Firmware updates on the PlayStation 3 were serious business. Take a gander at some of our older articles on the subject and you’ll spot more than a handful of prickly jabs pointed at people that complained about the constant need to update the console. In hindsight, it was a problem, with the system seemingly taking an age to pull down files and install them – a wait which was particularly pronounced when you’d just picked up a new game and were eager to play. Sony said back when the PlayStation Vita launched that it was aiming to reduce the number of patches that it published to quell this issue, and while it didn’t pan out immediately, it’s certainly the case now. Why, then, are message boards and social networks ablaze with complaints regarding the lack of meaningful PlayStation 4 tweaks?

Twitter users will probably be familiar with the popular Kaz Hirai parody account – a surprisingly comical interpretation of the Japanese giant’s overlord. “We have decided not to release PS4 firmware update v1.70 in response to the years of complaints that we release too many firmware updates,” he gagged earlier this week. It’s just a joke, but it’s surprisingly on point. Venture onto any active website and you’ll find concerned users citing the platform holder’s lack of activity in this area as evidence of an oncoming corporate malaise. The fact that Microsoft has been quite active in this space – fixing many Xbox One issues that weren’t really present on the PlayStation maker’s platform, we hasten to add – seems to have given early adopters itchy fingers. But is the issue all just a consequence of our incessant whining?

A quick look at the imminent firmware update that the firm has announced suggests that it’s going to be a meaty one. Stability updates have been the bane of Sony systems for the past seven or so years, but there’s nothing especially inconsequential about its upcoming patch. The headline addition promises an overhaul to the share functionality, with rumours suggesting that the manufacturer may even have enlisted the Sony Vegas Pro team to create a fully featured video editing suite. Then there’s the removal of HDCP, and the promise of further improvements to the system’s Twitch streaming. Moreover, there are hints that there will be more hidden under the update’s hood, with speculation spanning incremental upgrades like game sorting to major changes such as PlayStation Network username tweaks.

In a lot of cases, we suspect that the anticipation is getting ahead of some people, but the point is that firmware update v1.70 sounds like a big one – and it represents a change in the platform holder’s strategy. In the past, these updates would have probably deployed as individual downloads, with each install unlocking one or two of the features. Alas, consumer complaints appear to have coerced the company into adapting its approach, with numerous sweeping changes seemingly getting bundled into one massive patch that promises to completely re-energise your console. The problem is that the criticism hasn’t ceased – instead, the chorus of condemnation is coming from a different corner of the web, as some ponder whether the manufacturer’s looked at its current sales figures and decided to call it a day.

Perhaps the biggest oversight from the platform holder’s perspective is that it seems to have forgotten how harmless firmware updates on the PS4 actually are. Even an ardent fan of the firm’s previous platform would have to agree that patches of any kind on the ageing format could be a bit of a palaver. With the device demanding sizeable downloads and irritating installs, it could eat into your gaming time – even if not all of us employed that delay to write a hasty rant on Twitter or Facebook. Alas, these issues are much a thing of the past on the Japanese giant’s next-gen system, as any updates can be pulled down when the console’s in standby while you’re away. The flaws that made outspoken folks dread the PS3’s stability fixes are no longer really an issue on the manufacturer’s latest machine.

So that brings us to the question at the heart of this article: how frequently do you actually want PS4 firmware updates to be implemented? Would you still get irritated if the manufacturer was releasing semi-regular fixes for the system, or do you think that the strides in background downloading would temper your anger at install screens? Would you prefer to have one big upcoming overhaul to look forward to, or lots of little ones to play with every few weeks? There’s no doubt that our feedback over the past seven or so years has prompted the platform holder to adopt its current course, but it would appear that we’re equally unhappy with its response. Certainly the manufacturer should be taking into account our feedback, but perhaps it would help if we actually knew what we wanted in the first place.


Would you prefer that Sony released fewer big patches on the PS4, or lots of little ones? Do you wish that the platform holder would commit to a calendar of upcoming changes, or would you rather be surprised on the firmware update’s release day? Pick a side in the comments section below.

How frequently do you want PS4 firmware updates? (48 votes)

I want lots and lots of little improvements, please

54%

Hmm, I don’t really know

6%

Just give me one large patch every now and then

40%

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