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PS4 'Blue Light of Death' error reported, but sells 1m in a day

A pulsing blue light in the centre of the console, nicknamed the Blue Light of Death, has reportedly heralded the doom of hundreds of bricked PS4s.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
2 min read

A largely successful first weekend for Sony's new console -- largely positive reviews and 1 million units sold in the US on day one -- was marred by early reports of PlayStation 4s failing.

A pulsing blue light in the centre of the console, nicknamed the Blue Light of Death in tribute to the Xbox 360's infamous 'Red Ring of Death', has reportedly heralded the doom of hundreds of bricked PS4s.

Amazon.com has nearly 600 one-star reviews, all reporting dead consoles, flashing power indicators or a failure to start. Over 1,300 Amazon customers have given the system five stars, however, and we can predict a much higher proportion of those who have a duff box would bother to write a review -- they don't have a console to play, for a start.

Sony's official forum has nearly 800 posts from users on the subject, not all of which are from disappointed fans. A Sony support rep posted a troubleshooting guide with a long list of possible solutions, including making sure the hard drive is correctly installed and reinstalling software.

"We are aware that some people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems in the US," a Sony UK spokesperson said in a statement to CNET. "We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and represent a very small percentage of total units shipped to consumers to date."

As our sister site GameSpot reports, Sony's own expected failure rate of 0.4 per cent would lead to several thousand broken game machines, and with every one of those people certain to moan about it on social media, official forums and fan sites, it's possible any problems are being blown out of proportion. None of the systems used by GameSpot or CNET have seen any problems.

CNET UK did a survey of owners of the last generation of consoles four years ago, which found that 60 per cent of Xbox 360s had suffered the ghastly Red Ring, compared to 16 per cent of PS3s and 6 per cent of Wiis. The 360's crimson error was so common Microsoft was forced to extend warranties on all systems, costing a staggering $1bn.

The Xbox One hits the UK this weekend, with Sony's effort touching down a week later. Have you preordered a PS4? Are you getting nervous, or has this all been blown out of proportion? Strike a light in the comments, or on our 100 per cent uptime Facebook page.