Sony has confirmed the details of the next PS5 system update via the PlayStation Blog, and it packs several big improvements to the console including a major SSD upgrade and a feature I've wanted since launch.
The system software beta period begins today for select participants, with a full rollout to all PS5 owners expected in the coming weeks. Straight off the bat, the biggest update in this new console patch is support for larger-capacity SSDs. Previously the PS5 could only accept M.2 SSDs up to 4TB in size, but with this update that has been boosted up to 8TB.
Of course, any M.2 SSD added to the PS5 storage expansion drive will still need to meet all of Sony’s specifications and will also require a heatsink for cooling. But if you want to install pretty much all the best PS5 games at once, an 8TB SSD should do the job. However, expect to pay an eye-watering price for the privilege. The options that meet Sony’s criteria are slim, and even a 4TB model of the best internal PS5 SSD currently costs $329 on Amazon — and that’s with a $220 discount!
Another major feature included in the new system update is Dolby Atmos support. Sony explains in its blog post that “3D Audio powered by Tempest 3D AudioTech can now be enjoyed by those who own compatible Dolby Atmos-enabled HDMI devices such as soundbars, TVs or home theater systems. Tempest 3D AudioTech specifically renders to the Dolby Atmos audio devices in use – including overhead channels – allowing for even greater levels of immersion in the audioscapes of PS5 games.”
PS5 update adds feature I've wanted since launch
While the SSD and audio upgrades noted above are appreciated (and will grab the headlines), the feature I’m most excited about in this new PS5 system update is the ability to search your Game Library.
Between digital store purchases and PlayStation Plus freebies, I’ve got more than 400 individual games in my library, and navigating this mammoth collection has been a frequent source of personal frustration. Fortunately, the ability to directly search will make finding specific games significantly easier. Yes, it’s taken Sony far too long to implement this seemingly basic feature, but at last, search functionality is almost here after years of waiting.
The latest system update also brings with it several new accessibility features including the ability to assign a second gamepad to one account for use as an assist controller. Sony explains that this feature “introduces a new way for you to enjoy games collaboratively with others or help a friend or child navigate a particularly challenging section of a game.”
UI feedback via the DualSense controller haptics is also being added. Once switched on this will trigger feedback when moving between system menus, receiving a notification or when a user has reached the end of a scrollable section. This feature is designed to assist players with some level of sight or hearing disability. Plus, if you dislike the console’s notorious beep sound upon start-up or shutdown, you will now be able to disable it or adjust the volume as needed.
Finally, the social features of the PS5 are being further enhanced via this new system update. These include various tweaks to the Party system, such as being able to invite players into a closed party without adding them to a group, the ability to see a preview of a shared screen without first entering a party and being able to react to messages with an emoji as you can on most popular messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
Overall, this is a pretty substantial system update that is adding a couple of major upgrades and a host of minor tweaks and improvements that will help streamline the user experience. As noted, this new PS5 update is currently only available to beta testers, but a full rollout is likely to commence within the next couple of months.