Dear Santa: My PS4 Won’t Read Game Discs. Am I Doomed?

ps4 wont read discs

Reasons 2 through 7,345,399,000 not pictured here.

It’s a beautiful time in gaming: you can drive a motorbike over a freight train, base jump off of a construction crane, and gun down rival gang members, all in first person 1080p detail. The mission is going swimmingly until you get a black screen and an error message. “I seriously just bought this PS4. What could be wrong?” you say. Santa shares your concern, as quite a few of these will be delivered to homes at the end of the month.

If you’ve already run into some disc reading problems with your Playstation 4, you’re not alone. A disc read error message, an unrecognized disc warning, and games getting stuck in the Blu-ray tray are all common problems. Next generation? More like a new generation of expensive headaches waiting to happen. And they will happen, if you don’t take care of your PS4.

  • Cleaning the laser lens
  • Removing dust from the Blu-ray tray
  • Inspecting the power supply
  • Deleting huge files that are not used
  • Dusting off the cooling fans

My monthly preventative maintenance list includes all of the above, so I avoid these problems to begin with.

“Help! My PS4 won’t read game discs!” you might yell out loud to no one in particular. Would you believe me if I said I heard your frantic call? Let’s try and get to the bottom of fixing the Playstation 4 disc reading problem, as well as identify some other troubleshooting areas.

ps4 won't read game discs

If your PS4 looks like this, then this article will not help you. You may need to start a new save in the game called Life.

PS4 Won’t Read Game Discs? Don’t Give Up.

You likely arrived at this website looking for answers. We cannot work miracles, but we are in the business of relieving common headaches with expensive electronics. And we are definitely no stranger to the PS4.

A PS4 needs proper maintenance and regular cleaning at least once a month. Even when it is brand new. It is extremely powerful hardware that comes with some quirks due to the sheer amount of use most gamers demand from it every day. There are tools available for doing this monthly check-up that we will be covering shortly.

Disc Read Error, “Unreadable Disc” on main Playstation Menu could mean a few possible problems:

  • Fingerprints or scratches on the Blu-ray layer of the disc (shiny side).
  • An error in the tray’s hardware (disc will not eject, does not “line up” properly).
  • Dust, fingerprints, or dirt on the laser lens that is inside the PS4.

 

Fingerprints and Scratches are No Fun

The first issue that could be causing disc errors is… you guessed it… the disc itself. When you receive an error message on PS4, you should eject the disc and try another one. If the second game works, than you have a disc problem.

There’s a good chance that you are trying to play a game that is only a few months old at the most and in many cases, is brand new. Still, how you handle the disc when you take it out of its case and insert it into the Playstation can make a huge difference. One fingerprint smudge or small scratch in the sensitive Blu-ray can be enough to cause your $60 game to go kaput. Can it be cleaned or fixed? Of course it can. We will urge you to not use your sleeve or pant leg (or peanut butter, or any of those weird foam sponges with questionable content). Keep the alcohol and Windex away as well. There’s safer ways to clean a Blu-ray disc.

After you remove any fingerprints or small imperfections on the back of the disc, try and play the game again. Still not working? Multiple new PS4 games failing to load? Time to move onto the next option.

 

Tray Errors and Faulty Hardware

Open tray errors are not exclusive to old game systems. The newest ones, like PS4 and Xbox, can have these same issues as well. Here you can find some resources for dealing with it, but it’s very possible the disc was not inserted into the game slot properly. If the disc isn’t lined up correctly, or fails to eject – the game will obviously not play.

 

Weak Laser Beams

Okay, that title may seem dramatic, but if your PS4 won’t read game discs, and you’ve ruled out scratches and faulty hardware, it’s time to consider cleaning your laser lens.

If you’re really brave, you’ll take apart your PS4 and start tinkering around until you see it: the shiny bulb of power that transports you to different virtual worlds when it works correctly. If there are specks of dust, dirt, and/or smudges from inserting and ejecting Playstation games – you need to clean your laser lens. A dirty PS4 laser lens will give you the “unreadable disc error” every single time.

However, if you’re like me, fiddling around with expensive hardware in a plastic shell = broken hardware in a cracked shell. Read on, friend.

 

How Do I Clean a Playstation 4 Laser Lens Safely?

Let’s get down to brass tax. You want to know how to safely clean a PS4 laser lens so you can get back to murdering aliens in Destiny. Fair enough. Have you tried CleanDr for Blu-ray?

 

ps4 won't read game discs

CleanDr for Blu-ray is a disc you insert into your PS4, Xbox One, or Blu-ray player that uses mini brushes to gently clean your laser lens. You can find these brush discs at a lot of electronic outlets already. I am biased towards CleanDr for two reasons: I work for the company that makes it, and CleanDr’s brushes retract, which prevent the cleaner from knocking your laser lens out of alignment.

Here’s a good example of that, demonstrated on the Xbox One:

 

So you can see how fragile your Playstation 4 is. One little piece or dirt or a little bump are all it takes to send you back to the 1950s. When you just had to sit there and watch TV (a cruel thought, indeed).

 

CleanDr is Your Partner in (Video Gaming) Crime

If your PS4 was not reading discs before, you can flip that scenario around with CleanDr. This disc with retractable brushes is designed to get your faulty game running again. All without ever having to place an awkward call to Sony’s customer service. The worst case scenario is that your laser lens or hardware is actually damaged, which in that case will leave you no choice but to get in touch with Sony. Just don’t give them your password (just kidding, Sony!).

Because at the end of the day, all you really care about is getting right back into the game. Fix PS4 disc read errors with CleanDr.

Also available for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DVD, and CD players (car stereos, too). This holiday season, enjoy free shipping with the code ‘cleandr’ when you check out, as a thanks from DI.