The most recent firmware PlayStation update for Sony’s PS4 gaming console reportedly prevents the console’s battery from tampering with the PS4’s ability to play games. Concerns over this particular issue arose earlier this year, and while Sony officially made no comments regarding the issue, people have been curious about the looming threat and a ticking time bomb that might leave their PlayStation 4 gaming system bricked and utterly useless.
According to IGN, a PlayStation update 9.0 allegedly prevents the console’s battery from affecting the console’s ability to initiate games. The initial claims stated that PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles use the consoles’ built-in clock to verify in-game trophy information, and if the battery in the console dies, it won’t be able to cross-reference information stored on the console with the one stored on PSN, directly preventing the console from starting games.
The root of the problem necessitating the PlayStation update has to do with the CMOS battery inside every PS3 and PS4, which the system uses to keep track of current time, even when the consoles are unplugged from the power source. If the battery dies, the system raises an internal flag within its firmware, indicating that the clock has to be resynced once the console gains access to the internet, more specifically, to the PSN. If by any chance the user doesn’t replace the battery, the console will perform resyncs each time it’s powered on and connected to a network, and if the battery is replaced with a fresh one, it will perform this check only when specified by specific software, like games.
But why would the console care about the correct time? Well, the systems impacted by the PlayStation update use time checks to enforce potential time limits imposed on digital purchases. But the PS4 has another timing check – one that registers PSN trophy data in real-time. Failing to verify that specific time check on PS4 seems like a requirement to get a PS4 title to load at all. And when the CMOS battery dies, so do the games on PS4. Well, sort of, but also not quite.
The PlayStation update will resync the clock once the consoles connect to PSN, taking care of the problem. The only thing that could hinder the resyncing process is if the console has nothing to connect to, which suggests that the issue stemmed from gamers’ concerns regarding Sony’s announcement of pulling the plug on online support for PS3 games. However, it would seem that PSN, and PlayStation Store for that matter, aren’t going anywhere, and considering the 10- to 20-year lifespan of typical CMOS battery, it’s highly unlikely, and borderline improbable for any PS3 or PS4 owner to experience any permanent issues of this nature. Thus, replacing the dead battery and connecting the console to PSN effectively solves the problem.
In truth, replacing the battery does work. Both PS3 and PS4 use standardized CE2032 batteries available in most local stores, so replacing them takes nothing more than some proverbial elbow grease, or a trip to the local electronics service, to take care of the problem. However, this still poses a potential problem without the PlayStation update, if Sony decides to pull the PSN support for the hardware it no longer deems important, in which case, a timer check does pose an issue a fresh CMOS battery couldn’t solve.
Unfortunately, the official patch notes for update 9.0 do not mention anything about the console’s battery, suggesting that the problem seems so far-fetched that it’s not even worth addressing, seeing that it only persists when the console suffers from a dead CMOS battery and is unplugged from the internet. With that said, YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer removed the CMOS battery from his PS4 after installing the PlayStation update, only to find that the console is now able to load games issues-free.