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Despite Sony's big launch success of the PS4, the news was slightly marred with a dark cloud hovering over the system's launch due to many vocal complaints about the new generation console arriving at doorsteps dead right out of the box, as evidenced by verified Amazon buyers. The issues with the console, however, have purportedly been traced back to problems on the assembly line.
Over the weekend many sites have begun reporting on the alleged scandal involving Foxconn employees potentially involved in an act of sabotage of PlayStation 4 units coming out of Foxconn's Yantai Fuji plant in China. Well, one of the workers involved with technical inspections and fitting of PlayStation 4 units at the Yantai Foxconn plant, went to a popular forum to answer questions regarding some of the things happening at the plant.
Forgive my lack of proper translation of Mandarin, Kanji and whichever other linguistics are used in China, but the handle that many of the users refer to the inspector/fitter comes out as the “Landlord”. He also made it know that “I'm just a fitter, not a quality assurance”. He posted to a Tieba.Baidu.com forum, just as it was mentioned by the user in our previous report about the Foxconn scandal, where he stated that many Foxconn workers (especially interns) post to the Tieba.Baidu forum.
Proving that he is who he says he is, the “Landlord” posted the following ID tag, so you know he's legit:
He also snapped an image of the Foxconn workers heading into the factory, just so you know that he does work there.
Of course, the users on the forum are pretty sharp and keep up to date with all the latest happenings in the gaming community. Many of them – given the opportunity to ask him what was going on at the Yantai Foxconn plant – decided to ask many of the obvious questions involving the rumors about Foxconn and the employees getting revenge by sabotaging PS4 units.
Before answering the questions, though, the “Landlord” first mentions that when he was being “allocated” to the plant that he was so scared that he was afraid to use the bathroom and then goes on to say what he does at the plant...
“More than a month ago the plant after allocation of the time, I was scared [to] urine ... [working with the] PS4 output cable assembly...
I don't think the last line needs much of an explanation but we get the gist that he checks to make sure that the PS4 units get a picture on the monitor and that they're capable of reading discs.
Given that the "Landlord" made it known that he inspects and checks PS4 units coming off the assembly line, one user blatantly asked how many of the PS4 units fail to pass inspection. According to the “Landlord” there are only “a few” and the chances of failing inspection are “very low”. His diplomatic response feeds into Sony's own claim that allegedly, the PS4 has a failure rate of only 0.4%.
However, as noted in our recent article about the thermal paste potentially being laced with small traces of lead – a substance banned form being used in electronic component manufacturing – it was expressed that the lead contamination would likely pass through the “shotgun tests” unnoticed. And given the admission of the "Landlord" that he's not quality assurance, but just a fitter who ensures that the PS4 units can turn on and read discs, it's not unlikely that any unit with these small traces of lead may have slipped through the cracks of inspection.
Some users did note that if the thermal paste in some PS4 units were subjected to chemical testing it could determine if any trace amounts of lead were indeed used to contaminate the thermal grease. However, the users on the Tieba forum didn't push further on this point and the “Landlord” didn't exposit anymore about the failure rate of PlayStation 4 units.
Another user asked about the amount of PS3 units being produced by the Yantai plant, but the “Landlord” claimed he didn't know.
He did reveal, however, that working 12 hour shifts plus overtime netted him about 3,000 yuan a month, which is approximately $500 U.S., dollars a month.
According to the “Landlord”, around 98% of PlayStation 4 units being produced by Foxconn are made at the Yantai plant.
This next part may be lost in translation, but many of the students and users referred to Foxconn in a derogatory manner, labeling it as “The Pits”. According to the “Landlord”, no matter which region you come from, you cannot afford to get injured or hurt. He doesn't elaborate any further, but it's inferred that work is life and life is work, and you can't afford not to have a job... even if it's at Foxconn.
One user gets around to asking about the alleged incident of assembly line workers spitting onto the motherboards of the PlayStation 4 and whether or not he knows if this is occurring. The “Landlord” solemnly answers “No...”
There were jokes about the working conditions at Foxconn; users repeatedly brought up how it was “The Pits” working there, but that the interns and students weren't to blame for some of what Foxconn produces. The sentiment of empathy toward the interns and employees prompted the following response from one user, who affectionately wrote...
“Thank you for understanding everyone wants a good machine but the workers are doing every day tired, it is inevitable there will be bad machines”
The response, was, in a way, an admission that not all the employees at Foxconn are suicidal, maintaining the gumption for mass protests, prone for burning down the plant or attempting to sabotage a highly awaited video game console. Some of them just want to keep their heads low and get through the day, no matter how “sleep deprived” they claim to be.
This prompted some of the users to discuss how student interns work the full hours of normal plant employees but at half the wages for an entire month. Some of these “interns” are between the ages of 14 and 16 at times, even though they are legally required to be 18 years of age or older to work at the plants, as reported by Bloomberg.
Funnily enough, the biggest concerns from most users were whether or not the Yantai plant would be producing the PS4 units arriving in Hong Kong. I guess they didn't want the defective units with saliva on the motherboard, eh?
While this information doesn't bring us anything exceptionally new regarding the faulty PS4 units, it does at least bring us slightly closer to potentially finding out what's really going on at the Foxconn plants, assuming there is anything going on, other than sleep-deprived, tired workers struggling to maintain their worth at Foxconn.