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PS5's First Major Update Explained

The PlayStation 5 launch made history in more ways than one. Unfortunately, one major reason its release stood out was that most consumers were unable to get a PS5 at a physical store. This problem has plagued Sony fans ever since, and many are still unclear when they'll actually be able to buy the newest PlayStation. Not all was negative about the console's launch, however.

Soon after its release, the PS5 was named one of 2020's best inventions, and for good reason. It's a powerful, innovative system that offers plenty of incentive to keep console gamers away from the PC. In a tight console war, the PS5 appeared to be the next-gen winner, however, that doesn't mean Sony should get too comfortable. Because the race between the two giants is closer than one might guess, it's important that Sony continues to improve the PS5. In fact, there are a number of advantages the PS4 still has over the PS5 — but that all could change in time.

On April 14, 2021, Sony rolled out a major update for the PlayStation 5. This update may address a couple of issues some fans have experienced, along with other quality-of-life improvements. This is what you need to know.

PS5's storage gets an upgrade, but it won't solve all your problems

Everyone who picked up the PlayStation 5 had to cope with the sad reality of its storage capacity. The system packs in 825 GB and only 667 of those precious gigabytes are actually usable, leaving little space for today's massive games.

Fortunately, PS5 owners have some relief in sight. Following the new update, you will be able to move your PlayStation 5 games onto "compatible external USB drives." This should offer owners who are tight on space a little breathing room, as gamers will no longer have to delete games they may not have finished to make room for other titles. Unfortunately, the stored games still cannot run from one of these external storage devices. 

Writing for The Verge, Chaim Gartenberg called this updated feature "a stop-gap measure," as it doesn't solve the problem entirely. Only when the console's dedicated M.2 expansion slot is up and running will PlayStation 5 owners finally be able to download a major AAA title without having as much concern for data management. On the bright side, this dormant feature of the PS5 should soon be usable.

Bringing PS5 and PS4 owners together through cross-generation Share Play

Share Play is a feature that allows gamers to connect remotely, in a way that makes it feel more like couch co-op. Not only can players virtually share a screen, but they can digitally pass the controller to spectators. It even turns local multiplayer into a network experience, requiring only one copy of a game for a shared session.

This feature is also available to PS5 owners. However, up until now, it hasn't been able to cross the generational barrier, much to the chagrin of Sony fans. One user on Reddit asked about cross-generational compatibility, since they were playing Resident Evil 5 with a friend until that friend upgraded to a PS5. A Redditor in the comments expressed frustration over this limitation, stating "Urgh. What's the reasoning behind this? Seems pointless," and other Sony fans tend to agree. This is especially troubling since relatively few gamers have been lucky enough to find a PS5.

Fortunately for fans, the latest update will extend a bridge between PS5 and PS4 owners. And for those who are debating on whether or not to upgrade their current PlayStation to the next-gen option, Sony promises they can even get a taste of what the new console has to offer by "try[ing] out the PS5 games through Share Play."

All their Game Base are belong to us

Do you hate the PlayStation 5 Game Base? If so, you're not alone. Through the PS5's Control Center, players have the option of accessing the Game Base and creating a party for their friends. In theory, it should offer PS5 owners an easy, streamlined way to sort their media and join together in group voice calls, but the PS5 community doesn't seem to love the UI.

In a rather blunt post on Reddit, one gamer said, "I hate Game Base," citing issues locating eligible players and the combination of parties and messages as the biggest offenders. Another Redditor thought it was "really annoying" and in need of an update. While this user speculated it was potentially an "unpopular opinion," someone in the comments said, "I don't think this opinion is as unpopular as you think it is." Fortunately, the original poster's wish is coming true.

The new PS5 update promises an "improved Game Base," which will offer "quicker access to important content and features." There will be a few other notable quality-of-life improvements, like mic level adjustment for specific participants, disabling chat, pre-downloads for patches, screen magnification, and more. Perhaps with this latest update, there will be a little more love for the PS5 Game Base.

A PlayStation App update that PS5 owners will likely APProve

When the PlayStation App first came out, Sony fans were not pleased. Even after a number of updates, users still had problems, ranging from stability issues to PS Store inaccessibility. Things did change, however, when the PS5 launch was close at hand.

In preparation for the then-upcoming console, the app received an overhaul that impressed critics. Sammy Barker at Push Square called it "a humongous upgrade," while The Verge's Taylor Lyles said it was "seriously clean and lets you do way more remotely." Fans appeared to be just as pleased, and now, with the latest update, the beloved app could be even more popular. 

According to the PlayStation blog post, the PlayStation App is getting several new features, such as "the ability to join a multiplayer session on PS5 from the app, manage your PS5 console storage, compare trophy collections with friends, and sort and filter products shown in the PlayStation Store." Some of these new additions should prove especially useful, like the data management functionality. Hopefully, this will reduce some of the frustration one may experience when organizing data.

What fans are saying about the PS5's first major update

Whenever changes are on the horizon, fans can be the most critical. So what do they have to say about this update?

The overall reaction is positive. A few users on Reddit are happy to see some older features return, such as update pre-downloads and the option to wishlist games. Others are excited about many of the newer features. One Redditor said, "Being able to hide games is the big one for me." Another stated, "Changing the individual volumes in a party like Discord? F***ing yes!" These are just a few examples of the excitement over the update. 

Despite the high spirits, however, there is still room for disappointment. One Redditor said, "Oh, I was hoping I'd finally be able to install expanded storage." Another user noted, "Still no M.2 storage expansion? Still no VRR support? Still no 1440p 120Hz support? Still no 8K support?"

From the looks of it, this update brings a lot of exciting new bells and whistles to the PS5, and for the most part, fans are looking forward to all of them.