Sony is looking for beta testers for the next big PS5 update

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,725   +1,176
Staff member
In a nutshell: If trying out new features before everybody else is your thing, you might be interested to know that the first PlayStation 5 beta program opened today. Bear in mind that you will have to provide feedback to Sony. You might also have to deal with system-breaking bugs, but you can revert back at any time.

On Thursday, Sony announced a beta testing program for its upcoming PlayStation 5 system software. Sony has opened console operating systems for public testing in the past, but this will be the first for the PS5. However, it's a closed beta, so only those selected for the program can get the software.

Beginning today, those interested in being the first to try out new features on the PlayStation 5 can opt-in at Sony's Beta Program registration website using their PSN credentials. Users must be over the age of 18, and the beta is only open to those in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, and France. Registering does not guarantee placement.

Sony will contact users via email with instructions on how to install the system software. Unselected users remain in the opt-in queue as potentials for future tests. Additionally, anyone wanting out of the test can revert to the latest stable build at any time. As with any OS beta, it's a good idea to backup your entire system in the event things go awry.

Sony does expect feedback during the testing period but did not mention how users would process it. It will likely be through a web form, but it's also possible that there will be a way to provide reports directly through the PS5.

The console maker also did not mention what new features to expect in the upcoming update. However, the PS5 has plenty of locked potential Sony has yet to implement. The PS5's M.2 SSD slot for expanded fast storage immediately comes to mind. Sony has kept that feature locked since launch, but PS5's lead architect Mark Cerny did promise to open it up once Sony had nailed down some SSD OEMs to produce compatible units.

Interface changes are also a possibility. One issue I have had with the PS5 UI is the functionality of the PS button. A long press takes you to the home screen, and a short press pulls up the taskbar and cards. Even after over two months of use, I am still not used to it, and the whole thing feels clunky to me.

Speculation and gripes aside, Sony promised to release more information on what to expect in the next update within the coming weeks. If testing goes well, the stable release should be ready later this year.

Image credit: Mohsen Vaziri

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Posts: 18   +18
I’ll sign up if there’s a chance they’ll be adding a Power button while you’re logged in instead of having to logout and then enter test mode/restart/shut down.

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,725   +1,176
Staff member
They need to bring the quick menu that the PS4 had, so useful during game sessions.
Yeah. That's part of the clunkiness I was talking about.

EDIT: You know, I hadn't really thought about it until this conversation, but part of what makes the PS button so clunky now is that Sony reversed its functionality. For years now, we have been short pressing to go to the home screen on the PS4 and long pressing to pull up the quick menu within a game. Now you short press to pull up Cards and the taskbar (the replacement for the quick menu) and long press for the home screen. So it's reversed of what we have gotten used to. That is by no means the only thing that makes the PS button functionality bad, but it's an easy fix to at least make it work somewhat like what players have grown accustomed to. And as long as I'm bitching about it...

Another thing is that the taskbar needs to take a priority over Cards. When I pull up the taskbar I want quick access to the music, friends, shutdown options, etc. I rarely use Cards. In fact, I have not used them once in the two months I've had my PS5, and I doubt I'll use them that much at all. I would rather have something like the PS4's quick menu with Cards being one of its options rather than having these big old in-your-face plaques that can tell me how to get a trophy. I don't care about that. I care about being able to quickly change Spotify playlists then get back to my game.
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