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It’d be more worrying if PS4 and Xbox One didn't have hardware failure

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After months—arguably years—of buildup and anticipation, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are finally in the hands of gamers everywhere; the next generation of console gaming has arrived, so it’s time for pessimism and doom-saying.

…at least, that’s what the entire industry seems to be on about. The most powerful and promising consoles in history have debuted with a laundry list of games in tow, yet hordes of gamers are whiling away their time in the fetal position, all muttering the same prophecy—“hardware failure.”

This is truly a shocking and unprecedented turn of events: Sony and Microsoft’s newest gaming machines have not made the living-room jump without a hitch. In striking contrast to the absolutely flawless releases of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the Internet is rife with reports of faulty hardware. I already pine for the bygone days of now-previous-generation consoles and their atmospheric red and yellow lighting, their convenient firmware subscriptions, and especially their petit and lovably sized resolution.

Xbox Lamp

"Xbox: Set the mood."

I’m going to cut this here, lest I exhaust my supply of sarcasm.  

As you’re most likely aware, both next-gen contenders have come under a veritable hailstorm of returns and troubleshooting. From the PS4’s disc ejection and HDMI output issues to XOne’s stubborn power brick and disc drive, all is not right in the land of next-gen. What’s strange, though, is the disproportionate reaction—and derivatively, news coverage—that these incidents have sown.

The fact of the matter is that these allegedly “rampant” system malfunctions are nothing new, nor are they, by any stretch of the imagination, the worst consoles have seen. Sony has officially reported a 0.4 percent failure rate for PS4 systems, which amounts to 4,000 faulty units from the one million sold upon release. Microsoft has yet to release such a figure, but judging by Xbox One’s comparable consumer feedback, their failure rate is likely below one percent as well.

PS4 Query

And why, oh why, must every hardware issue's description end in "of death"?

Though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the weeks’ headlines, hardware failure is still an isolated incident. And no amount of 10-second YouTube clips filmed through wax paper or grainy close-ups of power lights is going to change that. In fact, the only real change in today’s situation is how responsive MS and Sony have been.

Rather than approach the situation “with all due haste,” they’ve actually fixed the damn things this time around. Firmware updates are constantly coming down the pipes to both repair and optimize features, and exchanges are readily available for the truly broken. What's more, we're already seeing open troubleshoot forums and responses with detailed solutions to specific problems. Kudos.

So ditch the worry and join the next-gen population already. Destroy your hard drive space with awesome games, alienate your friends with overly frequent footage sharing—do something next-gen-y. But most importantly, if you are among the few who’ve received a dud system, buy a lottery ticket; you’ve got some serious karma to cash in. 

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Austin Wood
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