Common Gaming System Problems & Troubleshooting Tips


Whether you’re a serious gamer or just a casual player, there’s nothing like getting lost in a good video game. There is also nothing quite like the frustration of trying to play your favorite game but halted by an issue with your gaming system. If your favorite gaming system is on the fritz but you’re not sure exactly what is wrong, check out these common gaming system issues and troubleshooting tips. 

HDMI Port Issues

The HDMI port on a game console is the thick wire that connects the console to the TV so that you can see and hear the games you’re playing. This wire can come loose and cause signal loss, but the port itself can also be damaged over time. Here are some troubleshooting tips if you think your HDMI port is malfunctioning: 

First, check to see that there is no visible damage done to your HDMI port. Replacing the HDMI port on the Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch requires soldering experience that is best left up to repair professionals. If the port looks normal, you can try replacing the HDMI cable with a new one to ensure that it isn’t the cause of the malfunction. You should also check that the cable is inserted correctly on both ends and then power cycle your console to rule out a software issue.  

Disc Drive Issues

Drive issues in gaming consoles are unique based on the system that you use. The Xbox and Playstation both use discs and a disc drive to read game and movie information while the Nintendo switch uses game cartridges. We broke down the most common disc drive issues based on console: 

Xbox & Playstation: Disc drive issues can come in many different forms. There may be abnormal, grinding sounds coming from the drive or the system may not be reading, accepting, or ejecting the discs inserted. If you hear a grinding sound after inserting a disc into the drive, chances are, this sound is due to a loose gear. It won’t scratch your discs, but it does make them impossible for the system to read. If this is an issue you are facing, bring your device to a repair professional so that no additional damage happens to the device. On a Playstation, the grinding could be caused by something loose near the fan. Check to make sure it is clean and free of debris, restart the system and try again. If the system is not reading discs at all, there’s a chance it could be a hardware failure. First, check for any software updates by going to Settings>System> Updates>Update Console. If your console is completely up to date and you’ve already done a restart, you may need to seek the help of a repair professional. If the disc drive is not accepting or ejecting any discs on an Xbox you can unplug the console completely, and then manually eject the disc by sticking a paperclip into the side vent of the console, where pressing a small orange dot will eject any discs stuck inside. If the console is not accepting discs, the issue is hardware related and would need the expertise of a repair professional to repair. On a Playstation, follow these instructions from the manufacturer support page.

Switch: If you are having difficulty getting your Switch to read the game cartridge, remove the game cartridge and make sure it is a genuine Switch game and that it is clean. Place it back into the console and try again. If the problem persists, check for any software updates or contact a repair professional. 

Controller Issues

The Xbox and Playstation both have controllers that work completely independently of the console, but the Joycons for the Switch work in tandem with the console. This can lead to unique controller issues that are frustrating, but easily solvable. 

Xbox & Playstation: If your wireless controllers aren’t responding, there are a few troubleshooting techniques to try. First, ensure that the controllers are completely charged and that the charge ports and cables are working properly. Then, update the firmware on the controller (Xbox) or reset the connection between the controller and the console. You can then attempt to connect a different controller to the console to ensure the problem lies solely with the controller. If none of these tips resolves your issue, you may have to use a cable to connect your controller to the console in order to play. 

Nintendo Switch: Users of the Nintendo switch report two recurring issues with their Joycons, disconnecting and drifting. If your Joycons occasionally disconnect, you should first attempt a software update. You can find this by clicking System Settings>System>Update. If the problem persists, you can recalibrate the joycons, under the Controllers and Sensors section of the systems menu. Joycon drifting refers to the responsiveness issue that Joycons can develop over time from wear and tear. Unfortunately, without opening the controller, there is very little that you can do to prevent Joycon drifting other than being aware of how forcefully you use the joystick. 

Hard resets to fix common software issues

When faced with any issue with your game console, the first thing any tech-minded person will suggest is a reboot of the console. This powering down and back up again will wipe clean any application or bug that might be causing an issue. If you can’t use the controller or navigate the system to shut down the console normally, a hard reset might be needed. 

 Xbox: Hold the front power button down for 10 seconds and once the console shuts down, release it. Disconnect the power cable and wait about 10 seconds. Then, reconnect the console and turn it back on. 

Playstation: Hold the front power key down for a few seconds, and wait for the console to power off completely. 

Switch: Press and hold the power button until the device powers off. 

Gaming System Repair

We know that gaming system issues can be frustrating. If your troubleshooting attempts have been unsuccessful or you just want an expert opinion, you can always bring it by your local uBreakiFix location. Our helpful technicians know all about common gaming system issues and can help you determine what the issue is and what will solve it. 

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