Sony’s next major system software update for the PlayStation 4 is now available for testing in a closed beta, and we finally know what the version 5.0 firmware may bring to the console. Arguably none of its new elements are as big of a deal as the ones in the most recent major update, v4.50, which added features like support for USB external storage.
Chief among the new items in the v5.0 update is an overhaul of the way that Sony handles parental controls. Under the current system, a parent can use their own “master account” to create “sub accounts” for up to six family members under 18. However, any parental controls — such as preventing access to games based on their ESRB rating — apply to all users on the same console, including adults.
Sony is looking to replace that system in PS4 v5.0 with “Family on PlayStation Network.” With the new setup, the PSN will allow multiple adults to be part of the same “family.” The original account holder, the “family manager,” will be able to promote another adult in the family to the position of “parent/guardian,” and then both individuals will be able to adjust parental controls. In addition, the new system will let adults customize parental controls for each child account in the family.
Another major area of focus in the upcoming firmware update is friends management and notifications. Sony is adding a long-awaited setting: the ability to disable notification pop-ups during video playback — an option that has been available on Xbox 360 for ages, and was added to Xbox One less than a year after the console’s launch. Users will also be able to customize the color of the pop-up windows, and enable a privacy mode for PSN message pop-ups that hides their sender and content. In addition, notifications will be accessible from the Quick Menu, allowing players to easily check in on download progress and party invites.
On the friends side, PS4 v5.0 replaces the friends page’s existing Favorite Groups tab with a feature that allows users to group their PSN friends into customized lists. Looking to quickly find out if your Destiny 2 buddies are online? Set up a list with them on it!
For PlayStation 4 Pro owners, the v5.0 update will enable broadcasting games via Twitch at 60 frames per second in 1080p resolution. Assuming that Sony releases the new firmware to everybody soon, that will be a fast turnaround: Twitch only added support for 1080p60 streaming at the end of March. Check out the full PlayStation Blog post for further details on the v5.0 update, which is codenamed “Nobunaga.”
Access to beta testing for the v5.0 firmware is invite-only; Sony began taking sign-ups about a month ago, when it said it planned to begin the beta in “early August.”