The launch of any console is an exciting time as next generation hardware is generally pushing the boundaries of current technology and is designed to keep consoles relevant for years, if not a decade. Because of the way consoles are designed, typically most of the components are custom, which means there is a lot of room for components to fail, if not properly tested.
The Xbox 360 is likely the most relevant case of new hardware failing as the infamous Red Ring of Death (RROD) was such a pervasive issue, Microsoft took a massive-chargeback to fix the issue. While Microsoft was able to overcome their initial launch woes, it looks like Sony may be about to face similar issues with its newly released PS4.
The current issues seems to be related to the HDMI port, where users are reporting that the screen is flickering, or in severe cases, the console will not turn on and only shows a blue light of death or BLOD for those who like nice acronyms.
It is hard to gauge how widespread the issue is, as we all know the Internet tends to blow things out of proportion to their actual impact. But, a search on Twitter, using the hashtag #PS4broken, pulls up quite a few users who are reporting their console is DOA.
If you check out the reviews of the console on Amazon, it also appears that many users there also are facing issues with their new device.
It’s a tough issue for Sony as negative press at launch, especially before the crucial holiday shopping season, can be devastating to a product. While they will likely work quickly to fix the issues with those units out in consumers hands, admitting the first batch has a fault may have put off a lot of shoppers this year.
Sony has stated that they believed the PS4 incidents mentioned above are isolated. But the complaints about the console have persisted and it appears to be more widespread than Sony may be leading consumers to believe. We have heard of users whose consoles are working fine, so it's certainly not every console, but the problem is likely limited to a single run or manufacturer and we would hedge that Sony is diligently trying to track down the specific location.
Microsoft will be launching its console next week and you can bet that many will be watching closely to see if their console is plagued by any issues like the Xbox360 experienced at its launch.