PS4 launches in the US: The highs and lows.

Playstation-4-launch

As we in the UK sit patiently, sip tea, eat buttered crumpets and quietly await the launch of Sony’s Playstation 4, our American cousins across the pond are going bat-shit crazy, reveling in the excitement of the PS4’s US launch earlier this morning.

With any new console launch, there comes an assortment of dizzying highs and terrifying lows – and we are happy to announce the PS4 launch is no different. We thought we’d try to capture a few of the big PS4 launch stories and place them in one, easy to digest, article for your consumption. It will also let our UK (and EU) readers get a little flavour of what’s to come when November 29th comes around – and we finally get our tea soaked, buttery fingers on the dual shock 4!

THE HIGHS:

A popular add-on for the PS4.
A popular add-on for the PS4.

The PS4 has seen an unprecedented amount of pre-orders worldwide. Comfortably ahead of Microsoft’s flagship Xbox One in most stores (we spoke to a representative from UK based gaming retailer Grainger Games who confirmed that all but one of their stores had taken far more PS4 pre-orders than Xbox One). Well, in the US today, those pre-orders started turning into sales – over 1 million sales in North America! All consoles available for launch have sold out virtually across the entire nation – with the next batch expected to follow suit. Sony have predicted 3 million sales before the end of the year – at this rate, it’ll only be production time that will slow the sales down! Make no mistake, these consoles are hot property, barely having time to make it to the shelves before flying off them!

Despite some mixed reviews in the press for some titles, the games have been selling very well along with the consoles. Obviously, third party titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV have been attached to nearly every console, but Sony first party titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall and even Knack have been selling relatively well.

Better yet, Sony and Microsoft have suddenly decided to lay down the sniping and ‘keep it classy’. With a number of high profile Microsoft execs taking to twitter to congratulate Sony on the successful PS4 launch. Indeed, even Xbox Live’s own director of programming (and minor celebrity), Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb tweeted:

Congratulations to @PlayStation on their North American launch. cc [Shuhei Yoshida] and [Adam Boyes].”

SCEI President, Shuhei Yoshida responded with a similarly classy, “Thanks, Larry. Your turn next week!” in reference to the Xbox One worldwide launch on November 22nd.

THE LOWS:

KnackBoxart
Not the critics favourite, but still shifting units.

Firstly, the PS4 breakdowns. You may have seen articles relating to this already. Some people have reported consoles crashing straight out of the box, others talking of issues with HDMI connectivity. Sadly, the problematic consoles always grab headlines as disappointment is something to shout about. By contrast, everything working smoothly is rarely pushed to the forefront of the media. Sony have confirmed that some gamers have had issues – and that they are investigating the problems.

A Sony representative in the US had this to say regarding the worrisome reports of broken consoles:

A handful of people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems. This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and are on track for a great launch.

There have been several problems reported, which leads us to believe there isn’t a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of systems. The number of affected systems represents less than .4% [0.4%] of shipped units to date, which is within our expectations for a new product introduction.”

Now, I’m no mathematician (well ok, I am – but only for 1/5 of my average working day), but it seems the key number to take from this is that it is only affecting 0.4% of consoles – or 1 in every 250 consoles sold. Which isn’t actually that bad at all for a new console… Unless, of course, you are one of the unlucky 0.4%.

More worrying is the fact that the ridiculously high demand of owners trying to download the firmware 1.50 update for their new console has crashed Playstation Network (PSN). This is also to be expected, but understandably frustrating for new owners.

There are a number of work-arounds for those desperate for the firmware update (aside from patience). You can download the patch from Playstation.com onto a USB stick, then transfer to the console. Alternatively, you can request a Blu-Ray copy from Sony (though, as many sites have reported, the disc would probably arrive after the network errors have been resolved).

Microsoft will be taking notes and hoping to avoid as many of these issues as possible (though if they needed to learn the lesson of launching a more reliable console, they need only have looked back at the Xbox 360 – which was possibly the least reliable launch console to this date)!

The Playstation 4 will be released in the UK on November 29th.

Fancy winning a PS4 with Call of Duty Ghosts? Click here to enter the Music Magpie competition, in association with Twinstick Gaming.

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