It should go without saying: exercise restraint when reading reports about failing Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s, because nowadays anyone with the ear of a prominent blog and a catchy cliche-phrase like “something-something-of-death” is an army of one. But yes, like Sony, which last week admitted a small percentage of PS4s weren’t fit for duty, Microsoft is itself acknowledging that a small number of users are experiencing glitches with the Xbox One.
With the PS4, the problem seems to be all-consuming, taking afflicted systems down entirely; with the Xbox One, the problem seems restricted to the Blu-ray optical drive, which users say either won’t read discs in afflicted units or makes alarming mechanical noises when you’re feeding a disc to the slot-loader. Anecdotal reports of malfunctioning systems surfaced on message boards shortly after the system went live, prompting Microsoft to issue the following statement:
The issue is affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers. We’re working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible through our advance exchange program. Rest assured, we are taking care of our customers.
Both the PS4 and Xbox One sold about one million units a piece in their initial 24 hours of availability, according to Sony and Microsoft, respectively: record-breaking figures, but impossible to extrapolate from (you can ignore “analysts” or “experts” — and especially “brand management” outfits touting “studies” — that claim otherwise). Software drives hardware sales, and nothing we’ve seen yet, save perhaps Ubisoft’s third-party Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, resonates in must-buy territory; it’s anyone’s guess what Sony and Microsoft are going to be able to deliver, quality-wise, in the critical months to come.