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Why tomorrow's PlayStation 4 update is a bigger deal than people assume

Tomorrow's PlayStation 4 update is a big frickin' deal.

This is partly due to the fact that Sony is finally keeping its promise by adding the suspend/resume feature that was promised when the system was announced. Why is this a big deal?

"Supported by nearly all of your PS4 games, you can jump in and out of your games with just the press of the PS button," the Official PlayStation blog post explained "Quickly switch from Rest Mode to powered-up so you can pick up where you left off."

No more asking for a few more minutes to get to the next save point, nor will you have to worry if say ... a kid wakes up in the middle of the night and begins to vomit. You can save and pick up your progress again at any point.

The Xbox One had long offered this feature, and Sony is finally giving it to PlayStation 4 owners. It may not sound like a huge deal, but for players who are often called away on other family-related business this is going to be a life saver, and it's inclusion in the  PS4 is long overdue.

More people will be able to play games

Here is the full list of updates for accessibility:

  • Customized button assignments for DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller.
  • Zoom for displayed pictures and inverted colors for all system functions, apps and in-game.
  • Text-to-speech for all graphical user interface, including Message and Party.
  • Enlarged text for all graphical user interface, including Message and Party, as well as the system’s browser.
  • Bolder fonts and higher contrast UI for all system applications (but will not apply to games or third-party applications).

It's likely that many of our readers will be tempted to blow these changes off as minor to the point of irrelevance, but if you're one of the millions of players who enjoys games and has to deal with any number of issues that impact your sight or manual dexterity this is a literal game changer.

To put it bluntly? More people will be able to comfortably play more games, and that's a great thing. A wider pool means that more people get to swim, and Sony just took a few steps towards making the most popular current-generation console a bit more welcoming for many people. Well done.

The PlayStation 4 will be more social

Sony's ultimate goal is to make sure you don't even think about picking up games on other systems, and social features are a big part of why that would happen.

One of the most important steps towards that goal is making the PlayStation 4 the best platform for social gaming. People want to play on the same console as their friends, and seeing that all their friends are playing something will be more likely to push them towards making the same purchase. No one wants to be left out of the fun.

The ability to send a friend request and a real-name request in the same step is cool, as is a reduction in steps to setting up a party, but the real draw here is tighter Facebook integration and more information about who on your friends list is playing which game. Here are the two bullets points on which you'll want to focus:

  • Find Friends who play your games — Easily view what friends are playing on each game detail page with a real-time "Friends Who Play This" section, which also highlights which friends are currently online and playing it, and if you own the game, allows you to jump directly into the game.
  • Join Friends directly from news feed — A new tile will be added on your What’s New feed where you can see what your friends are currently playing, enabling you to join in the game if you own it.

The idea is that you'll get online, know exactly what your friends are playing while being able to easily join them. The faster you get this information the easier it will be to play with your friends, and Sony is making it easier to take action once you see your friends are playing a game. If you don't have the game? Maybe you should think about picking it up.

These social features are good news for a number of reasons, but Sony knows that every friend you have playing a game is like a commercial for that title, and they want you to be constantly thinking about the fun you may be missing if you don't pick up each new release that fills up your notifications.

More people will be able to comfortably play more games

Heck, with verified accounts you'll now know when you're playing with a developer or other notable person online; Sony has effectively found a way to promote the ideas of gaming celebrities playing on its platform. That's a big new idea, and it's likely this is just the beginning of Sony's push for making "notable" people more visible on the PlayStation 4.

There are a few smaller features that will be added, but overall this is a powerful update that adds some much-needed abilities to the PlayStation 4 while also making sure you stay comfortably stuck in Sony's ecosystem. If console dominance is at the end of Sony's yellow brick road, this is what the cobblestones look like a few miles into the journey.

The next level of puzzles.

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