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Hardware failures bedevil PS4 launch

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(Credit: Sony)

While the launch of the PlayStation 4 has been an inarguable success, Sony hasn't had a lot of time to pop open the champagne. Instead, the company has found itself on the defensive as the Internet has been filled with tales of PS4 hardware failures.

Sony points out that fewer than than one percent of the units sold are defective - but when that works out to as many as 10,000 consoles, it's still a PR nightmare.

The 1 percent figure is a slight upward revision from the initial estimate of 0.4 percent - but still within Sony's "expected range". The company says it does not believe there is a singular problem with the PS4. They hope to alleviate fears of a systemic breakdown such as Microsoft faced with the Xbox 360's infamous "Red Ring of Death".

"There have been several issues reported, which leads us to believe there isn't a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of PS4 units," the company said in a statement. "We also understand that some units were reportedly damaged during shipping. The number of affected PS4 systems is less than 1 percent, which represents a very small percentage of total units shipped to date and is within the expected range for a new product introduction. We understand the frustration of consumers that have had a problem and are working with them and our retail partners to help troubleshoot issues and ensure affected units are exchanged."

That consumer frustration is spilling out in inconvenient - and very public - places, though. On Amazon's PS4 hardware page, 757 of the 3,111 reviews - roughly 25 percent - give the system just one star, with many of those users complaining of hardware issues, including the so-called "blue light of death". (Once any hardware issue acquires a nickname, it becomes a PR crisis.)

That particular problem occurs when users try to boot up the system. Some PS4 units never make it to the home screen, leaving users staring at a blinking blue line atop the box.

Sony has provided a detailed troubleshooting guide for those facing the issue, but users say it's not a 100 percent effective solution.

For those who are unable to fix the problem via those steps, Sony says it's working to replace the faulty systems. Thankfully, despite the sellouts, the company says it has a "good supply" of PS4 hardware waiting in the wings.

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