The Xbox 360 was as famous for its catastrophic hardware failures as it was its A-tier catalogue of video games. My PlayStation 4 is very close to being remembered in the same way.
Let me ask you a question, and I want you to be 100% honest with me: if you have ever owned a standard PlayStation 4—not a PS4 Pro or PS4 Slim—how long did it last before it started doing terrible things?
Was your PS4 loud? Does it beep at strange times (my God, the beeping)? Maybe it is both loud and hot. Have you ever seen a PS4, in a flight of fancy, simply spit a disc out of its disc drive for no reason. All of those things happened to me over the course of my ownership: first the beeping, then the increasing volume, and finally the exorcism-requiring disc-spitting (and no, before you ask, none of the myriad of tips available were of any help).
I realise this is anecdotal, but pretty much everyone I know who owned a regular PS4 had at least one of the same problems. Google “loud PS4" and you’ll see we’re not just talking about my innermost circle here.
It was so frustrating! This was a good console with good games, but the constant hardware issues were just the biggest pain in the ass, especially since they sat in this deeply irritating place on the “doesn’t matter” vs “get it replaced” scale, like an itch between your shoulder blades that’s bugging you, but you can’t quite reach it.
I’ve spent the last 2-3 years having to play every PS4 game with my headphones on, because the fan noise would get so loud under stress that it would drown out a game’s vocals. It got to the point this year, as I struggled to hear the whispers and footsteps in The Last Of Us II, that it started putting me off playing PS4 games altogether.
If these had been little things, I could have learned to live with them. And if they’d been serious issues that actually stopped me playing games altogether, I would have either paid for a repair or got a new console. But every single one of my PS4's problems lay somewhere between those two decisions. I’ve been trapped in reliability purgatory.
Never in my life have I owned a console like this, and I’m talking about a large (and current!) sample size, since I keep so many of my old machines around the house. Right now, for example, I’ve got a PS2, PS3, Dreamcast and GameCube all plugged into a television, and those are all chugging along just fine.
Other consoles I’ve bought in the last 20 years that haven’t survived, like my first Xbox 360 (RROD) and launch PS3 (can’t remember the specifics) just stopped working, but their deaths were swift and sudden, and most important, took place under warranty.
My launch PS4, on the other hand, feels like its skin has been falling off its rotting bones for years now, and it’s just been the most frustrating thing. I can only hope that those goofy, big-ass fins on the PS5 (and its higher cost) are somehow related to stopping Sony’s newer console from suffering the same fate.
NOTE: I already said up top, but this is just an anecdotal story based on my own 7-year experience. If your PS4-owning years were incident-free, I am very happy for you!