There have been some reports surfacing about PS4 units received early suffering from hardware problems. As a matter of fact, several sites have been scrambling to report about every bricked unit they can find.
What many of those sites (conveniently, as it would turn a possibly profitable story into moot fluff) won’t tell you is that there are a whole lot of PS4 units already in the wild. Many more than you would expect a day before launch.
Consoles awarded by the Taco Bell contest have already been shipped and received (a few of the units reporting problems are indeed from that contest), and the fast food chain announced a week ago that the winners were “nearly 4000.”
At the moment we have learned of seven different PS4 units suffering from a variety of hardware problems.
Even not counting all the units sent through other channels, to the press, and already delivered by retailers for one reason or another (one of the owners of a bricked PS4 claims he got it at WalMart for instance), the reported failure ratio is 0.175%, which is minimal.
As a term of comparison, in 2008 the Xbox 360 was reported to have a 16% failure ratio, while the PS3 and the Wii had a 3% failure ratio.
According to Consumer Reports data the average failure ratio of consumer electronic sits at around 15%.
Quite obviously this kind of percentages is related to devices that have been used for a while, and it’s very possible that some users that received a PS4 did not publicly report it (even if in this day and age that’s quite unlikely considering how fast people are to go complain on the internet about every problem, especially gamers), but one thing is for sure: the amount of PS4 reportedly non functional so far is negligible, as SCE Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida himself says:
Be assured we are investigating reported PS4 issues. The number is very small compared to shipped, we believe they are isolated incidents.
Maybe it’d be a good idea to sit back and calm down, as panicking over a 0.175% seems to be just a slight overreaction. Hardware failures happen with all consumer electronics, and while they definitely have to be addressed (that’s why warranties exist), the number of reported cases is way too small to indicate a widespread problem at the moment.
Even if the reports were to raise in numbers (and they doubtlessly will, with millions of consoles to be shipped over the next few months), the road to reach even the remarkably low 3% failure rate of the Ps3 is still very, very long.
Update: Sony provided IGN with an official statement, that provides their own estimate, which obviously is generated by much more complete information than what I have access to. You can read it below in its entirety.
A handful of people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems. This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and are on track for a great launch.
There have been several problems reported, which leads us to believe there isn’t a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of systems. The number of affected systems represents less than .04% of shipped units to date, which is within our expectations for a new product introduction.
Update 2: in a further correction, Sony told Game Informer that the correct percentage is 0.4% and not 0.04% as they previously told IGN (and Game Informer itself). While It’s worse than the 0.2% resulting from my earlier calculations, it’s still definitely a very low percentage compared to the failure rate of any electronic device, and again, the road to the 3% of failure rate of the PS3 is still very long, and hopefully it’ll never be fully traveled.