The PS4 Is Finally Getting Features It Should Have Had For Years

The PS4 Is Finally Getting Features It Should have Had For Years

The PS4's next firmware update will finally let you turn on notifications for when your friends come online. It still won't let you change your username, but at least it will give you some privacy. With firmware 3.50, which goes into beta tomorrow -- final release TBD -- Sony is adding some much-needed features to their snazzy console including the ability to appear offline, which is something people have spent years requesting. Also, Sony says they plan to bring Remote Play to PC and Mac, which doesn't seem nearly as useful as getting it on Vita but may be helpful for people who have to share TVs.

The full feature list, via Sony:

  • Friend Online Notification -- Want to know the moment your friends come online? With this update, you can, as we've added an option to be notified when members of your friends list sign on the network.
  • Appear Offline -- Sometimes you want to play a game or watch a movie without being bothered by friends. Now it's easier to go incognito as we've added the option to appear offline. You can designate if you would like to appear offline when you log-in or at any time from your Profile or the Quick Menu.
  • User Scheduled Event -- Time for a play date! We've added the ability to schedule a future gameplay session with your friends on the system. When your event starts, users who registered for the event will automatically be added to a party so you can start playing right away.
  • Play Together -- This features allows all members of a Party to see what each person is playing so that you can easily join a friend's game, or start a new game together.
  • Remote Play (PC/Mac) -- We're bringing PS4 Remote Play to Windows PC and Mac. This feature won't be available to test in the beta, but you can look forward to it soon.
  • Dailymotion -- With this update, you'll be able to live stream directly to Dailymotion on PS4. We'll also support archiving live broadcasts, like we do for other streaming services.


    *my usual, generic grumble about not being able to change PSN name goes here*

      Are you one of those people who created a 'questionable' name, and now regret it? Just kidding.

      Probably the way they built the architecture of their system.
      They most likely using the username in a hash(with a combination of other things) to generate some kind of unique id for user records on different internal systems.

      Microsoft must do something similar with their username. You can only change it once or twice I believe?

        With Xbox it is one free change I believe and then its a $20 charge?

        I guess the difference between the two is that Xbox will do so (even at cost) where PSN doesn't provide any facility at all which is a shame. Some people's PSN id's are like their first email address, awesome when you set it up but when you get older pikachulover88 just doesn't cut it anymore.

        Nope. You can change your MS name willy-nilly, but they put time-limits in to prevent trolling (once every 2-3 months I think).

        I've seen a few theories around why they haven't (or can't) make the change, but there's no reason why they couldn't dump those names into a separate field (as UID) and then replicate them across to another field that allows the changes. There's no scope to recover names that might get discarded, but it is a workable solution, nonetheless.

        As for my username - I loved it (it is pretty much BJ, same as here) - and it invokes fond memories of BJ Honeycutt (M*A*S*H) and BJ Novak (The Office), whereas the tweens who seem to fill up the online gaming community see it as something more ... sordid. :( I'd rather just dump it and go with a nice GenericUsername1234 (or similar).

    Any chance of bringing back CD playback? Or is that diode physically absent from the drive?

      CD's and DVD's use the same red laser tech, so there shouldnt be any reason it cant be done given you can play DVD's still. The level of tech changed with blu ray, because it went to the finer wavelength blue laser tech.

      There might be a couple more technicalities than that, but the core technology between CD's and DVD's is fundamentally the same, and given the other tech differences would be very small in nature, and cheap, I cant think of any practical reason they would leave it out.

    Even the most rusted on Playstation supporter will admit that using a dual shock for remote play will beat trying to use Vitas controls, particularly for games that had a lot of touch key mappings.

      Or an xperia phone. Unless youre on the crapper or missus wants the tv.

      Remote Play is infinitely shitter than playing on control.

      But not being able to play a game & having to endure Better Homes & Gardens is infinitely shitter than no game at all.

        Hahaha so much Witcher grinding while the lovely watched My Kitchen Rules.

          I jI cant do it with any game with depth to it! Feel like the Vita does it a disservice

          It is fantastic for Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Back to the Future though!!!

      I agree, the DS4 wins hands down, but I am probably one of the only people who dont mind the Vita controls.
      I almost exclusively played MGSV on the Vita and FO4 is looking like that too(except some of the text is too small to read sometimes)
      Most of my game time is on the bus into work, or on my lunch breaks too. These mobile share plans with lots of data are excellent by the way. Changing the resolution of remote play goes a long way too.

      Only problem I have is switching back to the DS4. For instance; FO4 - enabling VATS or crouching are mapped to two completely different keys depending on the control layout you are using.

        The small sticks and face buttons are a big deal breaker for me. I just can't seem to use it for any extended period.

    Usb hdd useage implemented yet?

      And let users play their own DRM free movies? Have you gone mad?


        Indeed, why give users what they actually want lol

          Not to go too far off topic but this is basically what all rights holders are trying to do with their respective media.

          They want the media to be like fresh produce: they want the media to disappear when consumed (business lingo, not mine) and have users buy the content again repeatedly for the additional viewing.

          And if uses don't view the content they'd like it to expire as well and follow the pattern mentioned above.

          The problem is, that 'dream' is not attainable and is not sustainable. But they are still gonna try.

          And personally, I'd love to see someone tally up the cost of R&D into copy protection mechanisms and see how much that costs Hollywood and others when it easily fails.

          When 4K media comes out here, there is going to be fireworks left right an centre as (if my sources are still correct) said content will require HDCP 2.0 which doesn't exist on many existing 4K TVs and even if that requirement is relaxed one still needs the bandwidth in HDMI 2.0(a) which again some TVs may not have.

          Anyhow, I've gone on this tangent long enough. But I can easily see piracy rates exploding with the release of 4K as users rip their own disks to hard drives so they can play the media on their 4K TVs.

            People with older 4K TVs will probably have to resort to using something like an HDFury box that effectively strips out HDCP:

              Wasn't there a recent court case that rendered those devices illegal?

              Legalities aside, the device still costs about $250 thus many users will go down the free route.

              It's only a matter of time before tools like MakeMKV (?) catch up and allow easy ripping of disks.

        ... You know they added a generic media player to the PS4 about eight months ago, right?

      Always was? I've been accessing media from an external hdd for years (?)

      Jokes aside, I myself have a PS4 and I like gaming on it from time to time. And for the brief period I had Netflix (more on that at the end of this post) I found it a good client for the application.

      But at the same time, I still keep my PS3 because when it comes to me just wanting to pop in a CD or a BluRay it is less of a hassle on the PS3 than the PS4.

      Call me anal but I am sick to death of the PS4 asking me every ****ing time if I would like to enable Internet connectivity for my BluRay disk. Even if I had the NBN, the answer would be no but I decide what my Internet usage is for, not the console.

      CDs, as I raised in my prior post, are easily playable on my PS3 but impossible for reasons I don't know yet on my PS4. Which is hilarious as CDs are not going to go away.

      And of course, I have a rich library of PS3 games. Personally I would have loved Sony to have kept to the Cell B.E. chip, the design had a lot of potential but the market just didn't grown so the architecture is pretty much dead.

      As for my comment on Netflix I'm not kidding myself. Netflix is impossible on ADSL even with the SD package.

        I hear ya on that, our ps3 still acts as a media server, we've got it set up to stream to and all that. It's a brilliant little platform which is disappointing when it comes to the ps4 with how utterly closed off it is. The kid still uses it for a few games with his mates, it must be pushing nearly 8 or 9 years since I got it??? It's fairly old now and its the original 2 controllers we got which are only *just* now starting to show signs of tear on one of the shoulder buttons, and this things had heavy as hell useage. That's a well built console. My ps4 however, I've already worn one thumb pad off the controller, a trigger feels like it's not as springy as it used to be and my first one (second one thanks to kotaku :D ) before I gave it away to a mate had to be repaired after it just stopped working one day out of the blue.

          This is the thing about the Cell B.E. chip (I'll keep it brief as I'm really drifting here).

          The innards of the chip was basically a memory controller, IO controller, one Power Processor Element (PPE) and multiple Synergistic Processing Units (SPUs). Everything was connected to a dual ring bus (one ring going clock wise between the cores and the controllers and the other the reverse).

          From memory the PS3 had seven SPUs all up so technically it was a eight core chip. But not in the same sense as PCs.

          The SPUs were limited in what they could do but it was possible to assign a piece of software called a kernel to each one. In effect, it was possible to set up a production line with swappable member inside the chip.

          For longevity, this was a good idea. As new features are required, it is possible to augment both the capabilities of the hardware chipset and fill in new gaps using kernels in the SPU.

          Needless to say this makes the chip a beast both in capabilities and for programming. And with IBM's pull out the chip itself is effectively dead.

          But at the same time, as well as having a good design they used fairly good components. My PS4 though feels like it mistakes itself for a launch model 360 as when I played Tomb Raider Definitive Edition on it the console produced enough head for me to turn it off and locate it outside the cabinet for fear it would fail. Never had to worry about that with my Phat PS3.

        I have a 4K TV and I stream 4K Netflix on ADSL2

      PS4 has had support for media playback from USB for ages. I don't think you can install games to it, though, and as far as I'm aware they're not planning in introducing that - I suspect they'd just tell you to upgrade the internal HDD if you want more space for games.

        Yeah I know you can use the USB's, it'd just be nice if you could hook up a nice 2tb usb3.0 hdd for games installation and never worry about space again :\

          I agree external HDDs would be very nice for media playback etc, but if it's pure game installation space you're after - why not just replace the hard drive (something Xbox won't let you do)?

          I think there's still a 1TB limit, so not ideal, but it helps a lot. Takes 5 minutes and just uses standard 2.5" drives. I did it to my day 1 PS4 as soon as I got it home, haha.

            The 1tb limit on the internal hdd can be limiting at times, it's a solid question as to why in this day and age we can't plug in external media that has fast enough read speeds and write speeds and utilise that? I don't really want to have to go buy a new internal HDD when I have said USB3.0 2tb hdd sitting around already. We obviously *will* have to at some point, or just stick with pc which has been happening more and more, it's just disappointing to see them not come to the party on something like this.

              Yep, fair enough. I see for you the external HDD is an important issue, so obviously this is something that affects you more.

              What 1TB limit? I put a 2TB in mine.

                Nice, used to be the physical size of the hdd's limited what you could put into the playstations so 1tb was the limit (at the time). If it's exceeded, that's awesome :)

                  Yes - has to be 9.5mm to fit in the bracket, and there wasn't much choice in that size a couple of years ago. I did mine last year sometime, when I realised I had only 20GB free on the original 500GB drive. :-o 2TB should see me right for a while...

                  Can go bigger capacity if you use a dock thingy like the Nyko databank which will take a 3.5" drive as capacious as you'd like, but makes the PS4 look like a Guppy.

                  When you change the hdd over, how do you get all the operating system and save files and updates etc transferred over to the new one?


                  Sorry, I didn't see your question 'til today (and apologies to weresmurf for zombie reply).

                  Steps to get it working on a new system are:

                  1) Back up PS4 to external drive. I deleted all the locally installed games I wasn't likely to play in the near future to save time here (and because I only had a 320GB external handy and had 450GB used on the PS4) - can always reinstall later.

                  2) Download latest PS4 firmware to USB stick (Instructions here...

                  3) Shut down PS4, install new drive.

                  4) Fire up PS4 and format/install firmware from USB stick.

                  5) Restore backup from external drive.

                Yup, @weresmurf had it right below. But if that's no longer the case, that's great!

              Yeah, nah.. The 1TB limit was fixed last year - around mid year from memory?? I have a 2TB M9T and it works a treat...

                Nice. I used to be on top of all this, having worked in IT extensively. Then I got out of it all, got into Education and tbh, once you're out and don't pay attention, it gets away from you so quickly lol.

                It was definitely fixed before mid 2015; I upgraded mine almost as soon as I bought it, which was around six months after the PS4 was released as I recall (March 2014).

                Actually sourcing 2.5" 2TB drives was much harder then; I actually bought a 2TB external drive from Amazon and swapped the drive with the PS4 one. But it worked without any particular messing around.

            I have a 1.5tb harddrive installed but you can get 2tb as well, this was the last time I looked anyway which was at time of ps4 launch so it may have changed since then

            Wow, couldn't help yourself with the side sledge?
            The PS4 is crippled when it comes to using an external drive, doesnt even compare with the xbone.

              It's a fact? My girlfriend has an Xbone and I think it's a great console, I was just stating a fact. Xbone lets you connect an external HDD, but not replace the internal one. PS4 lets you replace the internal HDD but not connect an external one. Horses for courses.

              The console you own =/= your self worth. There's lots of things each does right, and lots they each do wrong.

    Remote play for PC seems way more useful to me than it does for my Vita.

    Remote play on PC. I'm keen for that.

      Yep, it works a dream on Xbox, but having support for it on my Mac (my main device) will give it the edge over Microsoft.

    Remote play on PC? Throws PSTV into bin

    Appear offline! Finally. It was one of the things that made me miss my Xbox360, a last gen console.

    Thanks to destiny and it's REALLY awesome matchmaking, I added a bunch of people that I otherwise wouldn't have to be part of their fireteam. Weird, sad people that would kick you if you didn't add them to join their Atheon checkpoint.

    Destiny *shakes head*

    "Appear offline"


    LET ME BULK DELETE UPLOAD NOTIFICATIONS...........why? Is it a legal thing?

      You sing the song of my people.

    I want the notification that my DS4 has disconnected to not appear. Every time I'm watching something be it from Plex, Bluray, Netflix I have to deal with the notification. And you can't leave the DS4 constantly on because the battery life is terrible compared to the DS3.

    Can't wait for the PS4 Media Remote to be available here.

      I wish they'd just enable the PS3 Bluetooth remotes - in particular, the harmony adapter. It's obviously possible, they just don't want to!

      Can you even turn the ds4 controllers off? ?

    All things considered, I personally believe Sony has made better decisions than Microsoft regarding priorities of feature implementation and stability. I don't know if other people have noticed or not, but the Xbox One still feels as though it has a slow sluggish OS. Whether it be certain apps, or just plain navigating the damn thing, to me it sucks.

    I've had an Xbox One since launch whereas I recently got a PS4. To be honest, if NOT having those friend feature things means the console does what the Xbox One struggles with (not just my console but even my friends, and he has NBN, so no excuse IMO there either) regarding regular processes, then I think that's acceptible (debatably both should have had more from launch, but i'm talking for where they've been at since).. Something that generally frustrated me with the Xbox One is that most of the focus seems to be on these extra features, but little has been done to address or even acknowlege other faults. Hell, it's only just been recently announced that achievements would have more OS integration rather than just the slow stupid app.

    In most regards I was happier with the various 360 dashboard versions, as despite their faults, they felt less frustrating than the xbox one - at least they so much as had static disc tab for starting a game at all times for instance. Both the present and previous layout of the xbox one feel like they fail with fundamentals like that, but that's my opinion I guess...

    (P.S. I'm NOT a Sony fan boy; the PS4 certainly has its own flaws - some frustratingly enough are intentionally designed to be there, but what I'm referring to is simply regular usage and user friendliness rather than the various other aspects - on that, this generation felt like a huge step backwards).

      I'm a relatively new xbone owner, and find the interface terrible. Signing in with a passcode is harder than it should be. I am often unsure of where I want to go to do something (game hub? manage game?) and find there are many times where I get stuck with a button or an entire screen that is stuck loading something. I also find it offensive that I am able to pin items, but not to the main screen: they would much rather use the home screen space for a massive screenshot and a variety of attempts to sell stuff to me. The download speeds are also noticeably worse than the PS4.

      And yes, I also feel that some of these are a step back from the 360 (though some, like not pinning to the home screen, are an obvious design philosophy).

    Welcome to 2005 people, what a time to be alive! The future is now.

    As an Xbox user who's been enjoying these features for about a decade, how did you PS users live without appearing offline and seeing what your friends are playing and joining them?

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