Game Console Report

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U Issues

Synopsis:

Released in late 2012, the Wii U got a head start on its next-gen console competitors the Sony PlayStation 4 and Xbox One by nearly an entire calendar year. This early entry into the market allowed Nintendo to attempt to establish a strong base of users and siphon off gaming customers who were considering a next-gen platform and didn't want to wait for the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, with sales figures for the PlayStation 4 already creeping up and close to surpassing the Wii U, Nintendo's ability to take over the market will likely have to wait until the next generation of consoles is released.

One potential reason for the perceived issues with the Wii U from a marketplace standpoint is Nintendo's role in the eyes of many gaming customers. The Wii U is positioned as a console that is more family oriented in its core product offering, and its relatively strict restriction (compared to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4) on third-party games means that the ecosystem of titles on the console is much more limited in scope than their direct competitors. Furthermore, although the Wii U did become the first console in Nintendo's history to offer high-definition graphics, the specs under the hood don't compare to the current offering that Microsoft and Sony can boast.

All that being said, Nintendo's premier titles (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong etc.) and attractive price point makes it a worthwhile option for a wide variety of individuals. The console does have its issues however—let's explore them below.

The Problems:

Freezing - Reports of the Wii U freezing have been common since its launch in 2012, and while it appears Nintendo has addressed some of these issues over the course of the last year, there remains a segment of users who are having difficulties with their console freezing on them while in the course of using the system. Issues with devices freezing is not a brand new problem in the field of electronics, but the depth of queries on Fixya with this issue makes it one of the more concerning issues for Nintendo and their ability to compete directly with Sony and Microsoft's consoles.

  • Download any patches and updates for your Wii U by booting up your system, going into your system settings, and choosing the option to update your system.
  • One of the associated issues with a console freezing is that the Wii U has become "bricked" (i.e. unable to be used anymore). After your device freezes, wait a few minutes before restarting it. If the console does not boot up properly after waiting a few minutes before restarting, immediately contact Nintendo customer service as your console may need to be replaced.
  • Reset your Nintendo Wii U by turning off the console for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Make sure your Wii U is not overheating in any way. In order to reduce, put your system in a more open area with proper ventilation, place a fan next to the system in order to reduce heat, and ensure that the internal fan is running properly. If your console is overheating, make sure to let it rest for at least two hours before trying to boot it up again.
  • Contact Nintendo customer service.

Gamepad - The Wii U Gamepad used to play games and control any movement on your television screen can sometimes encounter some confusing and frustrating issues that inhibit proper use of the device. There are a wide variety of issues with the Wii U gamepad that vary from simple fixes to requiring replacement. A few examples of typical gamepad issues are: not being able to be calibrated properly, losing connection when playing a game, the sensor not picking up your movements or a lagging sensor when taking it through movements, and a Gamepad microphone not recognizing voice commands.

For users having Wii U Gamepad problems, run through the following steps:

  • When calibrating your Gamepad ensure that is located close to the console sensor and that it is lying on a flat surface.
  • Go into settings and ensure that your Gamepad's settings are supporting what you are attempting to do with your Gamepad. If you have a third-party Gamepad there is the potential for more issues with your device working properly, so ensure your settings are updated and reflect your needs.
  • Make sure that there's not too much distance between your Gamepad and your console sensor when you are playing your games.
  • Ensure that between your Gamepad and your console there are no objects that could potentially be causing issues with the sensor picking up your Gamepad's movements.
  • Download any patches and updates for your Wii U by booting up your system, going into your system settings, and choosing the option to update your system.
  • Contact Nintendo customer service.

Internet Connection - Fixya users have reported difficulties accessing the Internet with their Wii U. Whether an internet connection be needed to download a system update, game update, play online, or stream online media, losing internet connection with your Wii U can pose some significant issues with your ability to use the console.

If you're having issues connecting to the Internet with the Wii U, run through the following steps:

  • Reset your Nintendo Wii U by turning off the console for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Unplug your modem and router; leave them off for one minute, and plug them back in. After waiting for the modem and router to reconnect to the Internet, boot up your Wii U and attempt to access the Internet.
  • Move your modem and router closer to where you have your Wii U set up. Oftentimes moving your modem and router into the room where your Wii U is located not only allows for internet access but will also the improve the performance of your online needs.
  • Turn off your router's firewall to ensure that any online gaming or media consumption can proceed unblocked. Oftentimes a firewall on your router will kick you out of online games against other players.

Microsoft Xbox One

Xbox Issues

Synopsis:

The Xbox One had bold aspirations from the moment it was announced. Positioned as an all inclusive entertainment system that would provide a wide variety of entertainment options (think TV, Skype, streaming movies, etc.), Microsoft has transitioned the Xbox One away from its roots as a pure gaming system into a device that the entire family can hook up in their living room and enjoy. Although the PlayStation 4 contains many of the same features (while the Wii U does not), the Xbox One's focus on serving a wider audience makes it an attractive option for consumers. Couple that with the stunning technological achievement that is the Kinect and it seemed as if Microsoft had a clear winner on its hands.

However, the Xbox One hit a rough ride in the media shortly after being announced. The issues centered around DRM (Digital Rights Management, embedded rules about what you can do with the content you buy) restrictions, and an American public fatigued by revelations about surveillance (as well as gamers who wanted as much freedom as possible when playing their games) took umbrage with proposed plans to require an online connection when playing offline, a mandatory connection with the Kinect device, as well as significant restrictions on selling and sharing used games, and put the heat on Microsoft. Eventually the company lifted those restrictions, but not without causing some long-term distrust amongst consumers and a decrease in pre-sales, earning it the nickname of "XBone". A price point of $499 (compared to $399 for the PlayStation 4) also hasn't helped, and the sales numbers bear that out with the PlayStation 4 selling more than double that of the Xbox One in the month of January.

PR wars aside, the Xbox One is still a fine system and has a lot to like about it. The game graphics are excellent and the entertainment options on the console are significant, in as much that families who want a wide variety of options for their household may prefer the Xbox One over either the Wii U or Sony PlayStation 4.

But as with any electronic, there are problems with how the console performs however. Let's take a look at some of the most common ones below.

The Problems & Solutions

Kinect - The Kinect is a wonderful piece of technology that allows user to give commands to their device and play supported games via motion tracking and voice commands. This feature is a major selling point of the Xbox One, but unfortunately some issues have cropped up for users when attempting to use it. The most common problem associated with the Kinect is that sometimes it simply does not work properly—whether that is voice commands not being recognized, the motion sensor technology malfunctioning, or games that leverage Kinect for in-game play not being able to be played because of these issues. Plain and simple – if you're playing a game that requires Kinect, and your Kinect isn't working, then obviously that game becomes unplayable.

For Kinect issues, there are a couple of options for users:

  • Make sure your Kinect is plugged in properly.
  • Do a reset of your Xbox One by turning off the system for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Make sure your Kinect settings are up to date and compatible with what you are trying to do with it.
  • Contact Microsoft customer service and order a replacement Kinect.

Console Turning Off - Users are reporting that their console will sometime power off during use and/or be unable to be turned on at all when attempting to boot up. If users encounter this more than a handful of times in a two-day period this essentially renders the system useless considering they aren't able to play or use it for its broad range of entertainment purposes.

For a console turning off or can't be turned on, there are a couple of options for users:

  • Check to see if your console is overheating, as the Xbox One should provide a warning notification if it is shutting down to prevent hardware damage. Don't play the system for a minimum of two hours if you receive this message.
  • Put the system in a more open area with proper ventilation and/or placing a fan next to the system that will help reduce heat.
  • Ensure that the power supply light is a constant color and not flickering and/or not present.
  • Do a reset of your Xbox One by turning off the Xbox One for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Ensure that the internal fan in the device is running—you should be able to hear it when using the system.
  • Plug your power cord into a different outlet and/or use a power grid when using the system.
  • Contact Microsoft customer service.

Audio/Sounds - Fixya users reported issues with the audio of the Xbox One when plugging into their television or an external speaker system. A variety of issues were found, such as the audio being greatly reduced, only coming out of one speaker, or not being present at all. This obviously presents issues for users, especially if they do not have a set of headphones they usually use when playing games or consuming media with the system.

For audio issues, here are some fixes to pursue for users:

  • Microsoft has replaced A/V cables with a single HDMI or optical cable that runs the audio and visual connection between your television and Xbox One. This means that the issue may be with the HDMI cable that came with your device and could require a replacement piece.
  • Ensure your HDMI or optical cable is free of any defects or damage.
  • Do a reset of your Xbox One by turning off the Xbox One for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Examine your Xbox One's display and sound settings through the settings menu on the home page and ensure you have the correct option selected.
  • Contact Microsoft customer service.

Sony Playstation 4

Playstation Issues

Synopsis:

Sony probably couldn't have asked for a better timeframe in which to release their next generation system. With the Wii U slightly struggling to gain widespread market penetration, and the Xbox One embroiled in user backlash before even releasing the system, the PlayStation 4 hit the next-gen market running and hasn't looked back.

The console has sold 5.3 million units as of February 2014, which puts it on pace to overtake the Wii U (which was released a year prior to the PlayStation 4) and has put a significant amount of distance between its main competitor the Xbox One. Those sales figures are made even more impressive when you consider the fact that they don't include any purchases made in Sony's home nation of Japan (where the PlayStation 4 was released in late February), a nation that more than doubled sales of the Xbox One in the month of January. With a broad and diverse offering of games and entertainment, as well as a price point below that of the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 has had a relatively easy time getting gamers on board with their system.

Despite its seemingly carefree march to the top of the console mountain and rosy outlook for the future, the PlayStation 4 does have some issues that users should be aware of when exploring next-generation consoles. Let's dive in to those issues below.

The Problems:

Console Turning Off - Fixya users have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 turning off unexpectedly during the course of game play and in other situations, like not turning on at all when prompted. This issue can be caused by a wide variety of symptoms associated with the end result, but by and large can be summarized with two main indicators—the PlayStation 4 will either display a blinking blue light or a blinking red light in the center of the console (where functioning devices will display a white indicator light). Whether you have a blue or red light that is blinking, the console is unable to be used and may require being sent into Sony for repairs or replacement in order to get it working properly again.

However, there are some steps users can take before reaching out to Sony. For issues with a console turning off suddenly, here are the options:

  • Examine your HDMI cable and/or the HDMI ports on your television for any issues, as sometimes the PlayStation 4 will show an error result despite the issue not being a result of the console malfunctioning.
  • Reset your PlayStation 4 by turning it off for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in. Before plugging it back in, users can also carefully open the hard drive to see if there is any issues with the disc drive that are causing the problem.
  • Put the system in a more open area with proper ventilation. Place a fan next to the system in order to reduce heat. Ensure that the internal fan is running properly – you should hear it while the console is running.
  • Contact Sony customer service and discuss the issues with them.

No Audio/Video - Some users have reported issues with the audio or video functionality with their PlayStation 4. These issues manifest themselves in three primary ways: the audio not working (video is visible), video not working (audio is able to be heard), or the rare symptom of both the audio and video both not working.

For any issues with the audio/video performance of your PlayStation 4, please run through the following steps:

  • Check if your PlayStation 4 is experiencing a blinking red or blue indicator light. If it is, please run through the troubleshooting steps for that issue (found above in this report).
  • Via the settings menu on your PlayStation 4 homescreen, ensure that all of the audio and video options for your PlayStation 4 are up to date and what you need for your specific purposes and television.
  • A short-term fix for any audio issues can be to use headphones to listen to any audio—sometimes audio can still be heard through headphones though not your television.
  • Examine your HDMI cable and/or the HDMI ports on your television for any issues, as sometimes the PlayStation 4 will not display audio or video despite the issue not being a result of the console malfunctioning.
  • Check the HDMI port on your PlayStation 4 for any issues—similar to the above troubleshooting step, an issue with your console's HDMI port can cause problems with the device.
  • Replace your HDMI cable to check to see if the issue is with your HDMI cable and that the issue is not with your console or television.
  • Update your PlayStation 4's firmware and software via any available online updates.
  • Contact Sony customer service and discuss the issues with them.

Freezing - Users of any electronic device have inevitably had to deal with their device freezing every once in awhile and needing to be rebooted, and is not necessarily a deal-breaking issue if it happens rarely and does not happen often. However, some PlayStation 4 users have encountered a trend of their console freezing at inopportune times, specifically when updating their device via the PlayStation Network and using their device to play games or consume media.

Obviously freezing can be a huge inconvenience, but thankfully it appears to be one of the more manageable issues compared to other maladies with the PlayStation 4. For issues with your PlayStation 4 freezing, users can go through the following steps:

  • Download any software or firmware updates via the PlayStation Network, which can be accessed from your console's home screen.
  • If your console is freezing while accessing the PlayStation Network to download any updates, visit the Sony Support site and download the updates to your computer there, then transfer them via a USB connection that plugs directly into your console.
  • Reset your PlayStation 4 by turning it off for two minutes, unplugging all of the cords associated with the device, and then plugging it back in.
  • Put the system in a more open area with proper ventilation, place a fan next to the system in order to reduce heat, and ensure that the internal fan is running properly—you should hear it while the console is running. If your console is overheating, make sure to let it rest for at least two hours before trying to boot it up again.
  • Contact Sony customer service and discuss the issues with them.