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Opinion

PlayStation 4 Fault Reports: What's The Cause?

Sabotage or tiredness?

There is a rumour floating around the internet that Chinese students were forced to manufacture the PlayStation 4 as part of an internship and, due to poor working conditions, they have sabotaged the PlayStation 4 launch, causing the reports of broken PS4s that you’ve seen.

The students were taking an internship at the Foxconn plants and were told if they did not work overtime and night shifts, their diploma would be withheld and they would fail their course.

Foxconn had admitted to the problem in October and released a statement: “Immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies,” the company said. This includes “reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.”

foxconn

The story took a twist on August 28th with a post on the IGN boards, allegedly from one of the students: “Since Foxconn are not treating us well, we will not treat ps4 console well. The ps4 console we assemble can be turned on at best.” The post was from an account created just one day previous and was quickly deleted.

Some have suggested that reports of PlayStation 4s failing – or being broken straight out of the box – may be due to the sabotage by a student. However this is almost certainly not true, as after assembly electronic devices should go through quality assurance checks so any sabotaged PS4s would have surely been discovered at that point.

Electronics firms do not create devices, shove them in a box and ship them – they are always tested. In fact, Foxconn in particular have been in the news for implementing rigorous quality controls.

verified PS4 fitter from the Foxconn Yantai plant, where 98% of PS4s are being made, has been posting on a message board over the weekend and has said the chances of failing inspection are “very low”. He also denied that workers were deliberately sabotaging units by spitting on them.

There does seem to be one very simple reason why some consoles are not up to scratch, “Everyone wants a good machine but the workers are doing every day tired, it is inevitable there will be bad machines,” explained the fitter.

ps4hdmi

When you are making millions of consoles with a tired and overworked production line, shoving them in container ships and transporting them across the globe, somewhere along the way a minority of consoles will fail. There is also the possibility of user error, as Kotaku have recently fixed their “broken” PS4 which was having problems with the HDMI output.

“The good news here is that the problem was small and easily fixed. The slightly bad news is that we’re unable to tell you why this happened. It’s certainly possible that we accidentally knocked that piece of metal upward when we first plugged Sony’s HDMI wire into the PS4. We can’t rule out human error on our end.”

Other issues, such as the “Blinking Blue Light” error which many Amazon reviewers have reported, may be down to incompatible televisions or a loose hard drive. Sony have released a guide to help with this, which you can access here.

It should be noted that many of the negative 1 star Amazon reviews are from trolls, “I did not have any playstation, i just want to prove that anyone can leave a feedback to kill a brand and discourage people from buying it,” explained one helpful reviewer.

However, with over a million consoles shipped in the United States, Sony are reporting that 0.4% of them are having problems. ”A handful of people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems,” they told IGN.

“This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and are on track for a great launch.

“There have been several problems reported, which leads us to believe there isn’t a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of systems. The number of affected systems represents less than 0.4 per cent of shipped units to date, which is within our expectations for a new product introduction.”

The problem for Sony is that since most of the people with defective systems have access to the internet, a relatively small number of failures can be blown out of proportion and become and worldwide epidemic of failing consoles. If social media had existed when the PS1 was launched, I expect we would have had the same headlines, in fact I would put money on next weekend’s headlines including a couple of stories of Xbox Ones failing and how the internet is outraged.

It sucks if you are one of the few who got a dodgy console, but there is absolutely nothing that anyone – including Sony – can do to prevent issues like this at launch.

Actually that is not entirely true, Sony could insist on using on the finest manufacturing techniques, the best quality components and ensuring Foxconn employees have decent working conditions and a good wage, but then your PS4 would cost £1,000, not £350. Even then, they could not guarantee the console would never, ever fail because, well, shit happens.

At the moment there is no firm proof that consoles are failing for any specific reasons but there is proof that Foxconn are overworking their employees yet again. That, perhaps, is more of a story than a small number of consoles failing to play Killzone Shadow Fall.

Source: MCV / Quartz / Kotaku Image sources: iFixIt / TheNextWeb

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40 Comments
  1. Nocure-fd
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    The cause? Gremlins!

    Don’t get your PS4 wet. (And don’t feed it after midnight)

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:11.
  2. 3shirts
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    This does seem to have been overblown as usual but there is an awful lot of negative press about Foxconn, especially a couple of years ago with Apple devices. I wonder if the huge contracts producing large amounts of cash with which they can grease the palm of local government is anything to do with why a proper investigation hasn’t been done!

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:15.
    • boeboe
      Member
      Since: Feb 2013

      Most probably and wouldn’t surprise many.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:46.
  3. Starman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    The factory that installed suicide nets on its buildings having unhappy staff? Not exactly a surprise.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:16.
    • double-o-dave
      Member
      Since: Nov 2008

      Jumping Crocodiles Charlie!!! I thought you were joking ’til I just googled it on the off chance.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:27.
      • Starman
        Member
        Since: Jul 2011

        Must make inductions interesting.

        Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 19:36.
  4. hannes_truce
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    Well said.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:18.
  5. double-o-dave
    Member
    Since: Nov 2008

    After reading this I had to double take as I saw it was written by Tuffcub. That must be the most serious article you’ve ever written. Still a good read tho.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:20.
    • Blair Inglis
      hisnameisblair
      Since: May 2009
      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:29.
      • double-o-dave
        Member
        Since: Nov 2008

        Never saw that but I’ll give it a read when I get a spare 5 mins. Cheers

        Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:32.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      I did tweet some buttocks a few minutes ago, so normal service has been resumed.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:38.
      • double-o-dave
        Member
        Since: Nov 2008

        I’m just wondering whether ‘tweet’ has a double meaning. :)

        Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:44.
      • Tuffcub
        On the naughty step.
        Since: Dec 2008

        Honk honk! Oh there we go, back to normal.

        Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:05.
  6. ron_mcphatty
    Member
    Since: Sep 2008

    The Internet is a blessing and a curse. Share a video of your kids on YouTube and peado’s can gawp at it. Sell a pair off our girlfriends barely used UGG boots on eBay and the bitch of a buyer strong arms their money back and then keeps the boots. Release a console and all 400 unlucky buggers with a faulty one will rant about it, but most of the happy customers will be too busy playing to say so. Chin up Sony, it’s alright, we still love you! And I hate eBay, grrr.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:20.
  7. Liam
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Small quantities of a brand new piece of technology don’t work! Shock horror!! But seriously it’s expected with everything, and with 1 million sales (Not just shipped) in the US, in 24 HOURS, and only a very small percentage of people have problems, means it’s nothing to worry about. Just have to wait now to see if they start bricking themselves in the future, as that’d be an actual problem they would need to take action against

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:21.
  8. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Reddit is ridiculous on this. As usual you don’t hear from the million with a working console, you hear from those that don’t have one. So everyone automatically assumes the PS4 is rubbish.

    Idiots, all of them. I’m glad it’s not as widespread as some have been saying. I just hope mine is working when I get it.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:26.
    • cam the man
      Member
      Since: May 2009

      That’s what you get with social networking, the hundreds of thousands with working consoles are happy playing while the few who haven’t write about it.
      Less than 0.4% fail rate for new tech is excellent.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:46.
    • Broonba
      Member
      Since: Mar 2009

      Aye, exactly mate. I’d bet my right nut on the reports being blown out of proportion. When manufacturing millions of units there are always going to be a small number of failures amongst them. Don’t believe the hype. :P

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:53.
    • StevenPDunne
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      Indeed. That said, I’m expecting a headline any time now along the lines of “100% Of People With A Broken PS4 Say Their PS4 Is Broken.” Possibly in the Mail.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 17:17.
  9. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    I havent got a clue how to do it, but it would be interesting to find out how much an “ethical” console would cost to make. We have Fair Trade coffee, chocolate etc which has a premium price, I wonder if a “Fair Trade”, top quality console would sell.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 15:44.
  10. OnlineAssassinOA
    Member
    Since: Jun 2012

    I’m pretty sure the Xbox One is made by the bang same company in the bang same factory facility,sure I saw/read it somewhere where a few Microsoft fans where digging at Sony with taunts of using slave labour and it was revield that Microsoft are using the same company/factory.Also I wonder how many of these are the idiots who just buy a console to smash it and bad mouth it because there a manic fan of the other companies console,the guys who buy them just to walk out the store to smash them or shoot them or blow em up blend em are mental.

    Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:06.
    • OnlineAssassinOA
      Member
      Since: Jun 2012

      On the plus side ive seen tons of vids on twitch and you tube broadcasters happily using and happy with there consoles even people like AngryJoe who loves Xbox saying he couldn’t wait to stop playing battlefield on pc to get back to playing on his PS4.

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:13.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      Or microwaves the PS4 and then sells it for six grand (google “Microwaved PS4″).

      Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:17.
      • OnlineAssassinOA
        Member
        Since: Jun 2012

        That guys been spending way to much time near those microwaves! He should stick his head in one maybe he has already trying to sell it for thousands as well!!!

        Comment posted on 18/11/2013 at 16:30.

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