A problem with the PlayStation 4 is being investigated by Sony, just hours before the next-generation game console goes on sale.

PlayStation 4
Problem with PlayStation 4 is being investigated by Sony. (IBTimes UK)

The Japanese company's president of its Worldwide Studios division, Shuhei Yoshida, tweeted to say the company is investigating a problem first reported by customers who received their PS4 consoles early by mistake.

"Be assured we are investigating reported PS4 issues. The number is very small compared to shipped, we believe they are isolated incidents."

As customers started to receives their consoles in the days leading up to its 15 November US launch, reports began to circulate saying the devices were arriving in an unusable condition.

Gaming website Kotaku revealed that its first retail PS4 - in other words, a PS4 identical to the ones going on sale on the 15th - did not work; however, the publication added that its writers had no problems with "one pre-release PS4 and three retail PS4s".

A user of the Neogaf forums called Dylx, who received his PS4 early, also reported problems.

"After playing a brief game of NBA 2k14 I quit and inserted my Battlefield 4 disc. The system prompted for an update, so while watching the progress bar (Around 20%) my controller light turned from blue to white. Hasn't worked since," the poster said.

Reddit user Arogon reported a similar problem with his PS4, which was delivered early, having been won in a competition held by fast food chain Taco Bell. In response to his post, another Reddit user - who also won a PS4 from Taco Bell - reported the same problem, adding that a replacement console had been shipped to him.

A Twitter user responded to Yoshida's tweet to ask if the number of affected units is only small compared to consoles shipped for launch, or small compared to the (also small) number of consoles that have been received early.

Yoshida replied to say his comparison was "to shipped pre-launch units," meaning the number of affected consoles should remain a small minority after the PS4 has officially gone on sale.

The PlayStation 4 goes on sale in the US at midnight on 15 November, and arrives in the UK on 29 November.