Sony rolled out a firmware update for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 this morning. Around the same time, PlayStation’s online services went down, with players reporting connection issues with Elden Ring and GTAV, among other titles. It’s not yet clear if there’s a connection between the update and the downtime.
The software update introduces system-wide support for a number of features previously only available in beta testing. You’ll be able to create or join open (any friends allowed) or closed (invite-only) parties on both consoles. The PS5 will receive support for mono audio headphones, and there’s additional functionality — well, for players based in the U.S. and U.K. — for voice commands. Those features come alongside some minor UI tweaks. Not included in today’s update, but revealed by Sony as a feature planned for the coming months, is the ability to activate variable refresh rate on PS5.
Outages for PSN, PlayStation’s online network, started around 8:30 a.m. ET, according to Sony’s status page. The issues impact the PlayStation Store (“You might have difficulty getting products on the PlayStation Store”), the PlayStation Now games-on-demand service (“You might have difficulty streaming PlayStation Now games”), and the network’s broad “gaming and social” umbrella (“You might have difficulty launching games, apps, or network features”).
It’s unclear what caused the outages. Representatives for Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
These issues have spurred some people on social media to warn players against downloading the latest update, but that’s a moot PSA, since you need to have your console fully updated to use Sony’s online services in the first place.
Testing it out myself, I found the issues were inconsistent. Directly from the PS5’s dashboard, I was able to add one of the monthly games included with PS Plus to my account. But when I tried to party up with randos in Outriders — People Can Fly’s flawed but tremendously enjoyable third-person shooter whose praises I’ll sing until the heat death of the universe — I couldn’t. The system wouldn’t recognise that I’m signed up for PS Plus. (I am.)
This isn’t the only major service outage to impact PlayStation in recent days. Just last week, online services for Gran Turismo 7, the big PlayStation exclusive du jour, went down for more than 24 hours — not a reassuring forbear for a company planning a major push into live-service gaming.
In January, Sony purchased Bungie, the makers of Destiny 2, the uber-popular service shooter, for $US3.6 ($5) billion. On Monday, Sony announced its purchase of Haven Studios, a new studio helmed by industry vet Jade Raymond. Haven hasn’t yet released or even revealed anything, but its first game will be a PS5-exclusive live-service game…