Owning a PlayStation 4 only gets better with time, and we're not just talking about the ever-expanding game library.
Thanks to recurring system software updates, Sony keeps packing in improvements and brand new features that can help you make the most of your system, better harness its many abilities, or at least just make it easier to get to the games and media you love.
System software 5.50 is on the horizon, releasing in beta to select users this week and rolling out widely to everyone in the near future, and it brings several new perks to the PlayStation 4 experience. Here's a look at what's coming soon.
1) Supersampling for all
Well, all PlayStation 4 Pro owners, at least. You'll get the most out of the higher-end console if you have a 4K TV, of course, but if you're still using a 1080p display, the 5.50 update will bring some visual enhancements your way.
Supersampling is what the system does when it takes games rendered for higher-than-1080p resolutions and downscales them to match your screen, and now the PS4 Pro can do just that with this update. That means you may see a boost in visual clarity when playing games enhanced for the Pro, even if you're still on a Full HD screen. Some games already do this on their own, but this feature will enable it for others. Nice.
2) Library management
If you spend a lot of time on your PlayStation 4, then your games library is probably filled with old demos, beta tests, or games you'll never touch again. Frustratingly, those clutter up the listings and make it hard to find the games you're actually playing now.
Luckily, firmware 5.50 offers some options. Now you'll be able to individually hide old games and apps that you don't want hanging around anymore, plus it now offers a "This PS4" tab that only shows installed games.
There's also a "PlayStation Plus" tab that shows games available to download, and if your subscription has lapsed, it'll show you what's available to grab once you pay your dues again.
3) Quick Menu tweaks
The Quick Menu offers easy access to settings while you're playing, and the 5.50 update brings a couple of helpful-looking enhancements. For example, you'll be able to access certain friends more easily, and see which of them are online.
And music playback will get some handy shortcut controls, too: from the Quick Menu, you'll be able to use square for volume control in both Spotify and the system music player, and use triangle to play or pause a track in the latter app.
4) Parental limits
Got a kid who plays your PlayStation 4, but don't want them logging hours upon hours when they should be focused on school? Fair enough: now you'll have the tools to make that happen without watching over his or her shoulder.
Play Time Management is a new feature that allows you to set daily time limits for play for certain users, as well as choose which timeframe during the day they can play. Once the daily limit is reached, you can choose whether or not to have the system automatically log them off, and in any case, you can track all of this via the PlayStation smartphone app or via the website. You can also add more time from either source, if you're feeling generous.
Here are a few more quick tweaks worth mentioning:
- Along the lines of the library management tweaks above, you can also delete old notifications in v5.50. Rejoice!
- You'll also be able to change your home screen wallpaper via a USB drive, now, instead of just downloading images or using premade themes.
- Similarly, you can customise your Tournaments team page using custom wallpaper or a logo imported from a USB drive.
- And if you stream games via PlayStation Now, you'll be able to play your own background music, just like you would with locally downloaded games.