMI cables. The issues vary widely, as do the solutions. Screenwriter and former PC Gamer editor Gary Whitta got his blue-to-white machine working only once he added the PS4's day-one patch via a USB stick. Whitta's emotional rollercoaster was captured on Twitter, where he went from "OH SHIT UPS TRUCK" to "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA my PS4 doesn't work" to "Guys, I got it working! I'm a tech genius!" in about two hours.

The blue-light-only people are posting much angrier accounts.

The console's Amazon rating — with its more than 600 five-star reviews — has been dragged down by nearly 400 one-star reviews, many of which cite the blue light problem. A sampling:

PS4 'Blue Light of Death' Has No Clear Fix Yet

Several people have contacted me directly after seeing my article about our own formerly-broken PS4. Our problem was simple and unrelated to the blue light thing, but I nevertheless asked for anyone who was having trouble to reach out. They did. They've mostly been frustrated by the problem, though one has said that Sony is already sending him a box for him to return his console in. And another shared an emotional rollercoaster of an adventure with me that involved first rescuing his PS4 from being delivered on a neighbour's doorstep and then, after discovering the console had the blue-light problem, rushing to a retailer that exchanged it for a working one.

On Twitter, one frustrated PS4 owner, a musician named John Beauchamp, Tweeted to me saying he was "currently stuck on blue." A day later, he Tweeted:

"After a two hour wait, a 10 minute phone conversation mostly involving address and ticket # exchange, Sony is sending me a box to ship... my DOA PS4 and they're going to ship me a brand new PS4 in return... The customer service rep I talked to was extremely reassuring, confident, and knowledgeable which was extremely nice... Also I should remind everyone with DOA's that the customer service rep on the other end is a person to who is not the cause of your problem... Well most of them aren't at least. There's always that 1%"

One of the more unexpected notes Kotaku got regarding the blue light problems was from adult film actress Alana Evans, whose NSFW Twitter feed provided yet another chronicle of the emotional journey of "blue light of death" PS4 users. Early on launch day, she tweeted "Merry Christmas to me ;)" and this picture:

PS4 'Blue Light of Death' Has No Clear Fix Yet

90 minutes later she was tweeting: "wow! Hey @[email protected] My PS4 DOESN'T WORK!!!!! IT ONLY GIVES ME A BLUE LIGHT AND WONT POWER UP. I AM NOT HAPPY!" She said she checked the HDMI port. There was no bent metal. She had the blue light of death problem.

And then, the next day: "I have now been on hold another 50 mins for my third attempt at calling @Playstation. They could at least give me phone sex while I wait." Later she said that she expected to be getting a new one on Tuesday, four days after her console failed on her. She then Tweeted: "I'm not assuming anything. I WILL NOT be getting the Xbox 1 on launch. Not going thru this again."

Some people might conclude that these are the hazards of buying a console at launch. Some machines do break. Sony even told reporters prior to launch that .4% of units that had been distributed to that point had issues — that's 4 out of 1000, or 1 out of 250. That ratio may have changed. It may not have. We're only going to be hearing complaints from those whose machines failed, of course, and most of the people whose PS4s are working are unlikely to drop me a e-mails or send Tweets. Kotaku's far-flung team now have about six or so PS4s, all of which boot up just fine. We've enjoyed many games on the machine and think pretty highly of the unit and its new services. (Read our PS4 review.)

Nevertheless, the reason this issue is being referred to as a "blue light of death" is because people remember Microsoft's "red ring of death" on the Xbox 360. That hardware problem killed so many original Xbox 360s, that Microsoft eventually had to extend the warranty on the machine for three year. The fiasco cost the company an estimated $US1 billion.

There is no indication that this PS4 issue is that bad, but we'll keep an eye on it and will let you know whatever important new details we learn.


    It seems like there is a lot of 'non launch buyer' shaming on here, which i just don't get. If someone wants to wait to buy a new console it's probably got a lot to do with outside factors as well as the usuals like the actual console/games/price etc. It's perfectly fine to get whatever you want, whenever you want it, buying at launch doesn't make you 'better' or anything.

    Who cares how much longer you have a console? Or how much money it costs or if you think it's only worth it if there's a price drop? I decide when it's worth it for me, maybe i'm busy so i won't get to play it, maybe i have to use the money for xmas stuff, maybe i've got plenty of 'last gen' games to get through and none of the 'next gen' ones are exciting enough for me to bother with just yet. Maybe *gasp* there are things in my life that are more important than buying a console at launch.

    Not to mention buying at launch also opens you up to buying a lemon like some of the unfortunate people in this post. The fact is you may be getting the 'exact same' (not quite) product if you wait 4-6 months, but if sony take note of this they will put better quality control in place, maybe check which components are causing the problems and check them more thoroughly, or get the same components from a different, more reliable source. Sure it'll look the same and probably use the same components (ie it won't be a redesigned console like the PS3 slim), but the way in which it's made could be changed to better ensure quality control so that these problems that are encountered by launch buyers don't happen.

    Is it just me or does the first video look like the unit's been kicked around on the floor and aged about a thousand times more than it could be??... I get the feeling that there's a little Xbox rivalry going on in sabotage form... Great way to spook a market.

    Can I make a serious suggestion? Can I suggest to cut down on GIFs on Giz, Kotaku and LH (and wherever else they appear on the Allure Media network)?

    It's hard reading the opening lines to an article when there's a wobbly GIF of a PS4 distracting you. I think the videos are good enough, and if there must be a GIF, have it towards the middle or end so it's not a feature (e.g. title card) image for the whole article. That one of the PS4 on a white background moving to a top-down view, then back down, was neat-ish, but not when it loops every 2 seconds.

    I feel bad for those who got theirs off of Amazon but they're idiots. Got mine from Walmart it got the Blue Pulse of Death. Talked to Sony they told me to send it overseas. But I took it back to Walmart since I had consumer rights as a Plan B. Got it exchanged and luckily it worked

    Let me first start off by saying, I am a gamer and enjoy both Xbox and Playstation. I planned on purchasing both the PS4 and Xboxone. With that said, i received my PS4 on Friday and have run into a host of issues.

    1st issue


    My unit seems to be overheating about every 10-15 min. I tried placing the unit in several areas and the only thing that seemed to work was to run a fan on High directly on the side of the unit. Even with the fan, the red light of death would come on every 30 mins or so

    Noise - My unit seems awfully loud. Louder than the 1st Gen Xbox360.

    Disc run issues- I believe i have a defect with my tray. The disc seems to be jumping around causing the game to freeze up

    PSN connection- It took me about 2 hrs to connect to the PSN network which really didnt help me since i couldn't get more than 15 min of game play at a time.

    I decided to return my unit to Gamestop and received a complete refund.

    I'm going to wait for the 3rd generation PS4 release. Hopefully most of these issues will be resolved

    I suggest many do the same.

    Please check this new video out. This might be the actual cause of the BLOD. This guy actually fixed it. Looks like it's the processor

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