Those still dissatisfied with the PlayStation 5 at its current state are in for a treat. The console is receiving a massive software update today that pretty much covers every single user complaint still dragging its reputation through the mud. The PS5 was essentially a rugged prototype at launch, its features largely experimental. Thanks to rotating feedback gathered since its original 2020 release, developers over at Sony have managed to apply informed changes with the central goal of improving user experience. The revamped features are listed in a PlayStation blog post published on Tuesday. It’s the second major patch to come along since April.
The September update is a comprehensive sweep of the PlayStation 5’s most problematic attributes. The firmware upgrade boasts high-speed storage expansion, UX (user interface) improvements, impressive social customization, exhaustive 3D audio support, more flexible remote play options, and a new version of the PlayStation app tweaked for convenience. Navigating the PS5 has never felt more intuitive. Check out the announcement video below:
The patch’s primary selling point since leaking last month is increased storage capacity coupled with better audio. Players can now augment the PS5’s measly 500GB base storage to 1TB or more by physically installing an M.2 SSD, a high-speed solid-state drive capable of housing extra content, inside the unit. This would allow users to launch PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games directly from the SSD and move applications between storage options with as little trouble as possible. The process is highly invasive, however. It would require the user to open the console and manually attach the drive. M.2 SSDs used would need to come with a heatsink, or any related cooling structure to help dissipate heat, and satisfy minimum performance and size requirements. For easy reference, check out the step-by-step installation video below, courtesy of Sony’s engineering department:
Three-dimensional audio also only serviced compatible PS5 headsets at launch. The system retained the standard two-channel sound for connecting TV speakers, depriving players of a true surround-sound cinema experience. But thanks to the Wednesday update, users may now avail of 3D audio support for built-in speakers, vastly augmenting the feel of playing certain games. PlayStation 5 owners would need to measure their room’s acoustics using the microphone pre-installed into their DualShock controller to kickstart the process, after which they are good to go. Users with a Pulse 3D Wireless Headset can also access an Equalizer in Sound Controls, to customize sound profiles to their taste.
The rest of the software update are incremental improvements meant to simplify navigation for PS5 users. The all-new and improved UX features a more user-friendly Control Center, permitting players to rearrange and hide/unhide apps at their leisure. Developers have also extended Game Base reach, allowing players to view and reply to messages straight from the Control Center and manage Parties without having to access Chat. Both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games are now clearly distinguished from each other in the Game Library and Home Screen, manifesting as entirely separate applications. Pausing and resuming Screen Reader is now easier than ever; just press the PS button and triangle. To repeat lines, press PS + R1.
PlayStation Now, which has mainly serviced online play and supported prolonged streaming, has equally been painted over. Not only can we choose our preferred resolution (720p and 1080p) before streaming, and troubleshoot as necessary, PS5 owners can now reward teammates in the aftermath of an online match with a fourth Accolade: Leader. The designation is given to someone who “leads the way, makes the call, and crafts the plan” — the proverbial GOAT of any cooperative multiplayer session. Other Accolades include Helpful (generous, effective communicator, team-oriented), Good Sport (positive, honorable, respectful), and Welcoming (accepting of others, open, friendly). This feature is unique to PlayStation 5, as Sony’s way of encouraging patrons to play fair and present good manners during online sessions.
Similarly, the system now offers automatic video capture of “personal best” moments — whenever a higher score is attained, a trophy is won, and a better time is recorded. The PlayStation 4 had previously only done automatic photo captures, which of course hardly feels as gripping when looking back on our gaming history. A new Trophy Tracker also allows players to access up to five trophies per game solely through the Control Center. Sony caps off its latest PS5 update with mobile data capability for Remote Play and the PlayStation app, and the ability to Share Screens during broadcast via party voice chat. For PlayStation 4 owners, PS5 trophies are now viewable on the older console. Party hosts can also disband groups with a click of a button, without necessarily having to remove players one by one.
The second major system update is certainly a curveball to the face with the bulk of new features currently offered, but it’s a curveball worth getting smacked by. The patch is available to both digital and CD versions of the PS5.