The release of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this month has provided us with more drama than we could ever have imagined.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 12 of the biggest controversies that accompanied these new machines into the world.
Dead consoles, grinding disc drives, broken games, unwelcome microtransactions, sabotaged production lines, and bizarre gaming streams. You’ll find it all and more below.
PlayStation 4′s ‘Blue Light of Death’
You take launch day off and sit home waiting for UPS to deliver your brand new PlayStation 4. Finally, you get the chance to boot it up and … you get a blinking blue light. That’s it.
Rumors of this fault, nicknamed the “Blue Light of Death,” started trickling in before release, but the floodgates really opened once the PS4 hit stores on Nov. 15. Reports of the problem filled Amazon’s reviews board, gaming forums, and YouTube.
Above: There are currently 868 1-star reviews on Amazon, mostly reporting units being D.O.A.
Image Credit: Amazon
Sony was quick to respond, posting a detailed troubleshooting guide on its community forum. It suggested that console owners check their power cables, HDMI ports, and hard drives for damage or anomalies. It also recommended using the console’s safe mode to troubleshoot software issues.
The Blue Light of Death has since been attributed, at least in part, to damage caused during transit. A Sony spokesman told Bloomberg: “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. We also understand that some units were reportedly damaged during shipping.”
The malfunction rate of the console is less than 1 percent, but that hasn’t made the problem any easier for those affected.
If you’re having this problem, the best bet is to work through the troubleshooting guide and then arrange for a replacement if it doesn’t help.
Sony is offering replacement units with expedited shipping to customers that call their support line: 1-800-345-SONY. Amazon is also replacing faulty units, and this time around, it’s apparently using better packaging.
Xbox One Blu-Ray drives going nuts
Some sounds offer comfort, like birdsong or the gentle swell of the ocean. The grinding noise coming from some Xbox One consoles on launch day was anything but reassuring.
YouTube videos appeared within hours of release, revealing the noise coming from the Xbox One’s Blu-Ray drive. Some discs wouldn’t go in fully, and some couldn’t be read. Either way, it meant trouble.
Microsoft’s initial response came in the form of a blanket statement: “The issue is affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers. We’re working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible through our advance exchange program. Rest assured, we are taking care of our customers.”
And take care of them the company did, offering affected owners a free digital download of either Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, or Zoo Tycoon.
Not all gamers are patient enough to wait for a replacement unit, though, and a low-tech alternative fix is now in circulation. It involves ejecting the disc, turning your console upside down, and repeatedly whacking it on the site of the Blu-Ray drive.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft does not recommend this fix, instead suggesting that affected owners get in touch with Xbox support at support.xbox.com.
Attempting to fix a $500 console with punches is obviously something you do at your own risk, but the method is seen in action in the video below.
Kinect swearing bans
Above: Xbox Live will throw bad grammar at you if you’re naughty.
Image Credit: Twitter/@getB3NT
Kinect is the Xbox One’s all-seeing eye. Turns out it’s listening, too. Especially if you’re saying rude words.
Xbox One gamers started posting reports of bans on the Xbox support forum last week, which seemed to be triggered by the use of profanities, either in the Skype app or in videos created and uploaded from the console via Upload Studio. They were unable to access either Skype or Upload Studio, instead receiving the following, confusingly written, message: “Choose something else to play. Because of your past behavior, you can’t [access this service.] Xbox Live Gold is required to use Skype for Xbox One.”
Bad grammar aside, this was a worrying development. Reddit user MakVolci claimed their Skype ban was nearly instantaneous, saying: “Woah, this just happened to me. Was typing to my buddy on Skype, typed a few words of profanity talking about movies, and when I jumped back to Xbox One, it said I was banned from it.”
Microsoft has since responded to the issue, saying in a statement to Polygon that “the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls.”
“Also, we take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously,” the statement continued. “We want a clean, safe, and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live. We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure, and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members.”
So while Skype is reportedly not being monitored, Upload Studio certainly is, and Microsoft is not afraid to ban users it feels are stepping out of line.