Complaints and reports about PlayStation 4 (PS4) defects have quietly but consistently made their rounds on Internet message boards, popular techsites and even Sony’s own website for some time. Now, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Sony Interactive Entertainment, Inc. and Sony Corporation of America alleging the companies intentionally concealed a disc drive manufacturing defect that could affect millions of PS4 consoles.
What’s the Deal?
According to the 25-page, 10-count complaint, the defect causes PlayStation 4 disc drives to eject in an infinite loop, even if no disc is in the console, essentially rendering the drive useless. Filed in California, the lawsuit claims Sony has long been aware of the problem, citing that the company issued a warranty extension in the Netherlands in August 2016 specifically related to the allegedly faulty disc drives.
How About a More Technical Explanation of the Problem?
Instead of utilizing a standard mechanical button, the complaint explains, PS4 users must touch a capacitive button on the front of the console to eject the disc drive. These capacitive buttons rely on electrical currents from the human body to detect when a finger is placed over the button.
PlayStation 4 units house a small circuit board that contains a gold-plated chip placed directly beneath the capacitive disc drive eject button, which is responsible for relaying the command that ejects the contents of the disc drive. What consumers didn’t know, however, is the gold-plated chip allegedly suffers from a defect that causes it to “misread static electricity in the air,” causing it to attempt to eject the disc drive on a continuous loop, even when no disc is present.
Furthermore, i.e. more annoyingly, since the console produces a beeping sound every time the disc drive is ejected, this loop also produces a beep every time an eject takes place.
What Sparked this Lawsuit?
The plaintiff purchased his PlayStation 4—which retailed at the time for roughly $400—some time around September 2014. In early 2015, the complaint explains, his PS4 console began experiencing the disc drive loop problem. According to the plaintiff, Sony repaired his console and promptly returned it to him, but a few months later the disc drive issue manifested again. He once more asked Sony to repair or replace his PS4, but this time the company refused to do so without charging for it, even though they fixed his console for free the previous time.
Who’ll Be Covered by this Suit?
The proposed class covered by the lawsuit includes anyone in the United States that bought a Sony PlayStation 4 and, alternatively, a California-specific subclass.
Ah, OK. Got it. Anything Else?
While no estimates have yet been given as to how widespread the disc drive defect might be, it’s worth noting that to date, 40 million PS4s have been sold worldwide.