A Busted Box, A Crushed Console: My PlayStation 4 Launch Story [Update]

A Busted Box, A Crushed Console: My PlayStation 4 Launch Story [Update]

Update - A happy ending! Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to read my sad little tale and for your comments. Because others have mentioned and wondered, in all my years of ordering from Amazon and receiving items from UPS, this was the first time a package arrived in such a sad state.

But now for the good news: on Sunday, I decided to take a shot in the dark and contact my local GameStop to see if they had a machine available. They did! The clerk took my name and told me to head over (though if someone got there before me, they'd have to sell it). I drove over with great haste...

...and picked up an undamaged and working PlayStation 4! The console updated just fine and before long I wass enjoying 

Assassin's Creed IV

 and noodling around with various features.

All's well that ends well!

Original story

By now, everyone who really wanted the new PlayStation 4 console are huddled in front of their television sets, exploring Sony's foray into next gen gaming. I remember feeling pretty apprehensive about the new wave of consoles but Sony's showing at E3 last June had me pumped up and and ready to be part of the zeitgeist that is Day One.

My story begins like many others, waiting with bated breath for the UPS truck to drive down my street, delivering its payload of shiny PlayStation 4s to all the girls and boys. The jolly, brown suited "cyber-stork" came to my door at around 5:30pm and dropped off the package I was waiting all day for. When I brought it in the house, I was immediately filled with concern. As you can see in the picture below, the condition of the box suggests that my PlayStation 4 had a pretty rough journey.

The condition of the item was not good. The Amazon Prime branded packing tape was shredded and frayed in certain spots, specifically across the top and on the right side of the box (it also pulled apart pretty easily). One of the corners had been covered in packing tape, implying some sort accident or attack by a wild beast. The box for the PlayStation 4 itself was damaged, mostly on the side where the cords and controller were situated. Given that the console itself was positioned away from the damaged area, I assumed the most important piece would be just fine. Sadly, I was mistaken. The front of the machine was just fine but the back, specifically the vents on the rightmost side were either crushed or cracked. Moving the console around, I could hear a small piece of plastic rattling around inside.

Saddened by this development, my fiancee and I put in a call to UPS to file a damage claim. They directed us to Amazon because apparently, they handle all that stuff on their own. We got a hold of Amazon and told them what was up, letting them know the extent of the damage. I didn't bother to power up the machine, so that I wouldn't upset the refund/replacement procedure. The first rep offered to give us a refund for the console but they couldn't replace it for another because they had sold out (incidentally, Amazon was selling a bizarre PS4/Kindle bundle, and I wondered if they could just send us that instead - sans tablet). That's understandable, considering launch edition pre-orders ran out pretty quickly. We tried to get Amazon to throw us bone and get us on the list for the next round of shipments, escalating things a bit and speaking to two different supervisors until they agreed to do so. In order to make things right, they wanted to give us $30 in credit. Now, I'm not the selfish type but I thought that $30 wasn't enough for the amount of damage the box sustained (the shipping box was larger than the size of the console and they really didnt' pack in enough sealed air to cushion the console from external trauma) and the inability to get an immediate replacement. They eventually offered $75 and free return shipping, so we decided to just settle with that.

As disappointed as I was from the entire ordeal, I didn't let it get to me. Things like this happen. I've waited this long for the console, what's another few weeks? Granted, I could always shop around some nearby brick and mortar stores, so there's that. Anyways, the impetus for this article is not to deliver some "woe is me, Amazon screwed me, blah blah blah"-style diatribe. Console launches are never perfect. Things have a habit of going wrong, be it servers overloading, machines inexplicably getting bricked and promised features not being available. Except those who purposefully destroy consoles to get a rise out of people, in all the consoles I've seen released I don't ever recall hearing stories of them sustaining damage during delivery.

Ah, well. Greatness still awaits. Its just going to take a little longer get here.

Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.