Could Your PS4 Console Have an Atypical Expiration Date?

By Bill Toulas / March 24, 2021

Reports about an “ERROR CE 34878-0” have started to spread panic to owners of the PS4 console, warning that it will render the gaming device useless when the CMOS battery dies. More specifically, it’ll prevent disc playback and also digital file access, so in essence, it’s a “bricking” event.

The issue lies in the decision of Sony’s engineers to link the console encryption to "date-time," and when the battery dies, the system clock resets every time you power the device up.

There’s a fix for this, but it would require that people replace their CMOS battery now and then sync the console to the Play Station Network. Potentially, Sony may also release a firmware update to prevent clock errors from affecting any aspect of the console’s functionality, but that would be a low priority for sure. Sony has previously stated that the support for PS4 will continue in 2021, but what this will mean in practice remains to be seen.

CMOS batteries are typically a CR2032 lithium coin cell, having an estimated lifetime of up to 10 years. Considering that PS4 was released back at the end of 2013, the first consoles sold should start showing problems of this kind by next year, depending on how much they’re plugged in or left disconnected from the plug. That said, if you own a PS4 and you care to continue using it, maybe you should replace the cell now.

What cannot be fixed in any way is Sony’s potential future decision to pull the plug on the PSN. There are no indications of such plans, but as PlayStation 4 ages, Sony will eventually end its support, and then they may even consider that cost-saving option on the PSN. Right now, there are over 100 million PS4 consoles connected to the network, but this number will gradually shrink over the next couple of years.

As for PlayStation 5, people are still trying to find one that is available for purchase, as chip supply is nowhere near the demand. Experts in the field claim that there’s no sign that anything will change until at least June, so for now, many people who would like to upgrade from a PS4 to the next generation are literally stuck with it.

For a better user experience we recommend using a more modern browser. We support the latest version of the following browsers: For a better user experience we recommend using the latest version of the following browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari