PS4 Update 2.0 is a coming software update that’ll add a ton of much-needed features to the Sony’s video game console including custom themes, support for Share Play streaming and music playback from a USB flash drive.
PlayStation’s Scott McCarthy provided PS4 users and potential buyers this holiday season with a preview of what they can expect on the PlayStation Blog earlier this week, though he didn’t share release date details.
For most, the big changes are all going to be in the PS4’s user experience. Today the PS4 software looks the same for everyone. There’s a pretty plain background with tiles that represent all the console’s core functions imposed over top of it. To clean up the interface Sony is cutting back on the amount of games that get shown to users on-screen. Now 15 most used games and apps are shown automatically and there’s a library that sorts through the rest of the games and apps installed on the PS4 in alphabetical order.
For a gaming console, being able to connect players with friends is crucial. It’s Sony’s job to keep players engaged and make it easy for them to find new friends to play their games with. To that end, Sony has added an automatic suggestion system that surfaces gamers users may know in the What’s New section. Being able to watch live broadcasts of others playing their games has become a pretty popular activity in the last year or so and Sony, Microsoft and game developers have used live streams to get the word out about their games. Live From PlayStation now sorts streams between those officially coming from Sony and those of user’s PlayStation Network friends. The PS Vita and PS TV are also getting support for Live From PlayStation in a separate update.
Like other entertainment devices that you interact with a lot, the PS4 needed customization. It wasn’t that the interface the PS4 had wasn’t pleasant, it’s just that users like to customize their technology and make it their own. Following PS4 Update 2.0 users will be able to change the background that they see inside the PS4 home screen. Additionally, Sony has added customization colors. Light blue, green, gold, red, purple, pink and gray are all supported. Sony already said that it had plans to introduce themes that users can download from its PlayStation Network Store. That functionality is also added in PS4 Update 2.0.
Other features included in PS4 Update 2.0 aren’t as flashy but just as crucial. The PlayStation Camera is still a separate accessory that users need to purchase, but Sony is working hard to make that purchase worthwhile. This update includes new voice commands for PS4 and PlayStation Camera owners. A new list of all available commands is available by just saying “All Commands.” “Start Broadcast” and “End Broadcast” now let users stream video game footage without having to leave their game experience.
Finally, a crucial change involving flash drives are included in PS4 Update 2.0. Starting with this update, users will be able to load music onto a flash drive and play it on their console while they’re gaming. That’s not as seamless as DLNA media streaming, but it’s a start. Supported file formats include MP3s, MP4s, M4A and 3GP. This is a huge feature for PS4 owners, most of which balked at not being able to listen to music while playing games. To be clear, you could stream music during games, but only if you signed up for Sony’s Music Unlimited streaming service.
Originally, Sony said that users would be able to back up their settings to a flash drive with PS4 Update 2.0. As an update to the original post reveals, that’s not accurate. Presumably, users will get that functionality at some point, but it’s not included in this update.