PS4 Failure Rate Is Less Than 1%, Says Sony

PS4 Failure Rate Is Less Than 1%, Sony Says

Sony is expressing sympathy for customers frustrated by broken, brand-new PlayStation 4s but the company believes the problem is affecting relatively few gamers. A company rep told Kotaku this in response to our request for more information about the so-called "blue light of death". That error refers to a condition that keeps the PS4 from successfully connecting to TVs and that remains the one problem we're hearing about consistently from owners of faulty consoles. A proper PS4 first lights up blue, but the pulsing blue light switches to white as the machine fully boots up.

Sony did not specifically address the blue-light-only problem today.

"There have been several issues reported, which leads us to believe there isn't a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of PS4 units," a spokesperson wrote to me over email.

"We also understand that some units were reportedly damaged during shipping. The number of affected PS4 systems is less than 1 per cent, which represents a very small percentage of total units shipped to date and is within the expected range for a new product introduction.

"We understand the frustration of consumers that have had a problem and are working with them and our retail partners to help troubleshoot issues and ensure affected units are exchanged."

Late last week, when early PS4 owners and press were reporting some hardware difficulties, the company estimated that perhaps .4 per cent of available PS4 units have had problems.

Yesterday, Sony said that the they sold 1,000,000 PlayStation 4s on the console's first day of sale. A 1 per cent error rate would affect 10,000 consoles. The ultimate failure rate for the "red ring of death" on the Xbox 360 has been estimated to be as high as 50 per cent.

On Saturday, I ran an article about the so-called "blue light of death" after receiving several emails about it from readers and after seeing lots of Tweets, YouTube videos and negative Amazon reviews written by verified purchasers. At the time, Sony's official support form offered some troubleshooting tips but no surefire fix.

Sony: "The number of affected PS4 systems is less than 1 per cent, which represents a very small percentage of total units shipped to date and is within the expected range for a new product introduction. We understand the frustration of consumers that have had a problem and are working with them and our retail partners to help troubleshoot issues and ensure affected units are exchanged."

Since that Saturday article, I've received six more emails from readers who say they've had the blue-light-only problem and four from readers who say they've had other hardware failures with the machine. (One reader, recognising that people usually only write to offer complaints, emailed to report that his system is working great.) I've also heard from two who cite a "red light of death," referring to the colour the PS4's system light switches to when the machine is overheating.

For the record, all of the PS4s being used by Kotaku staff on both sides of the U.S. are working fine, and we understand that many, many people are having no issues with the system.

Many of the readers who have emailed me have been able to exchange units for better, working ones. They also report that wait times for calling Sony customer support have been as long as two hours. One of them didn't appreciate the PS4 launch-day office party they heard in the background. Another vented frustration about trying a PlayStation console after being a long-time Xbox supporter and having been won over by Sony's strong E3 showing. Many who emailed me said that Sony's customer service reps have been friendly and sympathetic.

The Sony PR rep I've been in touch with said he's seen online rumours of customers being told they need to wait six weeks for a replacement. "Our customer support team is exchanging units with new replacements immediately and with expedited shipping," the rep said. Some of the PS4 owners who have emailed me have said that they've been given estimates of three weeks, which includes the process of having Sony send them a box to ship their faulty unit back to Sony in.

I've only heard from one PS4 owner who was able to bring their PS4 back to proper functionality after having their console fail to get past the blinking blue light. This PS4 owner said the problem happened after he updated his console to firmware 1.50 and says he took the risk (not recommended!) of unplugging his machine while it was blinking blue and plugging it back in. He says that worked. He's the only person to have given me any sign that the blue light problems can be fixed. Everyone else says they try everything and that nothing works. (This person on YouTube says he did but wasn't able to show it happen and has a method that needs a PS4 controller to be synced to the console.)

Several readers who've written to me about blue light problems say they got their consoles from Amazon. Given that Amazon is such a huge retailer, it's unclear if the problems have anything to do with them or any other one retailer. That said, I'm hoping to update this story with comments from major retailers as they come in to see if that helps further isolate issues.

Sony did not answer a question I posed to them about when they might expect to ship a new wave of units that don't have the issues of this first batch.

At this point our best advice is to follow Sony's troubleshooting tips and, if that doesn't work, assume you're going to have to exchange the unit. If/when we know more, we'll let you know.


    To some people on the internet, 1% is a percent too high.

    And how would they know? If they're aware of the amount of systems that were faulty or knew how many were damaged during shipping, then logic dictates that they would be able to identify said units and take them out of production. So in reality, they're just guessing.

    Obviously any consumer electronic device is going to have faulty units, I'm not blaming Sony for that, it's just life, but releasing percentages is kinda deceptive. I suppose they hope the figure, even if admittedly an estimate, sticks and people take it and run with it. But I don't trust them to be honest with any figure. What corporation is going to be 100% honest about this?

    Last edited 20/11/13 1:13 pm

      I just hope xbone dont have any similar issues, and if they do please dont let it be mine :p although if there is faults it seems like there will be plenty more supply to get it replaced.

        Don't worry at least Microsoft will have a quicker turn around, whereas Sony are notorious for just sweeping issues under the rug, my Launch ps3 took them two months to replace only a month after launch...
        Sony are estimating replacement PS4 Units to arrive anywhere from now til Feb..

        As for 1.0% that is just faulty units from hdmi ports broken etc what about the people who are having
        red line of death from overheating
        Disc trays stuck not releasing discs
        Etc etc

        Same. Obviously there's going to be a number of faulty units. But hopefully there's not something on the scale of the RROD. That was horrendous.

          But the RROD didn't present itself until much later into it's launch, this allowed Microsoft to have units ready to replace those defective ones. Unfortunately for Sony, they haven't produced enough consoles to replace the default ones.

        LOL, it's impossible for the Xbone to not have similar failure rates. all technology has failures, some more than others.

      The reason they would know is because they would have performed statistical experiments on the failure rate under various conditions a found with certain confidence that the failure rate would be 1%. Clearly with a larger sample space of the entire market though other variables will be introduced and the rate would potentially creep higher. I think that companies like these have to be completely honest with their statistical evidence, otherwise they could face a lawsuit for false advertising.

        Sony's guesstimate of the failure rate based on internal testing was .4%, so I think it would be reasonable to assume that the 1% rate is based upon a combination of reported failures and market analysis.

      One would assume that most people who have a problem would report it to Sony or the retailer, and that Sony would be collecting this data.

        And if they're not reporting failures... WHY THE HELL AREN'T THEY?

        Can't fix problems if they aren't aware of them.

      Because people call Sony when they have a problem.

      Sony know how many they've sold, and they know how many people have called them about faulty units. Not hard to calculate a percentage from that data.

      They wouldn't be guessing at all. It would be based on the amount of individual tickets/return requests they have in their customer service platform.

      I work for a big online retailer, we can determine with quite a bit of accuracy what percentage of faulty items are out within the first week, most complaints come in during the first 5-7 days of customers receiving the goods. People are quick to complain when a new item is faulty.

      they're basing it on the reports they're getting versus total units shipped duh. It's not like they're saying "Exactly 6436 units are affected". They're saying "less than 1%" as in, "we've had reports and complaints, but the numbers are less than 1% of what we've shipped"

    Stopped reading when it said someone was upset they were having a launch party in the background... Really? People get pissy over that... Oh really, where has the human side to humanity gone? Replaced with litigation and easy offended people

    I am not saying "don't be upset your machine isn't working" I'm saying don't get a hissy fit and act like a brat because hard working people are celebrating an achievement/milestone

    So Microsoft never owned up to 50% of the 360's RROD. Im sure they only claimed 1% was effected as well or some similar small number. And we know that was bullshit.
    So im guessing there is an extra zero the Sonys figures of failure rate. Have you see how many posts there are from all the ps4 owners.
    And the comment from Sony you are quoting above is 3 days old so how about giving us an updated comment from Sony.

    I doubt that this figure may be accurate not only for the above reasons that have been outlined above in other posts but also because i believe it only reflects the consoles that Sony themselves are hearing about via their console return under warranty and customer centre calls. I doubt that it would also be taking into account (yet at any rate) any direct returns to retailers for either an exchange or refund (namely Amazon and Big Retailers who would not submit claims to Sony for a few more days/week,) nor nor those who are using a quicker, more informal method for repairs/replacement (apparently actual Sony stores in the US are doing this if you can get to one).

    Also in context regardless of whether the figure is accurate or not, 1% failure rate in the first week of release would be expected. But if that figure is higher it might be a cause for concern going forward as more and more consoles may suffer from this issue going forward and in the lead up to international release.

    I think the only mistake they've made was in putting every console on the shelf and not keeping some back for replacements

    I was very nervous turning mine on Monday but all is well. There are some kinks that need ironing out. I've had to 'reboot' a few times to fix up audio problems.

    First it was 0,04%, then 0.4%, now it's less than 1%
    Next week under 5%

      They are trying their best to do some damage control. These things usually spread like wildfire and customers are easily scared off. Now they know how Microsoft felt for the last few months.

    If it even is that low a chance...Knowing my horrible luck it's totally going to happen to mine.

    1% of 1 million units is still 10,000 dead PS4s out there for launch.

      Yeah I was just thinking that. But if it stays not to far from the 1% after launch is what's interesting. Wonder if we could get failure rates in 1 year. See who came out on top as Xbox 360 was the loser last gen there.

    Instead of just claiming omg 1% is so much why dont we ask what would be a acceptable failure rate of a new product launch ?

    I remember reading when failure rates on the ps3 and 360 were high that gen about 7% would fall within acceptable limits. Can anyone confirm or deny ?

      360 hit 50% I believe.

        Hmm just having a look now the normal expected failure of advanced electronic equipment is 2% to 5%.

        I'm pretty sure the 50% claim was the highest estimates of the 360 failure rate with most being around 20% to 30% which is still very high by industry expectations.

          The 20-30% figure was also over a five year period (ie. 23% of launch generation X360 units experienced hardware failure in the first five years). Failure rate in the first year was 5%, based on independent analysis. It was never as high as 50%, and the last thread on this topic really reinforced that generally people don't seem to understand how percentages work.

          Don't get me wrong, a 5% annual failure rate is high, and I think Microsoft's claim of 5% being the industry standard was bunk, but it's not nearly as high as people try to make out.

            Thanks for that its been a while since ive been interested in looking at failure rates and its hard to on a phone :)

        Here's a link to the article that you are referring to:

        Oh wait...

      Standard accepted 'industry' failure rate for consumer electronics is 3-5%. Modern mass production and global shipping means its an inevitability.

      Anything above that would be a result of manufacturing plant issues. A typical supply contract for a company like Foxxcon will allow for 3-5% failure rate, and they will start to compensate after that.


    lol I meant other articles bit this one will do :D

    Just read a comment on you tube, some guy says he has blue light of death, which i assume is a signal/connection problem, claims to open the PS4, and saw that the HDMI was not soldered properly to the main board, and he re soldered the hdmi connector himself and it worked...very strange... if this is the case, it may be an easy fix... but probably void the warranty ... ahahah

    I got my ps4 last night at midnight came home updated install game (Killzone) was playing away for 2 hours and all of sudden the ps4 got so loud I could here it over my astro A50s so dam loud so took headset off and all of sudden it went pop and shut off and could smell burning smell after that would boot up turn on no nothing so it lasted about 4 hours so tool back to my local EB Games and test (well tried to it was DEAD) so they said that no replacement was available so I said ok how long they said next year some time that's BS as I preorder in January and pay in full February (I was keen) so its just BS so really no choice to get a refund so that's what I done and here I am bitching about it :-)

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