Sony: "Red Line Of Death" Affects Less Than 1% of PS4s

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Sony: "Red Line Of Death" Affects Less Than 1% of PS4s

PS4 unboxed

When every man and his dog is uploading their "first PS4 impressions," to YouTube, you're bound to get a couple of lemons.

As fans finally got their hands on the very first PlayStation 4s, some were disappointed to find units dead-on-arrival, or, suffering from a hardware-killing error after an intermittent time of play. Dubbed the "red line of death," as a reference to the Xbox 360's famous "red ring of death," it was certainly a worrying start to the new console generation.

However, Sony has now come out and said that these kind of issues are affecting a much smaller number of consoles than the YouTube videos would have you believe. Spokesperson Dan Race said that the number of units affected overall is fewer than 1 percent of all consoles sold and added those issues are "within the expected range for a new product introduction." He added that some of the units may have been damaged during the shipping process.

As for a potential fix, and whether you should be worried about your own console: "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," said Race.

"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," assured Race. Sony has since released a troubleshooting guide to help users who are having issues with their console.

Source: The Washington Post

Permalink

If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

EDIT: I understand the failure rate is low considering the circumstances, apologies on saying it was unacceptable, that was too strong of a word, my bad. As for the "why only consoles" thing, bad wording, sorry bout that.

On the one hand, I think Microsoft made similar claims during the red ring of death epidemic, which unfortunately makes Sony's claims today a little dubious. Is actually reminds me a little of one of Jim Sterling's recent videos, where he was discussing the general secrecy of the game industry. The fact that there really isn't an overseeing, independent third-party that can report conclusively on such matters, or even general transparency, and that any 'big picture' comes from the very source that would have the most to gain by downplaying the severity, is a double edged knife. On the one hand, a dishonest company could use it to twist numbers in their favor. But on the other, if a company is attempting to make a genuine and honest statement that simply seems overly positive (and from an electronic standpoint, less than 1% is pretty outstanding) then they are quite rightly subjected to extreme skepticism, for the very reason I mentioned earlier.

Of course, there is a valid point to be made when discussing the comparison of the Internet's general mood with the experiences of the wider audience. Less than 1% would be, presumably up to 9000 people or so. The number seems relatively small, but if even half of them take their displeasure to the Internet (and given these are launch date purchasers, one can generally expect that their displeasure would be greater than your average customer, given they either pre-ordered, stood outside during midnight launch, maybe even both, leaving them more likely to take their frustration to the Internet than the average purchaser) that's 4500 people. Stick 4500 angry people on the Internet, and that's going to look like a massive crowd.

Generally speaking, if conclusions were drawn based solely on the examination of the community's most vocal members, I would have assumed that the gaming population's majority consisted of sociopathic rapist/killers every time their fav game doesn't feature the right gunfire rate.

Are there a lot of upset people? Absolutely, and they are right to be upset. But if this was affecting even 10% of consoles, let alone an even more outrageous number, I really think there would be waaaaay more upset people posting complaints than there are now.

Still, there are two things I am curious about. First, the percentage of other errors. From fixable ones such as that whole HDMI thing, to dislodged hard drives, so on and so forth, to what I imagine it would be other unfixable problems that aren't necessarily red line of death. If people are fixing issues themselves, we would probably be unable to acquire a reasonably accurate estimate of the overall percentage of malfunctioning units. But a percentage of units that weren't self-repaired, be it because they couldn't be, or those who purchased of them didn't bother, would be enlightening. If nothing else, I suspect that the number of fixable defects is considerably higher, which might explain why Sony has declined to mention the figures. Although the bright side is they are, as mentioned, fixable.

Second, I am concerned as to whether these initial hiccups might later manifest in a more long-term problem. That's the risk on launch day of course, and I've specifically avoided purchasing it on launch for that very reason, but are these consoles expected to sail smoothly after the initial storm has passed? Or are even those currently functioning going to end up with problems later down the road? I'm sure more than a few independent tech sites and groups are tearing consoles apart to get an idea if there's a deeper hardware issue, so hopefully such concerns will either be laid to rest, or confirmed before long.

TizzytheTormentor:
I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

I would think it's because the tech becomes more advanced and delicate, but the units still get made on an assembly line.

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

10,000 out of a million unacceptable? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH

*gasp of air*

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHH

*gasp*

BWHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH

*gasp*

HA

Ok, now that's out of the way: Defects happen. Breaks happen. Sometimes stuff comes DOA. Nothing you can do about it. Less than a 1% failure rate is ASTONISHING. I suggest you look up some electronic failure rates if you think a 1% failure rate is "unacceptable" because I don't know what you'll say when you see products that have like a 7% failure rate within the first few months of use.

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

A 1% failure rate is actually a very low failure rate and frankly I don't think you (edit: not you personally, I mean no-one could) can do any better. PS3 had a 3% failure rate as did the Nintendo Wii.
Someone else wrote this up far better than I could:
http://www.gamespot.com/forums/playstation-discussion-1000002/ps3-failure-rate-time-to-panic-26933520/

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

Everybody (even companies) make mistakes. 10,000 units out of 1 million is unacceptable? Yikes.

If every console works without bricking, cool. But if anything, Sony should be judged on how fast and well they respond to those bricked consoles and not how its failure rate is above 0%.

If it´s true that it´s 1% and that number doesn´t climb dramatically, then i would say it was pretty acceptable. It sucks, but it really isn´t unusual for hardware to have a higher failure rate than 1%. And it defineately doesn´t make it comparable to RRod where we were talking a 33%+ faillure rate, a number beyond acceptable and something that we will probably never see repeated.

Steven Bogos:
As fans finally got their hands on the very first PlayStation 4s, some were disappointed to find units dead-on-arrival, or, suffering from a hardware-killing error after an intermittent time of play. Dubbed the "red line of death," as a reference to the Xbox 360's famous "red ring of death," it was certainly a worrying start to the new console generation.

That's not a worrying start. That's a woeful start.

And I'd expect more esteemed elements of the gaming press to be organising some kind of research to find out the real figure (a kind of consumer interest census), since Sony haven't actually disclosed the actual percentage.

However, Sony has now come out and said that these kind of issues are effecting a much smaller number of consoles than the YouTube videos would have you believe. Spokesperson Dan Race said that the number of units affected overall is fewer than 1 percent of all consoles sold and added those issues are "within the expected range for a new product introduction." He added that some of the units may have been damaged during the shipping process.

That's bollocks, and that's provably bollocks.

For a start, Dan Race isn't using meaningful facts to assure customers of the actual elements of what is going wrong.

He's not revealed the exact percentage - which is something the company could do to assure potential customers - who can remember the last generations red ring of death and yellow light of doom failures - they won't be spending several hundred of their hard earns on a paperweight.

Additionally, the figure of "less than 1%" is deceptive when dealing with large number; less than 0.1% of a large number can be massive. Just do the math yourselves. If I'm testing 1,000,000 for a disease and the test I'm using is "less than 1%" inaccurate - say 0.5%, how many people get a misdiagnosis? 5000 people.

That's 5000 people either thinking they've a disease they don't or thinking they don't when they do have a disease. You can now understand why in medicine if you even proposed using a test with a less than 0.1% misdiagnosis rate you'd be laughed out of the room.

Now, *if* 1 million people have bought a PS4 at launch in North America (a number that's being reported but I've not seen independently verified), and *if* Sony aren't lying about the failure rate (I don't trust that company with openly presenting hard facts that make themselves look bad ever since the recordbreaking dataloss that happened on their watch) that 5000 people figure is the median number screwed over from launch sales alone in one region. Technically the number could be 9999 failures based on launch sales alone and nothing described by Sony would be an outright lie.

Because 0.999% and 0.001% are also "less than 1%" it could well be higher or lower. I can imagine if it was on the lower side they would have taken pains to disclose how low it actually was and offer an impressive customer returns policy to turn it into a PR coup too ("PS4 not working on launch? Full refund. No questions asked. We absolutely stand behind the PS4, and intend to make every customer feel buying one was one of the best choices of their lives.").

Of course, that's assuming they are utterly confident that a few weeks or months down the line they don't have a rising tide of Red Line of Death happening. And as I mentioned, I don't trust that company, because of how they've acted in the past when they had the chance to do the right thing and just didn't.

As for a potential fix, and whether you should be worried about your own console: "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," said Race.

"We aren't revealing at this time jack shit. Because this lack of communication is now becoming normal in the games industry. Also: pokerface."

"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," assured Race. Sony has since released a troubleshooting guide to help users who are having issues with their console.

There's a huge void between understanding what is frustrating consumers and actually remedying it. Sony for a long time had utter confidence in the products. The non answers to how widespread the problem is (or problems are) and what they are prepared to do to fix it makes this readily apparent.

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

Sad to say, Tizzy, I'm going to have to side with the other posters here and say 10k out of 1000k is pretty damned impressive. Especially when you factor in rumors that Foxconn's disgruntled workforce "supposedly" tampered or neglected some parts of the PS4 manufacturing processes. Besides, no one is going to get something 100% perfect - which is especially true considering what you deal with in electronics.

I imagine that Sony would be more than tolerant in replacing defective consoles, considering the milestone they've hit. By all accounts that I've come across, from friends I can visit personally to those I converse with online, the PS4 is a wonderful little machine. Mine is quite nice, and I must add Killzone does look quite good. Now it's just a matter of finding the time to play it, or convince my brother to come down and give it a whirl.

1% in a brand new product? Completely acceptable. Especially since everyone wants:
A) a brand new console
B) it to be able to deliver top of the line graphics
C) as cheap as possible

The only way to do this is by cutting corners at every turn. And even then Sony is losing money over each PS4 they sell.
The only important thing here is how Sony will handle these breakdowns. But in my eyes they are doing a bang up job so far. Let's see how much good they make on their promises before we lynch them.

Elamdri:
snip

CrazyCapnMorgan:
snip

mysecondlife:
snip

RicoADF:
snip

Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

TizzytheTormentor:
Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

As far as I know, the most common reason for a electronic device (such as a computer or console) being DOA is abuse during shipping. It gets tested before it leaves the factory, but then embarks on a fun-filled1 trip across the globe, passing through multiple countries and potentially hundreds of human hands. Unfortunately, some people are going to get a console that was dropped on someone's foot.

1Not at all fun.

I seriously hope that this statistic is accurate. I hope Sony isn't talking out of their ass on this one.

Also I'm sorry, Red Line of Death isn't as catchy as Red Ring of Death.

How come the only article about these issues on the Escapist is one echoing Sony's partial statements on the matter?

TizzytheTormentor:

Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

I've had an N64, the Xbox...1? and a PS2 slim both come out the box DOA in the past, its a normal thing for new consoles or even new Technology that are mass produced sadly. Could probably find a Sub to equal 1% rate for most new TVs, Tablets or smart phones. I KNOW I've personally seen a DOA iPad. I think gamers are just more sensitive to it after the great RRoD disaster that was the 360 (54% btw).

We will have to wait and see if it gets higher than the normal failure for new tech. Which try as i might i cant for the life of me average % but if anyone knows feel free to make me look stupid. If my grammar has not already done that for me ofc.

erttheking:
I seriously hope that this statistic is accurate. I hope Sony isn't talking out of their ass on this one.

Also I'm sorry, Red Line of Death isn't as catchy as Red Ring of Death.

I thought it was Blue Light of Death. Or wait, is that another issue?

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this?

Why do you think it's anything to do with consoles? The expected failure rate for any electronic devices is generally said to be around 5%. That's just the nature of the beast - when a single connection coming slightly loose can ruin a device that's being shipped halfway around the world, some of it is inevitably going to end up broken. As a particularly complex bit of electronics, modern consoles might be expected to be significantly worse than many things, but at least so far the PS4 is looking well above average. It will certainly get a bit worse, since it's the 6 month or year failure rate that is usually looked at, but the vast majority of things like bent sockets and damaged connections will occur on day one rather than being spread out. It's only if there's a fundamental design or manufacturing problem that the failure rate would be expected to increase significantly. So the failures so far are about as far from unacceptable as its possible to get and nothing to do with the this being a console. It will, however, be interesting to see if any issues start to crop up related to overheating, given the small box with an internal power supply.

Kahani:

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this?

Why do you think it's anything to do with consoles? The expected failure rate for any electronic devices is generally said to be around 5%. That's just the nature of the beast - when a single connection coming slightly loose can ruin a device that's being shipped halfway around the world, some of it is inevitably going to end up broken. As a particularly complex bit of electronics, modern consoles might be expected to be significantly worse than many things, but at least so far the PS4 is looking well above average. It will certainly get a bit worse, since it's the 6 month or year failure rate that is usually looked at, but the vast majority of things like bent sockets and damaged connections will occur on day one rather than being spread out. It's only if there's a fundamental design or manufacturing problem that the failure rate would be expected to increase significantly. So the failures so far are about as far from unacceptable as its possible to get and nothing to do with the this being a console. It will, however, be interesting to see if any issues start to crop up related to overheating, given the small box with an internal power supply.

I already put in an edit saying that unacceptable was too strong a word.

That's reasonable for a new console, if slightly annoying for the customers with a dead one. I really wish people would stop predicting the doom of a console based on rumors or slight hiccups though.
I don't even like the PS4 simply because I'm supposed to hate it as an Xbawks player, but it should be judged on its terrible exclusives and lackluster online capabilities rather than hearsay and 1(well maybe 10k) in a million accidents.

Hell, the blue screen of death effects plenty more than 1% of PC's.

On another note, for any PS4 owners. Is the online good now? Like does it have features similar to Xbox Live's party chat and things? That was the main thing keeping me from switching to PS3 this gen. Or is it last gen now...

TizzytheTormentor:
I already put in an edit saying that unacceptable was too strong a word.

You didn't, however, say anything at all about your complaint that this is a problem with consoles in particular, which is the point I was actually addressing.

As someone who's PS4 bricked within 30 minutes, I can tell you that it really fucking sucks. A lot.

I can also tell you that I got a new one from the retailer with absolutely zero trouble the next morning and was the Sony representative I talked to to reset my primary console was understanding and helpful. I've also heard that Sony is shipping out replacements as soon as a person reports the problem, not after receiving the defective product.

Was I upset at the time? Yes. Am I upset now? No. Nor do I feel that a less than 1% failure rate is bad. Every product has issues. Cars, electronics, computers, and other things.

Sure, it could be worse, but I see no reason to suspect as much. With over a million sold, even 10,000 is barely even a drop in the bucket.

TizzytheTormentor:

Elamdri:
snip

CrazyCapnMorgan:
snip

mysecondlife:
snip

RicoADF:
snip

Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

Not a problem, mate! To err is human, to forgive is to get internet cookies.

CrazyCapnMorgan:

TizzytheTormentor:

Elamdri:
snip

CrazyCapnMorgan:
snip

mysecondlife:
snip

RicoADF:
snip

Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

Not a problem, mate! To err is human, to forgive is to get internet cookies.

Gonna need those cookies considering all the quotes giving me a good lashing for my stupid post...

Kahani:

TizzytheTormentor:
I already put in an edit saying that unacceptable was too strong a word.

You didn't, however, say anything at all about your complaint that this is a problem with consoles in particular, which is the point I was actually addressing.

Yeah, my post was more just me running my mouth (er, keyboard) I know every electronics device has a failure rate, I'm mostly reminded of the 360's abysmal failure rate...

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

Hardly unacceptable. Yeah, it sucks for the people it happens to, but less than 1% is a very small number. If a million sell and 10,000 are busted, that's still 990,000 people playing and enjoying their PS4's.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see your edit.

Lets see what that number looks like in 6 months. Though so far, this looks pretty promising.

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

Yes, it is. In fact, 10.000 bricked consoles is very low amount.
Why do modern consoels do it? maybe because manufacturing technology is not magic? You do know that ALL consumer electronics have failures and most of them are larger (industry average around 10%, 5% is "very good manufacturing".

EclipsiumRasa:

Additionally, the figure of "less than 1%" is deceptive when dealing with large number; less than 0.1% of a large number can be massive. Just do the math yourselves. If I'm testing 1,000,000 for a disease and the test I'm using is "less than 1%" inaccurate - say 0.5%, how many people get a misdiagnosis? 5000 people.

That's 5000 people either thinking they've a disease they don't or thinking they don't when they do have a disease. You can now understand why in medicine if you even proposed using a test with a less than 0.1% misdiagnosis rate you'd be laughed out of the room.

Clearly you do not know how medical testing works then because msidiagnosis does happen and there are plenty of tests with higher misdiagnosis tests. thats why doctors arent changed by drug prescribing doctors - human element eliminates at least some of the misdiagnosis.

Because 0.999% and 0.001% are also "less than 1%" it could well be higher or lower. I can imagine if it was on the lower side they would have taken pains to disclose how low it actually was and offer an impressive customer returns policy to turn it into a PR coup too ("PS4 not working on launch? Full refund. No questions asked. We absolutely stand behind the PS4, and intend to make every customer feel buying one was one of the best choices of their lives.").

Last number they gave was 0.4%, which fits in <1%. Also Sony is replacing broken consoles, in fact i heard they ship them before they even get yours back.

Strazdas:

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

I don't get it, why do modern consoles do this? I understand being damaged while shipping, but that can't be the only reason.

Yes, it is. In fact, 10.000 bricked consoles is very low amount.
Why do modern consoels do it? maybe because manufacturing technology is not magic? You do know that ALL consumer electronics have failures and most of them are larger (industry average around 10%, 5% is "very good manufacturing"

Do I need to make my edit even bigger? I have been quoted on my mistake enough times already.

TizzytheTormentor:
Unacceptable was a bit strong on my part, it is quite impressive that the failure rate is low, but its still strange to see a console literally brick itself right out of the box.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

You're good my dude, mistakes happen. Product developers typically project defects to be around 4%, so given the circumstances, this is actually quite good.

erttheking:
Also I'm sorry, Red Line of Death isn't as catchy as Red Ring of Death.

Sounds like an exotic form of cocaine.

OT: This is why I never buy a console at launch. Waaaaay too many issues to deal with.

TizzytheTormentor:
If a million units are sold (with more selling) that is about 10'000 bricked PS4's, which is unacceptable.

Have you told this to modern consumer electronics? Acceptable failure rate is around 3%.

This seems to be a weird place to ask about modern consoles doing something. I mean, yes, they break a lot. They seem to break more than that standard (If the 54% failure survey for the 360 is to be believed, even the Wii had double that). But asking what's up with consoles over this? Ehhhh....It's just a strange line in the sand.

The problem here is they're probably in damage control. Like when they tried to pretend the DRE didn't exist, or when Microsoft was trying to downplay the RROD.

Elamdri:
Less than a 1% failure rate is ASTONISHING.

And in fairness to Tizzy, we're not talking overall failure rate. We're talking a specific issue.

Oh, and it's not astonishing. Better than normal, yes. Astonishing? Not even close.

If they specified something like a 0.0001% failure rate, now THAT would be astonishing.

More to the point:

Atmos Duality:
Lets see what that number looks like in 6 months. Though so far, this looks pretty promising.

EclipsiumRasa:

Additionally, the figure of "less than 1%" is deceptive when dealing with large number; less than 0.1% of a large number can be massive. Just do the math yourselves. If I'm testing 1,000,000 for a disease and the test I'm using is "less than 1%" inaccurate - say 0.5%, how many people get a misdiagnosis? 5000 people.

One of the more common HIV tests gives a false positive 20% of the time. While pregnancy tests all claim to be at least 99% accurate, they're usually not (even when used properly) in independent tests. Most birth control has a higher failure rate, too, but we still prescribe it.

Apparently, the entire medical field is quite deceptive.

Th37thTrump3t:
Sounds like an exotic form of cocaine.

I was thinking an STI, but....

OT: This is why I never buy a console at launch. Waaaaay too many issues to deal with.

This is why you'd think fewer people would line up at launch.

Especially after RROD.

TizzytheTormentor:

Do I need to make my edit even bigger? I have been quoted on my mistake enough times already.

Might I suggest skywriting?

Zachary Amaranth:

TizzytheTormentor:

Do I need to make my edit even bigger? I have been quoted on my mistake enough times already.

Might I suggest skywriting?

I made it bigger, how the heck am I supposed to make it more noticeable, I have people still quoting me long after putting the edit in...even you!

Does it lack that much presence...its in big blue writing!

If they sold a million units already, 1% of which are red-lined, that's 10,000 units, give or take. That's an awful lot of faulties. I appreciate manufacturing defects, design flaws, launch issues, bad batches and other things that "just happen", but that's a very high failure rate for precision micro-electronics.

TizzytheTormentor:
even you!

In my defense, I predominantly addressed your second statement, which was about why consoles pull this sort of thing.

I'd also note that I loaded the page almost an hour ago, so if you made the edit bigger, I didn't have time to see it. I did see the edit, but it was largely inconsequential to what I wrote. I felt pointing out a standard acceptable failure rate was still germane to the conversation.

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