In case you missed it; the Nintendo Switch was released last week, and amid all the pictures of excited gamers with their wares, the unboxing videos and of course the gameplay footage of Zelda (which is seemingly the only game people bought for the system) there was an undercurrent of people who were less than happy with their purchase.
Reports quickly started to surface that the dock was shoddily designed and was actually damaging the Switch and it’s screen, there are countless videos of random Switch screen malfunctions that render the system unplayable, as well as videos of game cards (not cartridges, because they are not cartridges) not reading correctly or at all, the left joycon not being able to effectively sync and stay synched and finally there are the random Zelda crashes in handheld mode.
It’s not been a great launch (let us not mention the game situation) – but let’s face it, we’ve been here before. If Nintendo were the only ones to release a shoddy first iteration of their console there’d be no need for revisions or “slim” versions, all the manufacturers have done and by God they’ll all do it again!
So here are a few of my favourite console malfunctions/design flaws!
Once again I have started a post that is just too large to be a one-parter! Expect a part two on Tuesday with three more awesomely terrible design malfunctions!
The Red Ring of Death
Perhaps the most common of all the issues in this article; they reckon that somewhere between 23% and 54% of all Xbox 360s would suffer this problem within three years of being manufactured. On top of that, the cause of the problem meant that there were two major issues – the aforementioned RROD and the E74 error (which is actually what I got, I never got the full RROD believe it or not).
The whole situation was caused by cost cutting in an effort to keep consumer cost down and had a range of factors. The most common cause was the wrong type of solder was used; it became brittle if exposed to too much heat, and caused fractures in the system (estimates say 40% of RROD failures were caused by this). Other hardware malfunctions included the disc tray mechanism, video card malfunctions, hard drive freezes and power issues.
Credit to Microsoft though, once they became aware just how big the problem was the set up a RMA program which took they took back faulty consoles, refurbished them and shipped them back to the customer absolutely free of charge (reports suggest that as a program it cost Microsoft a mind-boggling $1.15 billion)! It was an incredible program that, although had a long turn over time (about 4 weeks in the EU), bought the company kudos from the gaming community. What should’ve been a disaster for them turned into an excellent PR opportunity and probably saved both the Xbox brand and the console manufacturer’s reputation.
Of course the issue got resolved with the release of the “slim” model and the Xbox 360 went on to become one of the best-selling consoles of all time!
Playstation laser issues
…I remember going through at least 5 of the bloody things and it was the laser every time.
It was an issue borne from Sony trying to reduce manufacturing costs, on the original models (the SCPH-100x) the laser ran on plastic guide rails that would naturally wear down through use. At first this issue would manifest as skips in the audio, graphical bugs or failed loads and could be fixed with a restart. Eventually though it would lead to complete failure of the unit; games would stop loading as the laser eye couldn’t make it to where the data was stored; the consoles would make a grinding noise and would crash.
As an issue it was as prevalent as the red ring of death.
People are imaginative a soon it become very common knowledge that it was possible to prolong the life of the laser by turning the console on its side or completely upside down – I remember every one of my friends needing to do this trick.
Eventually though it would completely stop working (as the top of the rails would also wear and so it would be returned and refurbished by Sony at a cost of around £100 (I can’t remember exactly the cost). On the original; to my knowledge, they never replaced the rails with metal ones and so the refurbished unit was running on a clock – as I said early, I went through 5. Cost my Dad a fortune in refurb costs.
The issue was solved with the PSOne release – my Dad got one when they were released (for LMA Manager of all things) and it’s still going strong today – and it’s not even upside down!
Did you fall foul of any console malfunctions?
Do you wish that they were a thing of the past?
Tell me in the comments/facebook/twitter!