The new PS5 system update adds some much-needed functionality and quality of life changes to Sony’s current-gen console, like the ability to expand the PS5’s storage via the previously locked SSD bay.
But there’s one new addition in the upcoming PS5 system update that’s so achingly simple, you’d wonder how you ever lived without it. And unlike opening up the PS5 to install an SSD – which frankly, not every user will do – this change will be instantly appreciated by everyone, especially those who have had a PlayStation 5 since launch.
It may have taken over eight months to implement, but the PS5 now shows what platform each game in your library is on. A little label clearly indicates whether a game is for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 or both, and it immediately makes it obvious whether you’re selecting the right version of a game.
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Case in point: I picked up a physical copy of Square Enix’s sublime Final Fantasy 7 Remake, with the intention of upgrading it to the PS5 version. As both versions use the same cover art, it can be difficult to know which version is the right one when displayed on the home screen. However, with the new PS5 update, I can immediately see which is the PS5 version and which is the PS4 version. Huzzah!
Adding platform labels to the PS5 UI is a move that matches what Microsoft has done on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Games that are optimized for Microsoft’s new hardware are prominently marked with an X|S symbol, so there’s never any doubt as to whether you’re buying or booting up the right version. Microsoft even goes as far as to label original Xbox and Xbox 360 games, to avoid any confusion on the user’s part.
On PS5, that hasn’t always been the case, with many users falling into the trap of downloading the last-gen version of a game, or simply not knowing exactly which version they were about to play. Even though Sony largely fixed this annoying issue, I’ve still fallen into this trap myself of loading up the wrong version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 after it received a free next-gen upgrade.
Having these simple little platform indicators also makes it easier to navigate the PlayStation Store. You can now tell at a glance whether you’re hovering over the PS5 or PS4 version of a game, without any second guessing required or the need to carefully read the product information.
The move to adding distinct tags on PS5 to signify which version of a game you have installed is particularly important on Sony’s console due to the way some next-gen updates are handled.
Often, you’ll need to keep your PS4 version of the game to make sure you’ve uploaded your save data before starting the fancy new PlayStation version. On Xbox Series X and S, keeping your old version of a title isn’t required thanks to Smart Delivery and Xbox Cloud Saves, which automatically detects the best version of the game available for your system, and your save data is always synchronized to the cloud so you needn’t worry about uploading or downloading old save data.
More to come
It might not grab the headlines quite like Sony opening up the PS5’s internal SSD bay, but there’s no doubt that Sony’s decision to add labels to PS5 and PS4 games certainly makes the console’s UI more intuitive overall. If both Sony and Microsoft want to continue to support backwards compatibility in the future (though Sony could do a lot more in this regard), the need to show users what version of a game they're playing will continue to be a necessity.
While system updates aren’t quite as frequent as they are on Xbox Series X|S, which will soon get a night mode and 4K dashboard, Sony is clearly listening to consumer feedback and implementing some pleasing quality of life features.