Feature Friday: Is It Real?
Looking into the defective next-gen consoles.
Patches, launches, and sorting through the “defective console” noise.
Read time: 9 minutes
Here are small and developing stories you should keep your eye on.
PS5 Launch: yesterday marked the official launch of the PS5, and millions of gamers around the world got a chance to enjoy the next-generation of gaming first hand. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the only people allowed to pick-up consoles in-store were those who had already pre-ordered. People who couldn’t secure a pre-order or wanted to wait for launch day had to order their consoles online, and multiple stores including Target, GameStop, and Best Buy had a limited stock available online. Understandably, each company’s online store experienced some issues due to the sheer load of customers, and many people were faced with the awful situation of having the PS5 in their cart, but being unable to checkout. And for those of us that want to wait it out, we may have to wait a little longer before any more PS5s are made available. Sony has already made clear that they are working hard to ship more PS5s to various parts of the globe, but it’s likely we won’t see another giant shipment until closer to December or even Christmas time. But it is worth noting that Sony has been shipping its consoles via air freight instead of ship barges, so there is a possibility that more consoles come in as expected or even sooner. But for the rest of you that got a console, congrats! I’m really excited for you.
Vahalla patch: for those of you that have had a chance to play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, you may have seen an off-putting character description that discriminated against people with disabilities. If you have seen it, know that you aren’t the only one. Hundreds of players have pointed out a distasteful character description provided by the Assassin’s Creed team, and it’s led the team to announce its wrongdoing and fix the issue in an upcoming patch. In the tweet, the official Assassin’s Creed account said: “We apologize for unintentionally reinforcing ableism through this language. We will remove this language in an upcoming update.” If you’re curious about what the description was, you can check it out here, but one thing is clear — discussing facial differences or disabilities in that manner is unacceptable. Along with defining the person due to their disability, the description can also normalize that way of talking for gamers, and it’s good that the issue was addressed and will be fixed.
Classy Move by Microsoft: one thing that I love about the Xbox team is just how clever and witty their social media team is. They’ve had the perfect response to every controversy thrown their way, and they understand the pulse of their audience and how to respond to that. They’ve showcased their intelligence once more, as the team sent a congratulatory tweet to Sony and the PS5 for its official launch. It’s fun to see the company put aside petty grievances and understand the true purpose of what they do — entertain gamers. Although these next few years will certainly be contentious, especially with the news that many Bethesda titles will be exclusives, it’s great to see the Xbox team recognize the moment and allow Sony to shine in the spotlight. Big kudos to y’all.
So, is it real?
As with any console launch, there are bound to be some issues with launch units.
We first saw it with the Xbox 360 and the red ring of death, which led to numerous recalls and millions of dollars in revenue lost by Microsoft. Although the company recovered, it was an expensive mistake to make.
Then came the Joy-Con drift with the Nintendo Switch. Although Nintendo didn’t experience a massive recall as Microsoft did, the company still faced some backlash they still experience today. To my knowledge, not much has been done by Nintendo to rectify the problem, and many people still deal with the frustration that is Joy-Con drift.
It’s a risk people take when buying a launch unit, and it’s also why many people hold off on buying a launch unit.
Launch units are the worst version of the console a consumer can own. Although these consoles are thoroughly tested, they’re bound to encounter some problems over the course of ownership, especially if it’s experiencing tremendous volume. And not everyone does a great job storing their console, which could also lead to unintended issues.
It looks like this next-generation isn’t immune from these issues, as multiple owners have expressed frustration on the new Xbox Series X and PS5. Various tweets and reports have shown some strange things happening to their brand new consoles, leading to concern from the community.
Some videos have shown the Xbox Series X making strange sounds and even smoking, while other reports have said that the PS5 has mysteriously died or overheated.
I, for one, have always approached these reports with a grain of salt, and my first emotion when I see them is frustration.
For years, consumers have faked problems to get attention, buying credit, or even a new console from companies, with some going out of their way to create a problem that wasn’t real.
It’s unbelievable the lengths people go through, and it’s why I take time to do the research and understand what I’m seeing.
Today, and I wanted to share some of that research with y’all, and help you sift through what’s real and what’s fake. I can’t sort through all the issues (as there are a lot being reported), but I will sort through the major ones.
Let’s get rolling.
This has been getting the most attention, and understandably so.
Seeing a console smoking is a huge red flag, especially when early reports have said that the Xbox Series X can run hot (which has been debunked).
But let me be the first to say this…
This is NOT a real problem.
Multiple outlets including IGN, GameSpot, and even the Xbox team have shown that this problem can be easily replicated by using vapor smoke.
Since the Xbox Series X brings in air from the bottom and releases it from the top, it’s very easy to blow vape smoke at the console and have the smoke released. If it’s a lot of smoke, this effect can persist for well over 10 seconds, causing the effect you see in the video.
If you look at the five-second video, you can see the smoke slowly dissipating right at the end. It’s a poor attempt to garner attention and maybe even get a new console out of it, and I’m glad to see the issue is not taken seriously by a majority of gamers.
And if you were curious, here’s what the Xbox team has to say about the “problem:”
Another concerning issue being shown is the weird noises the Xbox Series X makes when turning it on.
Various videos (including the one tagged) show the Xbox Series X making strange clicking sounds. Although there have been claims about this video being fake, the owner showed another video with a much clearer picture, and the Xbox Series X still making clicking sounds.
Sadly, I do think this is real.
There have numerous videos tied to this issue, which is directly related to the disc drive. Another issue even showed an owner not being able to insert a disc at all, despite no disc being in the console.
This problem, while I wish was fake, is very real. If you’re having problems, the best course of action is to send the console back to the Microsoft team and let them rectify the situation.
Jeremy Penter, also known as ACG, shared the news that his PS5 died.
He mentioned that the PS5’s problems elevated to “full errors and network issues/boots” before completing shutting off. As of this moment, Penter has still been unable to turn on the console, and he’s issued an apology and a refund to his Patreon fans.
This is definitely true, but take it with a grain of salt.
It seemed that the PS5 provided to Penter was a test unit and not a final retail version. Although this is not confirmed, and Penter’s tweets came a day before the release of the PS5.
Frankly, I would be a little bit worried about the timing of his tweet, as there would be no way Penter would have a test unit of the PS5 this close to launch. We’ll have to wait and see, but let’s hope this is just an isolated issue.
A consumer shared a photo of a PS5 overheating while displayed at a local Best Buy.
Because the next generation of consoles is so powerful, this stoked the flames of worry and concern regarding the PS5 cooling abilities.
This is true, sort of.
The PS5 displayed definitely overheated, but it’s only because of the laughably bad storage the local Best Buy had the PS5 unit in.
Look y’all, if you want to store your PS5 this way, that’s totally fine! You do what’s best for you. But don’t be surprised if the console quickly overheats.
Despite all the innovations installed into these consoles, they still need to breathe. Make sure you’re storing your next-gen console in a well-ventilated area, or your PS5 will end up having the same result as the console above.
Relish this moment
I just wanted to take a moment to enjoy what’s happening around us.
With the launches of the PS5 and Xbox Series X nearly complete (other parts of the globe will get their consoles next week), we are fully immersed in the next-generation. And if I’m being honest, there’s a big part of me that believes this will be the last time we see this type of console launch.
We are nearing the end of the console era.
Over the last few years, all signs have pointed to a new type of gaming for console gamers.
Instead of renting games, we can opt for a subscription.
Instead of bringing our console with us, we can just play through the cloud (and some stellar wifi connection).
Instead of buying used physical copies, we can just buy games online and take advantage of the various discounts available.
Although much of these changes are welcomed and will certainly improve the quality of life for gamers, it’s still something I miss.
I still remember when I was 10 or 11, biking to my friend’s place and borrowing his copy of Grand Theft Auto III (every kid I knew wasn’t listening to the M rating). I let him borrow another game in return (I think it was Super Smash Bros Melee?), and we actually held on to those games for months.
Half of it was because we enjoyed the games, but the other half is because we forgot.
It’s a weird memory to think about, but it’s also a fun one. Being able to head over to a friend’s place and borrow a game is something I loved doing. With COVID-19, that doesn’t happen anymore, but I don’t see that really happening as much in this next-generation and beyond.
I’ll certainly miss this current version of console gaming, even if the next generation excites me beyond belief.