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Thursday, November 14, 2013

SONY's PS4 Pre-Launch Review - The $400 Paperweight

The anticipation of the PS4 has been squelched by the folks at SONY themselves.

In the recent "Taco Bell Play The Future" PS4 promotion, we were one of the lucky winners.  Our PS4 arrived to us 11/13/13 around 10:30am.  How wonderful... or so we thought.  After 30 minutes on our own, reading the instruction manual and triple checking connections, we discovered the PS4 didn't seem to want to work.  There was no picture, no sound.  Jerry, my patient husband, decided to call tech support.  After an hour and a half of rebooting, reconnecting, trying safe mode, etc.. nothing worked.  We gave our name, phone number and address.  We never got a "ticket" or reference number.  Instead, we were advised to take the PS4 to a local GameStop and try to see if it was our television.

We drove to GameStop and tried it there.  I was quite nervous at having something so valuable that's not even officially released yet in my car and having to carry inside.  So, with no other option we went ahead and tried.  No luck.  The GameStop employees even used a couple of different HDMI cables.  Their TV was unable to get a picture or sound as well.  Back home we went and called tech support again.

We started out explaining to the new tech support rep, the first phone call and what we'd tried already and how we ventured out with our pre-release PS4 to GameStop for help.  We had to give our name, address and phone number again since there was apparently NO reference of our previous call.  The second tech support representative had us go through the entire process again.  After another 40 minutes, we ended the call with a semi-resolution: They would send out a FEDEX box for us to return the PS4 for repairs/servicing.  He quoted it could take 3-4 days to receive this empty box and once mailed back to them and received, it could take another 5-10 days for us to get the PS4 back.  Not happy but at least it's something, right?

A couple of hours later, our phone rings and a manager from SONY, named "D.G." calls to tell us a FEDEX box will be sent to us, overnight.  He verified our address, name, email address and phone number and gave us an order number to reference.  He indicated that we should receive an email as well with the details and that we would receive a replacement PS4 vs a repaired PS4.  We ended the call in better spirits and a glimmer of hope.

This morning, we woke to check the email inbox and discovered there was no email from SONY as promised.  Jerry decided to call them, yet again, and find out what exactly was going on.  The rep, Sharon, pulled up our information and found no trace of our history of calls.  Instead, she found Jerry's old P.O. Box address that was associated with his PS3.  You would think, after 3 phone calls, one of them being an incoming call from a manager who verified all of our details - that this information would have been updated.  He gave her the order number and she proceeded to enlist the aid of a supervisor to assist her in finding out "where our request is".  Minutes later, she returned and said she found us in their system.  Cause for the errors: "We're updating our computer systems to prepare for the launch of the PS4" Umm.. ok, sure.  We've now been informed our overnight box should be here by tomorrow.  She also said she would send us a new email to verify all of the details and it would be in our inbox within an hour.  So, we wait again.  Two hours later and still no email.

Throughout all of these phone calls - we were told over and over that no one else has had any problems with the pre-release of the PS4.  We were also asked with each phone call, "Would you like to purchase the extended warranty?" ... To which, I answered the same each time, "How about we work on getting a working PS4 first before we talk about an extended warranty please?"

This is not the case as we've discovered through researching online.

* "IGN reports having the same problem, but the problem did not begin until updating the PS4 to the necessary 1.50 system update. IGN used different HDMI cables, inputs, a different TV, inserting a disc, connecting to the internet, and resetting the console. None of this fixed the problem, and a Sony PlayStation representative visited and replaced IGN's broken PS4.

Kotaku also had problems with a pre-release PS4. The first retail unit provided to Kotaku had a faulty HDMI jack that they could not fully plug an HDMI cable into, making the PS4 unable to send a signal to the TV. After trying different cables and monitors with no success, it was apparent the problem was with the PS4. Kotaku reports the other four units they have tested work fine."

At this point in time, I fear that when we return the PS4 we may never receive a replacement... that, or the lucky person who now owns Jerry's old P.O. Box will get a nice surprise instead!

I love my PS3.  I would love the chance at using a PS4 - but I'm worried now that will never happen if the folks at SONY can't get their stuff together!

Thank you President of Sony Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, for ensuring us that the broken PS4's are all "just isolated incidents".  I can tell already by seeing the numbers increasing - this will not be as "isolated" as you might think.

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