The PS4 was once labeled as having a failure rate of just 0.4%. That was a week ago. One week later and the system now has a failure rate of just under 1%. With more than a million units shipped in North America, that brings the tally of defective units close to 10,000.
The failure rate update comes courtesy of The Washington Post, where Sony representative Dan Race told them that the PS4's failure rate was just under 1% and that the console's hiccups are...
"...within the expected range for a new product introduction." … "There have been several issues reported, which leads us to believe there isn't a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of PS4 units,"
While 1% is still better than the Xbox 360's RROD issue that saw a launch of 3% failure rate right off the bat, it still leaves some gamers to believe that many of the defective units – arriving dead at the homes of Amazon purchasers – is Sony's fault. Additionally, some believe that the system is just built with defective parts, similar to the Xbox 360's RROD issue. However, only a small percentage of individuals out of the million units that have shipped have publicly voiced their problems with the PS4, mostly with disgruntled one-star reviews on Amazon.
Some pundits blamed Sony for not being more thorough with their second and third tier quality assurance testing, similar to what Apple does – which is how they weeded out more than 5 million faulty units they eventually had sent back to Foxconn, as reported by The Consumerist.
While Sony is desperately trying to fix the problem with the PS4s, there's another side to the blame-coin.
There are running rumors of worker sabotage on the assembly line. This has taken on a life of its own but hasn't really reared any reasonable forms of information from official sources. The closest bit of information we've had from Sony regarding the matter was reported by PS4 Daily, where Shuhei Yoshida, Sony's worldwide studio boss, simply said that...
“Be assured we are investigating reported PS4 issues. The number is very small compared to shipped, we believe they are isolated incidents.”
Across majority of the forum threads and aggregators, many gamers have become equally dismissive of any foul play on the assembly lines. It's not hard to see the word “sabotage” and think “tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist!”. But at the same time, a lot of these allegations are fueled from some disturbing instances that have occurred over the past couple of months at the Foxconn plants where the PlayStation 4 is being assembled.
Workers lacing a batch of the thermal paste with trace amounts of lead has been scoffed at, just the same as students “spitting on the motherboard” was labeled as ludicrous.
However, Foxconn has a deal with the local school districts to recruit and use the students on assembly lines, gluing together parts and even running inspection of finished products, as reported by Quartz. Foxconn is now using a referral program, paying schools to solicit their students to become a part of their work force because workers wise to Foxconn's schemes have decided to avoid the company.