Next-Gen Consoles Keep Crashing, But No Single Issue Seems Widespread

Next-Gen Consoles Keep Crashing, But No Single Issue Seems Widespread
Photo: Sony,Photo: Microsoft,Image: Kotaku

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.

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.


  • Welcome to the age of your console being more PC like than console-like.

    Should it happen? No.

    But seriously, some of these people sound like they’ve never used a computer before… Like it’s going to explode and take out their block if they launch the game again.

    Even on the most stable systems crashes can still happen. The most infuriating part of computers in general to me are the crashes that will happen two or three times so you think there might be a problem with a certain game or program, but then it never crashes again despite you changing nothing.

    • well it is more to do with some of those crashes are bricking the unit, and even if it doesnt the fear is there. This is made worse by the fact the units are in such a rare supply and it is comign up to Christmas, so if the worse does happen, you could be without your games unit for months.
      Its 2020 dude, things that normally wouldnt be that terrible are suddenly the worse thing ever.

  • The bigger issue IMO is that Sony’s repair process occasionally fails, and if it fails on the internal storage, welcome to brickland.

    Hard crashes are bad, but if the hardware is okay it can almost always be fixed with a patch, a brick, not so much.

  • All consoles crash at some point, heck my one X crashed a few times only 2 weeks ago.

    Definitely more reports on PS5 crashes, ive actually seen a few crashes on it myself but thankfully both console load up in a few seconds now so it no big deal

  • I’ve had 1 crash on my Ps5 so far, and I THINK that was because i launched a game before I applied an update, because after the update to the game its been fine since.

  • Gonna hazard a guess that the sheer volume of demand may possssssibly have increased their tolerance for reliability in components? Wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of these on the first 1-2 year’s versions of the consoles.

  • So by the time I can buy one these crashes and glitches will hopefully be fixed and missing essential features will be added.

  • I had my first big crash on PS5. I was running Valhalla and I was going into Destiny 2 and was greeted with a black screen, I had to do a forced restart, it has been mostly fine since. I have that terrible feeling when you see the first scratch in your new car.

  • Surely Sony are using some kind of journalling filesystem for PS5 storage? The thing runs BSD so it’s not like there aren’t a million well-tested and reliable ones to choose from.

    I was so shook when the PS4 did this and I was kind of assuming they’d have, oh I don’t know… used a filesystem designed in 21st century to resolve it.

  • I bought a set-up specifically for my ps5.

    Got a cheap 1TB NVME drive (WD Blue SN550 1TB ) that is just enough to saturate the 10gbit/s USB interface the PS5 has (I think its the only console with it).

    I then bought a cheap NVME caddy that also supported 10Gbit/s (which came with a cable).

    I’ve left it on constantly, no issues after 5 days. The transfer speed between internal and external is actually pretty quick at that speed too.

    • I doubt it’s what you mean, but you’re giving me flashbacks to a housemate I once had who left his PS3 on… forever. Not in rest/sleep mode, no power saving enabled… Just on.

      He’d be out, or at work, or gone on holiday for the fucking week, and you could walk past his room and just hear the thing taunting you and/or crying for the sweet release of death. I wasn’t at all surprised that this one day he miraculously chose to turn it off that it never turned back on again.

      I’ll give Sony this though… That launch PS3 endured YEARS of such abuse at the hands of that maniac.

  • Arrived yesterday, set up but I’m experiencing crashes on the menu screen when navigating, screen goes pixilated then black then the menu loads in again.

    I’ve tested one game for about 15m with no crash, so for the moment it’s exclusive to the menu. On hold with PS Support at the moment 🙁

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