The first major system update of the Sony PlayStation 5 rolls out globally today, and while many would-be users are still trying to buy the console, these new features are only likely to make the device more appealing. Some of the biggest updates include the ability to use external drives, Share Play across PS5 and PS4, an improved Game Base menu, a new trophy and stats screen, the ability to customize the Game Library and pre-downloads for game updates.
A post on the PlayStation Blog by Hideaki Nishino, Senior VP, Platform Planning and Management outlined the changes the update would bring. Perhaps the biggest change is allowing the use of external USB drives in addition to external storage. While games won’t be able to be played directly from external drives, they can be used as a convenient backup for titles you wish to archive. You can then swap titles back onto the internal hard drive as needed.
PS5 games make use of the ultra-fast read-write times provided by the internal SSD, so allowing external drives could potentially cause lag. Sony is still working on support for M.2 drives, which could be used for gameplay.
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Share Play allows users to share their game screen with friends while chatting in parties. It also allows you to let a friend take over your controls in a game or join a game in a multiplayer mode – described as ‘virtually passing them the controller’. This Share Play works across PS4 and PS5 consoles, allowing you to try a friend’s PS5 game on your PS4. Friends can also join your game through a new ‘request to join’ option that avoids you having to send an invite directly. You can limit who gets these, of course.
There have also been changes to the amount of control and personalization available on the PS5. The Game Base menu now allows you to switch easily between Parties and Friends to interact with. You can also easily disable game chat or adjust the volume of other players in your chat.
To make game updates available faster, the PS5 will now support pre-downloads to have the update ready to go and get you back in the game quicker. When the console is on or in rest mode any available updates to those games with Auto Updates selected will be downloaded in the background. This is especially useful if you have a slower internet connection, as often game updates can be sizeable to download.
The Game Library can now be customized, with the ability to search and hide games from view. Screen Zoom allows you to adjust the magnification, the automatic screenshot video clip in trophies can be customized and a new Trophy Stats screen gives an overview of your level and status.