Some Foxconn interns posted on an Internet forum some of the first available PS4 units were deliberately damaged. The story is, at best, hearsay with many media outlets were quick to point out the near-impossible task of proving such a rumor true.
DailyTech provides a quick overview of the story. The post in question has since been deleted but screenshots were taken of the claims made on an IGN forum. The post claims to be written by interns from Foxconn’s manufacturing plant in Yantai, China and states they deliberately damaged some initial PS4s in response to unfair treatment and forced labor.
As reported by Neowin, the forum was locked but the news spread quickly. A translation of the post’s claims state the interns sabotaged the PS4 to the point where it would only turn on and would be, essentially, a paperweight. Sony has already confirmed a 0.4 percent rate for faulty PS4s and there are documented issues with the next-gen system, including the “blue light of death” which indicates the console has failed to connect to the TV.
The story has enough background context which would lend some veracity to the rumor. A previous report detailed the allegations of student interns being forced to make PS4s from August to October. The interns were students from Xi'an Technological University North Institute and reports state that those who did not comply would not graduate. The students claimed the work program was mandatory and some of the mistreatment included illegal overtime shifts. The post was created on Aug. 28 in a Xi'an Technological University North Institute forum, notes Kotaku.
In addition to the reports of forced labor, there have been several incidents at Foxconn, including a riot in September and suicides in April and May, as well reports of mistreatment and low wages. Earlier in the year, Foxconn admitted to using minors in their plants.
Another forum thread put the blame elsewhere, citing the incredible number of workers or quality control. The origins of these allegations, from forums and recently unearthed translations, are impossible to verify and Sony has not officially commented on the matter. Kotaku mentions the rampant speculation could have been quelled if the PS4 was manufactured in Japan, at Sony’s plants, instead of being outsourced to Foxconn.