After a holiday that saw a boatload of PS4 games come my way, the worst result possible occurred – my PS4 bit the dust. I initially refused to believe it could not be salvaged, but it became clear that is was time. Here’s what happened.
My PS4 was one of the original batch, purchased in early December 2013. I actually got it with Just Dance 2013 in a bundle and returned the game for a gift card to wait until something I wanted was available (which I think was Dragon Age: Inquisition). In the meantime I still had quite a few PS3 games to finish off.
I originally began playing the PS4 with it sitting on a table with the TV, completely exposed. Eventually I moved and it then rested inside the TV stand, connected through wiring out of the back.
The console mostly worked in the early days. Not many hiccups, no real problems to speak of. Eventually, I started to get weird things, like it would shut off, or occasionally I would reset it and the screen would just be a cacophony of color.
However, it always ended up working by just resetting or coming back to it later. I never thought much about it.
The problem started getting worse when I started playing The Witness last year. I would turn the console on but it would not output audio or video. This would only occur occasionally and a reset would fix it, but it happened more often than before.
Enter last month – I installed Final Fantasy XV and Doom (both large installs). I turned off the PS4. The next time I tried to turn it on, all I would get was a flashing blue light down the middle. No video, no audio.
A simple reset wasn’t doing the trick. The thing just refused to turn on. Further, I couldn’t boot into “Safe Mode” as holding down the power button would simply turn the system off.
I consulted Google and found that many others experienced the “blue ring of death.” Then followed the various troubleshooting fixes.
First, I tried to swap the power cable and the HDMI cable. Nothing. Tried different TV. No dice. Tried swapping out to a new hard drive. Still nothing.
Interestingly, it would work on occasion. Whereas before I could get it to work most times, and maybe needed to reset once, now it took 8-10 tries to get it to boot normally. Why would it boot normally, play games as normal, and have full video and audio despite failing to do so every other time?
To make it even stranger, the tip that seemed to have the most success was to physically press down with a fist in the middle of the PS4 while it launched. The failure to boot had nearly drove me mad, so I tried this trick and immediately backed up all my saves and also deactivated it as my main PS4.
The press down trick started to fail, and I couldn’t get it to boot even once. Here I was, surrounded by new fun PS4 titles but no PS4. The most frustrating thing was why? Sony has made a guide online, but I tried everything with no success.
I contacted Sony support via live chat to see what they could do. I still had the electronic receipt as well as the box. Support asked me to try a different power outlet (which I had done, but I obliged anyway). No luck. Support person asked that I send in the unit for replacement. I asked how much. They said at least $100. Out-of-warranty apparently.
I was very frustrated but at a crossroads – pay $100 and go through the hassle of shipping the broken PS4 with an issue that made no sense, forsake Sony and give up console gaming, or get a new system.
Getting a new system just felt wrong – the console had sat in the same place, doing the same thing, for so long. Why break down now? And why do so in such a strange manner? Was it a hardware issue? Surely not software?
Ultimately I looked up new PS4’s. Luckily with the advent of the PS4 Pro, the smaller PS4 Slim was now at a discount (and I had gift cards from the holidays). Further, the Uncharted 4 bundle was at an all time low with the holiday sale. I decided that was my option – give in and get it while it was at its lowest, and get UC4 as a bonus anyways. It hurt because I had been saving to get the Switch when it comes out, but then I felt my new PS4 purchases would also have been wasted.
The whole process made me feel for those that get faulty products. A one year warranty on a $400+ piece of equipment seems too little, but there are arguments on both sides about that. I was surprised that Sony was unwilling to help at all with getting it serviced, requiring a minimum fee plus shipping costs.
Sony knew about the issue, and was issuing new units, but only for those that (I’m assuming) had played enough on the system to burn through whatever triggered the problem. May be I am crying entitlement here, but I feel like Sony should at least try to make nice and do more than ask more money to replace a product that appears to have a known defect, despite its trigger a year and half later.
Either way, I now have the PS4 Slim, which, design-wise, I already enjoy more. That could be because the start button and light are now very small, and thus not as stark as the dreaded blue flashing light that had haunted my dreams. It is remarkably slimmer, which is always nice, and came with an extra controller, which also appears to have some minor changes as well.
All in all, it was not the best experience I have had as a customer. I have had every Sony system so far, and I guess I’m sticking with the PS4. All I’m saying is, may be they should show a little more love like Microsoft did with the red ring of death and the 360 (of which I was also a victim). You’ve got the lead and great system Sony, make sure to keep it up.
Have you had any problems with the PS4? Did you get it fixed? Any stories dealing with customer support or warranties? Comment below!