On November 12, 2020, the PlayStation 5 (PS5) will have its launch. Sony’s major console is a direct competitor to the already-released Xbox Series S|X lineups. In fact, when it comes to performance, price, and AAA games, the PS5 and Series X don’t differ much at all. But at least the Xbox Series X works when fresh out of the box, right?
It is exactly what it sounds like. One unfortunate tech reviewer on Twitter, who received an early unit for testing, experienced this recently. Their console, alarmingly, shut off permanently within moments of its first boot up.
The PS5 unit came straight from Sony, and thus brand-new
As of the time of writing, no retailers have released their SKU’s for sale, Sony is the only official source. Therefore, it follows that any units dispatched to reviewers come from a reliable, unparalleled PS5 maker. Simply put, if a unit that comes straight from Sony itself can fail immediately, what does that say about other sources post-launch.
However, we must give Sony a bit of the benefit of the doubt here. Damage to the console is entirely possible. We cannot completely guarantee that any mishandling while shipping or damage while unpacking was incurred. Then again, the bold, premium plastic finish Sony was going for should withstand at least some roughing up.
The system displayed several internal errors, and eventually ceased altogether
In this user’s case, the unit was killed by storage rebuild and full network errors. The former, worryingly, is not uncommon apparently. Several other early-access PlayStation 5 owners experienced the same thing. The other issue that the console showed was a bootup error, that lead to a permanent software failure.
P.1. At this time my PS5 is 100% dead. I was having the storage rebuild issues others reported but mine escalated to full errors and network issues/boot. Sony and I were working through troubleshooting when it died completely. So at this time I will be moving content around…
— ACG (@JeremyPenter) November 10, 2020
To Sony’s credit, they did offer tech support over the call. Despite their team’s, and the user’s, best efforts, however, the console died. Unable to boot back up, the $499 console became as good as a brick. It was then shipped back to Sony, and a functional replacement requested. So, while it is indeed possible a brand new console may fail for no perceivable reason, beware of hoaxes.
Earlier, images of a malfunctioning PS5 at a Best Buy store began circulating. The console, locked inside an almost-airtight plastic case, warned of high thermals. While this incident is completely understandable (the heat exhausts have no proper ventilation), the error gained viral status. Sony had confirmed from the start that in normal ventilation environments, like an open room, the PS’s heat exhausts shouldn’t have issues.
The Xbox Series X might have better thermal management but similar hoaxes of dead Xbox’s also abound
The huge ventilation grille at the top of the Xbox covers a powerful, but near silent, heat exhaust fan. Microsoft’s new console might have a better thermal design, although we cannot prove this yet. In spite of this, a story recently emerged about a user receiving their console early, and it similarly dying. Note that this is the same user who, allegedly, leaked Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay. The most prevalent explanation of this is that they violated an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Thus, Microsoft may have had no choice but to brick their unit.
If the explanations behind these dead-on-arrival next-generation consoles bear belief, then it may just boil down to pointless hoaxes and rumors. After all, the only way to fully tell if the PS5 is going the way of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is to wait and watch. Hopefully, things will be just fine.