There’s nothing more frustrating than spending half a grand on a video game console and having it start failing within the first week, but that’s the exact problem facing several early PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X adopters. Since the next-gen machines arrived last week, social media has been inundated with anecdotes of them crashing under various circumstances. While unsurprising for console launches, this still has users worried about the future of their expensive electronics.
“I’ve experienced 2 hard crashes where the console cuts to a black screen before quickly turning off,” one Reddit user wrote on launch day, detailing their experience trying to get the PS5 running again after various repair processes.
“I was about four matches into [Call of Duty] multiplayer when my [Xbox Series X] freezes, audio starts clipping, and then the box shuts down,” another Reddit user wrote last Thursday. “It turned back on fine but I don’t have the courage to boot up Cold War again.”
“I’ve been playing the PS5 for the past 7-8 hours and I just experienced my first console crash,” a Twitter post from last Friday reads. “It gave me the error where I was asked to repair the external storage and I received a black screen, forcing me to manually reboot the system.”
“[Quick Resume] works 50% of the time,” a Resetera user shared yesterday. “Is there no way to know what games I currently have open in Quick Resume and which ones aren’t? I’ve tried Quick Resume a few times and it totally crashed the console.”
No two stories are exactly the same, but there are several common denominators depending on the console. Many of the crashes on PS5 (but not all) are preceded by playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, downloading data to an external hard drive, and/or putting the console into rest mode while a game is running, whereas most of the XSX crashes seem to revolve around using Quick Resume and playing Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It appears to be a more prominent issue on PS5, but any number of outside factors could be contributing to this perception.
Apparently the first screen was so confusing that even my PS5 couldn’t handle it. Shut down twice, rebuilding the storage each time. Just going to wipe the whole game from my drive for now. pic.twitter.com/I0pJSlgOlw
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) November 16, 2020
Kotaku has contacted Sony and Microsoft for more information about what might be causing these issues.
During my own testing period before the official launch, the PS5 provided to me by Sony crashed twice during the same Miles Morales mission, but I assumed it was some sort of conflict with my ageing external hard drive since the problem cleared up after it was detached. Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo and Giant Bomb editor-in-chief Jeff Gerstmann have also experienced similar issues while downloading Call of Duty and utilising rest mode, respectively.
Much like its predecessor, the PS5 will automatically repair both its internal and external drives after any sort of unintended shutdown to ensure that no data has been irreparably damaged. It’s scary, but not always an indicator that something is seriously wrong with the console. We’re still unsure if these crashes are hardware- or software-based, but the various circumstances under which they occur on both PS5 and XSX indicate that it might be a problem with the consoles themselves rather than any external factors.
Thankfully, none of these crashes seem to have inflicted any long-term damage to the affected consoles. My own PS5 is still performing quite well, although I am making sure to not leave my external hard drive attached to the system for long periods of time. That’s not to say it isn’t a worrying experience, but it comes with the territory. Early adopters traditionally act as a second wave of beta testers for every console launch, and it’s sure to be some time before these new platforms are entirely problem-free. Let’s just hope the crashes aren’t a sign of something more serious.