With PlayStation 5's latest firmware update 21.02-04, Sony added a boatload of enhancements and new features, making the experience of using the system that little bit better. As always, though, there is room for the console's software to improve further, and there are still a few pretty obvious things to take PS5's firmware up a notch.
Of course, Sony is well aware that there's still plenty of potential for the future; the company has a list of "interesting, exciting, fantastic ideas" for firmware updates, and we're excited to find out what they are. In the meantime, here's a list of firmware update features we'd very much like to see as PS5 closes in on its second year.
A commonly requested feature for PS5 is the return of folders for games and apps. Introduced on PS4 in 2016, folders are a super-handy way of organising all your software, tidying up the string of icons and giving you easier access to your games. Obviously the PS5 shows you your nine most recently used games and apps, and for everything else there's the library on the far right of the home screen. However, having the option of sorting our digital collections into simple folders would be a welcome convenience. Bring them back!
The PS5's home screen fills your display with a key image of whatever game you have highlighted, and while it does look smart, it means that custom themes aren't currently a thing on Sony's latest console. Starting on PS3, we've had access to free and premium themes to furnish our system's front end with static and animated backgrounds, sound effects, music, and icons. Right now, players have to settle for PS5's default look, but we don't see the harm in letting users customise their experience.
Pinned Games and Apps
This is a feature we wanted on PS4, but it never happened. It's with renewed hope, then, that we bring back the idea of pinning favourite games to the start of the home screen. Similar to folders, the ability to pin or lock specific games and applications would just give us quick access to our favourite, most-used stuff. If you use PS Now a lot, for example, wouldn't it be nice to just have it permanently on your home screen, instead of potentially having to dig around for it in the library?
Improvements to Player Stat Tracking
PS5 does keep track of the amount of time you spend in each game, but from our experience, the numbers can be a little inaccurate. We'd like to see Sony iron out this aspect of the system software, as it's interesting to see how many hours you've been playing your favourites. More than that, though, it would be nice for Sony to expand on this aspect. Player stats could be turned into a more social feature; imagine a playtime leaderboard where you can compare your times with your friends, or compare how long it took you to achieve certain Trophies. There's lots of potential for improvement in this area.
More Games and Apps on the Home Screen
The home screen on PS5 keeps things very minimal, with a small ribbon of icons taking up a tiny percentage of real estate on your display. While the nice, big images for each game look good, especially on a 4K HDR telly, there's absolutely room to squeeze a few more icons onto the main menu. Perhaps Sony could make it an option that you can choose how many games can appear in the line?
This is something we know is on the cards. After making a minority investment earlier in the year, Sony will be working with Discord to integrate it into PS5's social features, potentially making it a lot easier to party up and chat with friends. It's coming next year, so we should be able to strike this one off the list relatively soon.
Since the PS3, Sony has included a basic web browser on each console, but the PS5 strangely doesn't feature one. Well, it sort of does, letting you load up specific pages related to the system and some games, but there's no way to just boot up the browser and surf the internet like you can on PS4. It's an odd omission, and probably a very easy feature to include in the future.
VRR, or variable refresh rate, essentially eliminates screen tearing when you're playing games. Sometimes, the refresh rate of your TV and the game you're running won't align properly, resulting in artifacting and a "torn" image effect. VRR is a quick-fix solution to remedy this, but it's something that isn't supported on PS5. Not yet, anyway. Xbox Series X and S do support this functionality, so it would be great if VRR could make its way to Sony's system in the future. Apparently it is coming, but there's no word on when.
1440p Resolution Support
The PS5 is, reasonably enough, expected to be used with TVs, which these days run at 1080p or 4K resolution. However, many modern computer monitors opt for an in-between resolution of 1440p; better image quality than the lower "full HD" standard, but not so taxing as a full-blown 4K image. Unfortunately, the PS5 doesn't support 1440p right now, and once again, the competition does. We're sure it's more complicated to implement things like this and VRR than we imagine, but hopefully this will be implemented soon.
View PS5 Game Patch Notes
A small but incredibly useful feature introduced on PS4 was the ability to look at a game's version history, letting you peruse the patch notes with each update. Bizarrely, on PS5, you can still check out patch notes for PS4 games, but not PS5 games. The functionality is there, in other words — it's just been disabled for PS5 titles, for reasons we cannot fathom. A bit of an odd decision, this one. Come on, Sony, this one's easy.
Back Up Save Data on USB Storage
Another function on PS4 but not PS5 is the ability to copy save data to a USB drive. On Sony's previous console, you can make copies of your game saves to a USB stick, which allows you to not only back up your data in case something goes wrong, but take your save to another PS4 and continue your game. That luxury is missing on PS5, and it'd be good to see it make a return.
Delete Individual PS5 Save Data Files
Once again, this is something that's possible on PS4, but is missing on PS5 — sort of. If you want to thin out your save data on PS4, you can go in and delete files individually, giving you granular control over what saves your system keeps in memory. On PS5, though, your only option when it comes to a PS5 game's save data is to delete everything. You can't delve in further and choose which save files to remove — it's all or nothing. The best game to use as an example is Death Stranding, which creates dozens of individual saves while you play, instead of overwriting. With Director's Cut on PS5, you'll have to hold onto all of those outdated and unnecessary files just so you can use the one you actually need. Arguably that's on Kojima Productions, but the point remains that this functionality is missing on PS5 — at least for PS5 games.
That's what we want to see from future PS5 firmware updates. What about you? Do you have any other suggestions for how PS5's system software can improve going forward? Vote in our poll, and share your thoughts in the comments section below.