My PS4 Just Arrived And I’m So Freakin’ Excited — Oh, Wait, It’s Broken… What Now?

It's no fun to play with a brick.

It’s no fun to play with a brick.

All those months of waiting like a kid on Christmas, expecting a shiny new, preordered PS4 to show up on your doorstep, ready to play. But for some of our readers, those hopes were essentially dashed on Friday when the PS4 did show up — but it was dead on arrival. We’ve heard from a few of you stuck with these $400 pieces of plastic, and it sounds like you could be in for a frustrating wait.

Friend of Consumerist Sean was just such a customer who couldn’t wait to pull that baby from its packaging, only to have absolutely nothing happen.

“After hooking everything up, sitting down with an excited gleam in the eye and pressing the on button, I’m met with a flickering TV screen,” Sean writes of his experience. “You can tell the TV is trying it’s hardest, but just can’t get a signal. Every so often, some white lines flicker across the screen, while the soothing music from what I can only guess is the PS4 set up screen sings from the speakers, taunting me.”

From what he’s noted so far with other customer complaints, he figures many of the issues, including his own, seem to stem from a broken HDMI port, but he’s inspected his and can’t see what the problem would be with it.

Like a good consumer, he called Playstation support and was pleased to find that despite the center’s hours ending at 10 p.m. Pacific, someone was still on the line at 11:30 to speak with him.

Despite the rep he spoke to doing his best — running through certain troubleshooting routines, uninstalling and reinstalling the hard drive and more things that seemed “a bit much to ask Joe Consumer to do for a product that’s supposed to be no-hassle compared to a computer,” all was for naught.

Finally, it seemed the PS4 would need to go in for service — a process that would take three to four weeks by Sean’s calculations, including the time for the return box, repair time and weekends. He writes that he was extra ticked because the PlayStation headquarters is only a 25-minute drive from his home in San Francisco.

Sony suggested he also contact the retailer where he bought it from, but Amazon only offered him a return label to exchange the PS4 for a full refund. While he was tempted to show up at PlayStation’s door with his busted console, Sean instead opted to look to the Internet for a solution.

“Apparently there’s a third option that they didn’t tell me about on the phone; I only learned about this via Reddit,” he writes. “Sony retail stores apparently have a supply of replacement systems and will swap out broken ones no questions asked. They didn’t even hook it up to confirm it wasn’t working. No idea why PlayStation support wouldn’t tell me that…”

Sean recommends, and we agree, that you call ahead to your local Sony store to make sure are some in stock before you show up with your broken device. It’s also a good idea to ask the store where you purchased it from if they’re holding an replacement units, but there’s no guarantee they’ll have any.

Another Consumerist reader, Ryan, also had a DOA PS4. He stuck on the phone for an hour with a customer service rep who eventually told him a prepaid return box would be sent out to him, and to expect an email within 24 hours regarding his service request.

Guess what? It’s been more than 24 hours and Ryan hasn’t heard anything. He tried calling the customer support line and isn’t having any luck there, either. Although he’ll snag the No. 1 spot in the queue, a recording tells him all agents are busy and then he gets disconnected.

“At this point I have no information as to my service request. Sony’s site does not offer an email address to send for support,” he writes. “I will try to call again in the afternoon to see if I can talk to a live person. I am holding off returning it to Gamestop because I do want to have a PS4 and all stores are sold out currently.”

We shared Sean’s tip with Ryan in the hopes that he’ll be able to find a store with a replacement unit. In the meantime, we’ve reached out to Sony to see what the company is doing to remedy what appears to be a bit of a PS4 brick situation.

Meanwhile, Sony posted this troubleshooting guide for PS4 owners experiencing a flashing blue light on their consoles and the inability to power the device on. Again, it’s a lot of steps for something that’s supposed to be easy to use.

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  1. wsuschmitt says:

    Count me as one of the people that has a working PS4. I’m not rubbing it in, but we’re only hearing about failures in the news and not about the PS4s that ARE working.

    I plugged mine in, went through the setup process, updated my system firmware (it was downloading in the background and I only had 20 MB left to download), and started playing Knack. Not so tough to do on a Friday night…

    • Raekwon says:

      Mine are also working great (I bought 4) as are all the ones my friends have. I replaced the drive immediately and got all the updates in. The fans are a little loud but I haven’t seen any issues. Loving the system so far despite not having too many new games yet.

    • BenythTX says:

      Mine is working great also. The Kid and I had a great weekend playing Knack and Skylanders Swap Force. Well, until his best friend came over on Saturday to spend the night and I was relegated to the Bedroom TV (damn kids!) I was finally able to play the more adult Black Flag after The Kid went to bed last night.

      There were some minor connection issues on Friday, but those cleared up over the weekend.

    • illusio26 says:

      Mine is working fine too. Setup was a breeze.

  2. dsmith says:

    I didn’t even know Sony had its own branded retail outlets. Learn something new every day.

  3. thor7777 says:

    I have a DOA console which has the same issue, blue light of death. Contacted Amazon and the CSR let me know that there’s a special process in place for returns of DOA PS4’s. Basically, Amazon is aware of the defects and are in contact with Sony. Amazon will ship a replacement to me once they receive new units from Sony. The CSR says I should be receiving a replacement order notice in several working days.