Prior to the launch of the PS4, there had been rumblings of a certain… acronym. During various press events, observant individuals noted that the cool blue indicator bar of the PS4 had turned a blinking red during heavy use, suspecting that this was an omen of failure – a Red Line of Death, as some started calling it (much to the amusement of Microsoft, I’m sure.).
Since multitudes of these things have gotten in the hands of eager early adopters, these incidents have increased, and buyers are going online to discuss its meaning, with more than a few spurious rumours accompanying the discussion.
Proving that technical writers responsible for generating user documentation have the most thankless jobs, the PS4 User Manual clearly states that the line is an indication that the PS4 is overheating, and serves as a motherly warning that maybe you’ve been playing these “Nintendos” far too long, honey. Why don’t you go outside in the sun for a bit, call up your friends, maybe catch a movie? I just worry about you, is all.
No, more concerning is the “Pulsing Blue Light of Death”. A growing number of reports of actual hardware failures on the PS4 are emerging, as documented by Kotaku, IGN, and Reddit users who managed to get their systems early. Many of the problems seem linked to the HDMI port, which results in the faint blue glow of the indicator bar but nothing appearing on the TV.
Users trying to log into PSN have encountered a range of error codes and general connectivity issues. Sony has expressed the usual placations, stating that the non-functioning PS4’s are “within expectations”, that a minority of users are encountering problems, and they’re dealing with the unprecedented demand being placed on the PSN network.
Interestingly, EA laid the entire fault at Sony’s feet, blaming it on the firmware update 1.50 that’s required for download. They’ve since taken down the page from their help site, but not before Polygon captured it for all posterity.
It might be too early to call in the guard, but alarm bells are certainly ringing. The PS4 may have a rough road ahead of it.
UPDATE: The latest rumour is that the PS4’s main hardware problems may be the result of industrial sabotage. According to a post that originally appeared on IGN, students who had been employed by Foxconn (under extremely dubious circumstances) may have deliberately sabotaged the PS4 as a means of protest. Several actions taken by students – all unverified, I must point out – have been described, such as spitting on the hardware and dropping the units. While I can only find reference to the quoted text of the post, the screenshot appears to have come from the forums of a site called Baidu, which according to Wikipedia is a “Chinese Web Servicing Company”.
Machine-translated via Google Translate – so forgive the Engrish – the post reads: “One such high-end products, this is Sony and Microsoft unite against Apple key step, but unfortunately a small Japanese handed it to Foxconn, Foxconn brought them over to our group of interns North believe that it is wrong, this time it really wrong, Foxconn did not treat us as human beings, we do not see it as a high-end product, in addition to cope or deal with, these products can reboot is our highest expectations, ha ha, etc. ps4 9 月 9 officially listed, it is the Sony losses and the closure of Foxconn day! ! Common pray!”
Digging a little further, I managed to find the supposed user that posted the original message. He’s listed the Xi’an Technological University North Institute in his profile, which is where the batch of students working for Foxconn was drawn. I’m hesitant to assume anything from this since I can’t find the original post, but it seems like it may truly have existed at one point, which doesn’t bode well for PS4 fans.