If your PlayStation 4 looks a little different today, that's because your machine probably updated overnight with firmware 3.00. While it's a system update less sweeping than its version number implies, and the launch hasn't been without hiccups and oversights, it comes with some pretty nifty new features.
Here are the full patch notes for firmware 3.0, by the way.
Cosmetically, not much has changed. This isn't an overhaul that will have you reaching for your glasses. It still looks like the PS4 you booted up yesterday.
While it's still early days, the newly added communities feature, found by heading over to the friends tab, is likely to change your PSN experience the most. Some games have clan features, but communities lets this happen on a grander scale. Having trouble finding Destiny partners for patrolling Mars? Want access to a larger pool of players without booking an enormous list of friends?
The problem right now, unfortunately, is finding the right group. There's no search functionality, which means discoverability is a pain in the arse.
If you're hoping to find a specific group, there are two (crappy) options:
- Scroll through the most popular groups and hope it's listed there.
- Find a PSN account already in the group, look them up, and shuffle over.
It's not a great experience, and it's unclear when or if search is coming. When asked to comment, Sony only confirmed search was not part of the update.
The ability to post messages and announcements, however, should help connect players in a way that was previously relegated to email, Skype, Twitter, etc.
Making a community is super easy, too. It only takes a few minutes.
There were reports earlier of people having trouble making groups, though.
I had no such problem, which makes me think this was the result of everyone rushing to make groups the moment the firmware went live. It seems fine now.
While reading about how the firmware was going over with PlayStation owners, I stumbled into complaints about how Sony had apparently removed the ability to stream music off a USB stick. While Sony confirmed the UPS Player App has been discontinued, the functionality isn't gone, forcing everyone into buying a Spotify subscription. Instead, playing music off USB has been moved over to the Media Player app, which after opening, you manage by tapping the PS button.
redditor frank26080115 even pointed out how to make it work, step-by-step:
It's easy to miss one of the subtler additions to the interface, too. By opening the PlayStation Plus icon in the upper left-hand corner, there's now a section dedicated to laying out what's happening on Sony's paid service that month and managing what you've downloaded from it over the past few years.
And given I'm going to spending more time online, thanks to Destiny getting rad, I'm psyched about some of the other social features that Sony's worked into this update. Notably, I'm digging the ability to create friend groups, useful when you wanna chat with folks playing the games you're regularly booting up. It's nice enough to point out which conversations you've already had, if you've already been shoehorning this functionality into the PS4's messaging service.
There are some weird growing pains with this update right now, too. If you load up the events hub, meant to provide players with an easy way to track community events in select multiplayer games, it takes a long arse time to load.
Does it look herky jerky? Well, that's what it's like on my PS4.
The updated Live on PlayStation app is also having difficulty categorising which games are being streamed, too, resulting in games getting listed multiple times.
There are lots of small touches, too. Do you, like me, not give a shit when you earn a trophy? These moments, previously captured automatically, can now be turned off by holding the share button for a few seconds and going into settings.
Plus, it's now possible to have screens saved as a PNG file, not a JPEG. That makes 'em look nicer, though it will take more space on your hard drive. The difference was 257KB vs. 2.26MB for this Destiny screen shot I took today.
Of course, firmware 3.00 still doesn't address some of the features players have been demanding for years. You can't change your name, there's no way to sort games into folders, wallpapers can't be designed and personalised by users, there's no way to filter out games that aren't installed anymore, and more.
And if you're someone who doesn't really interact with other users or mostly plays singleplayer games offline, it's easy to see why firmware 3.00 might be pretty boring. There's not much for you here. Maybe next year?
What else are you enjoying/digging/hating/wondering about the update? Let me know in the comments.