While Xbox One owners have been receiving updates almost monthly that continue to make Microsoft’s platform look incredibly attractive, Sony has been a lot slower with firmware updates to their PlayStation 4. With firmware version 2.0, Sony finally delivered on several updates like the ability to put games into a sleep state, enabling quick resume from sleep, and working on fixing bugs and other issues (one of which still plagues my console, though). Firmware version 3.0 is likewise significant in the features it brings to the console, one of which is sure to bring happiness to anyone who’s had their PS4 connected to the internet from day one.
Codenamed “Kenshin”, firmware version 3.0 isn’t available just yet, as the company says they’re working on adding more features and fixes to the list in the coming weeks. Some of these features have been delivered in response to the #BetterPSN movement on Twitter, which sends suggestions on how gamers would like to see specific issues fixed or features finalised that Sony hasn’t delivered yet. Here’s the list of features as it stands for now:
Events: A new hub for events has been added, giving an overview of activities taking place in the games you play most, as well as official broadcasts. For instance, you may see an update for a double XP weekend, a special enemy appearing at a scheduled time, or seasonal events like in-game towns being decorated for the winter.
YouTube live: PS4 owners will be able to live stream gameplay to YouTube. Live streams will be viewable across YouTube, including on the new YouTube Gaming mobile app and website.
Online storage capacity increase: PlayStation Plus members’ PS4 cloud storage capacity will increase from 1GB to 10GB
Favourite Groups: Favourite Groups has been added to the Friends app, letting you add new or existing groups as a Favorite Group and quickly access groups of people you like to play games with frequently. This will make the process of getting a game session up and running even easier.
Communities: PS4 users will have the ability to create communities based around shared interests, like games, genres and more. Communities include a message board with general discussion, screenshots shared by players and the ability to join parties or games. If you want to tackle a big multiplayer raid, but don’t have enough friends, this could be a great way to connect with other likeminded players.
Sharing video clips to Twitter: Users will have the ability to share video clips directly to Twitter. The maximum video length is 10 seconds, but you’ll have the ability to trim longer clips.
Live from PlayStation: We’ve added the ability for users to view popular broadcasts, video clips and screenshots on the Live From PlayStation area
Screenshots: We’ve listened to your feedback and we’re happy to confirm that PNG format is now an option for Screenshot saves
Now Playing: The Now Playing screen will display more information about what your friends are doing, and you’ll be able to quickly jump into a party, request a screen share, or jump to PlayStation Store to buy a game your friend is playing.
Request to watch: Want to view a friend’s gameplay session? Now you can send a ‘Request to Watch’ notification to a player, which will start a live broadcast or Share Play invitation to the person playing.
Stickers: Tired of typing out messages? With this update, you’ll be able to send stickers to friends through the messages.
While some of these features might not interest you, two really stand out – increasing online cloud save storage, and communities. One of the gripes that PS4 owners have been complaining about for a while is that they can’t save all of their game progress online as suggested by the online save feature, which is now free to everyone. 1GB was enough for the PS3 when PlayStation Plus first launched, but now we’re living in 2015, and 1GB of anything these days isn’t much. I’m disappointed, however, that this is only extended to PlayStation Plus subscribers. It really needs to be made for everyone to make the change truly impactful.
Having the option to belong to community groups is also welcome. Much like Steam groups, these will allow more players to interact with others in their area or country, and the groups with special focus will be useful for anyone who needs to team up with someone else for a particular game. As soon as this feature is available, I’m sure we’ll have a NAG Online group for people to join.
The last thing that catches my eye is the mention of a YouTube Gaming app. Sony’s been quicker than Microsoft on this particular point, and it looks like they’re aiming to keep the streaming community tied to the platform as much as possible.