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First PS5 update adds USB system storage for games, new social features

Free up SSD space with external storage for PlayStation 5 software

The PlayStation 5 laying on its side, turned off Photo: James Bareham/Polygon
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The first major system update for PlayStation 5 arrives Wednesday, April 14, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced Tuesday. That update will add new features, including external USB storage support for PS5 games and new social features that enable cross-generation Share Play between PS5 and PlayStation 4.

The biggest new feature coming in Wednesday’s software update is support for external USB drives for PS5 game storage. The option will let PS5 owners move installed games from the internal SSD to a compatible USB drive, and vice versa. The update will not enable the option to play PS5 games directly from external USB storage, nor will it enable the ability to upgrade the PS5’s internal SSD storage.

Here’s Sony’s description of the new feature from the PlayStation Blog:

Store PS5 Games on Compatible External USB Drives.* With this feature, you can now transfer your PS5 games to USB extended storage from your console’s internal storage. It’s a great way to extend the storage capabilities of your PS5 console, and you can seamlessly copy your PS5 games back to the console’s internal storage when you’re ready to play. It is faster to reinstall PS5 games from USB extended storage than to re-download or copy them from a disc.

Because PS5 games are designed to take advantage of the console’s ultra high-speed SSD, PS5 titles can’t be played from USB extended storage. PS5 titles also cannot be directly downloaded to USB extended storage. However, games that you transfer or copy back to internal storage will automatically update when applicable. In addition, you can select which game modes you want to install (such as campaign or multiplayer) for select titles that support the option.

PS5 will also soon be able to Share Play together with players on the previous-generation PlayStation, PS4. Here’s Sony’s description of the new feature:

Cross-generation Share Play. PS4 and PS5 players can now Share Play together while chatting in parties. This means PS5 console users can let their friends on PS4 consoles view their game screen, or even try out the PS5 games through Share Play, and vice versa. Options include the ability to share your screen with a friend, pass your controller virtually to a friend, or pass a second controller virtually to play co-op games together.

Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Finally, Sony promises new features for the PlayStation App for mobile devices. “Recently, we introduced the ability to save products in a wishlist, get notifications when your friends are online, and change your console online status,” Sony said. “In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out even more, including the ability to join a multiplayer session on PS5 from the app, manage your PS5 console storage, compare trophy collections with friends, and sort and filter products shown in the PlayStation Store.”