Video game consoles aren’t what they used to be. As the generation that grew up with video games now starts to have kids of their own, the video game consoles of today are becoming family entertainment hubs. Now that these consoles are virtually always connected to the internet, that poses challenges for parents who want to protect their kids from the kind of nastiness that permeates online competition. The upcoming PS4 5.00 update is taking that challenge into account while addressing some other longstanding complaints about the user interface.
When the new update arrives, parents will be able to organize and manage individual accounts in a way that makes sense for their families. Parental control has always been on the PS4 in some form, but it’ll be more malleable now — parents can make adult and child accounts, then assign some or all adult accounts family manager status. Family managers can then do what a lot of parents have been asking for — make individual parental control decisions for each child. They can apply stricter filters to the accounts of younger kids, while easing things up for teens. Before, parental control decisions were applied to all accounts equally, so this is a pretty cool change that will prevent parents from having to mess with settings every time a different child wants to use the system.
Otherwise, we’re looking at small tweaks that make a lot of sense given how players use the system. Users will have more freedom to create custom groups, so if you have separate groups of friends that you play Destiny or Call of Duty with, you can organize friends by game and send out invites accordingly.
There are a few goodies here for streamers, too. If they’ve got a community set up, streamers can now add a quick link to that community on their broadcasts. They’ll also have the option to see viewer comments when playing a PS VR game in case they want to interact with their viewers while they’re streaming. Streamers who splurged on a PS4 Pro will be able to stream in 1080p at 60 fps from their console using Twitch, ensuring that stream performance can keep up with gameplay performance.
There are a handful of UI and quick menu tweaks, too. The most popular one will likely be the option to disable pop-up notifications while watching video — suddenly getting notified of a message or someone coming online in the middle of a Netflix binge session was not exactly a popular occurrence among PS4 users. Other frequently requested features like a gameplay log are not in the update.
The update won’t be ready for some time to come, but if you’re one of the lucky few who got a beta invite to test out the new update, you could be getting these features this week. If you didn’t get that cool kid email, you’re probably going to have to wait quite a few more months to get in on these new features.