This nasty PS4 internal clock problem could kill your console

(Image credit: Anthony McLaughlin/Shutterstock)

Your PS4’s ability to play disc-based and digital games could come to an abrupt end if the internal clock battery dies on you. The bad news comes courtesy of trusted modder, Lance McDonald, who has offered some worrying insight into what happens when the battery dies. He found that users could be left with a bricked console, unable to play physical or digital-based games.

With the inescapable stock woes surrounding the PS5  and Xbox Series X, the PS4 is an increasingly valuable stopgap while many try to get their hands on a next-gen console amid the furor around scalper networks

The PS4's broken batteries involve an error code that was highlighted earlier this month by Twitter account, Does it Play?. The Twitter profile refers to the PS4’s Error, CE 34878-0, which signals when your console’s internal clock battery goes kaput. 

It makes for bleak reading. Seemingly, Sony consoles’ batteries will, inevitably, die, taking along with it all the digital files held on your PS4 as it's unable to reestablish a server connection. It’s a sort of clock-based collateral catastrophe that your PS4 console can't escape from. 

And if you thought physical copies of games were safe, then sadly you’d be mistaken. No format, it seems, is secure. The error even cripples your system’s ability to play physical discs, with McDonald explaining that the PS4’s trophy system could be one of the clock-killing culprits.

The PS4’s Trophies depend on an internal fixed clock that players can’t change; it exists for good measure, as it stops crafty Trophy-hunters meddling with the clock, rewinding it, and claiming to have grabbed a Trophy earlier than they actually have. Ipso facto — and from McDonald himself — “if your PS4 clock battery dies, all of your games die.”

Sony has had some trouble with positive press as of late. Not only did it miss its 2021 sales target, but there are new signs that the restock situation could worsen. At the very least, the PS5 is the fastest selling console in U.S. history.

Of course, it's very much an unforced error on Sony's behalf — an internal hardware issue that could have been communicated more transparently, but no less infuriating for global PS4 users. It's also untimely, clearly amplified by the lack of gaming hardware options available; still, you can get the clock replaced fairly easily if this happens to your machine.

All this aside, if you're ready to put your PS4 in your closet, our handy retailer restock tips can help point you in the direction of fresh releases. And we've also got a where to buy a PS5 guide which is consistently updated with PS5 news. 

Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.