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The Ticking time bomb in PS4 (and PS3) consoles or Turn Your Expensive Console into an Official Brick!


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Is this a “PSN login” requirement or a “connect to the internet” requirement? Neither the PS3 nor PS4 requires a PSN account to play games AFAIK, and it seems lazier and therefore more likely that Sony would’ve had the console ping the NIST reference clock or get the time from some generic Sony server, rather than depend on PSN infrastructure.

 

In which case this would work as long as the web exists.

 

If that’s not how it works, it seems like it would be trivial to patch it.

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There are two non-rhetorical questions there by the way:

 

1) What does the PS3/4 actually use as a time reference after a CMOS change?

 

2) Do you need a PSN account to use either console?

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42 minutes ago, Stanley said:

And what? It’s a dead system, no one cares. 


No, the Vita wasn’t dead. Games were still being made and released for it and this store shut-down came out of the blue for the devs & publishers! Audi from DF has talked about it.

I find the suddenness of the closure really quite crazy, even the Wii store got a full year’s heads up! 

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31 minutes ago, Boozy The Clown said:

In time this will affect both the Ps4 and ps5 is what will happen.

I thought you were being hyperbolic and using this as an excuse to stick the boot in but....story checks out.

 

https://gamerant.com/ps5-hardware-flaw-cant-play-games-battery-clock/

 

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Over the past several months an extremely concerning report regarding Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 hardware was shared online. The report alleged that a certain hardware component, a CMOS battery, could disable the PS3 and PS4's ability to play all games offline if the battery died. Now the same test has reportedly been applied to the PlayStation 5, claiming that should the CMOS battery fail the console will be rendered inoperable without an internet connection, bringing into question the PS5's lifespan.

 

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Early reports on the investigation claim that the PS5 also cannot access digital games and files if the CMOS battery dies. It's also possible that the disc drive will be useless like the PS4, but it hasn't been officially confirmed yet. It must be noted that these details about the PS5 haven't been completely verified, but early reports indicate their veracity.

Obviously, if consoles were losing the ability to play games offline within five years, there would be a lot more noise regarding the subject. The PS4 launched in 2013, after all. The PS3 launched in 2006 and stories about PS3s failing aren't widespread. Still, as more and more console gamers move to digital-only game libraries, the issue is likely to become more prevalent.

Sony has yet to offer up an official comment on the issue, to the dismay of PlayStation fans. The lack of an official comment lends confusion and worry to an issue, the gravity of which doesn't remain entirely clear. Regardless, for gamers who value long-term video game preservation, the PS5 joins the PS3 and PS4 as having unfortunate limitations.

 

As a PS4 owner who has invested in their PS4 library this is an issue. But it's ultimately my problem, not Sony's.

 

As someone who has yet to get a next gen console due to supply issues knowing that the PS5 suffers from the same issue provides me with a solution with how to avoid rendering future purchases unplayable. And that is a Sony problem.

 

That Sony hasn't come out with a fix or even a comment isn't great.

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6 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

Sony seem uninterested in fixing this and I think that lack of interest is going to lose them customers.

 

They're disinterested because there's currently nothing to fix. If, in the future, they want to turn off these login/authentication servers then they should release a small patch to drop the requirement. However, I rather doubt that they will actually be turned off for the foreseeable, perhaps ever, because there is little to no cost involved for Sony and it's almost certainly not worth the flak.

 

I mean, literally all they've done so far is say that you will no longer be able to buy digital copies of games for some of their older platforms, presumably because they sell so few that it's not worth the effort of maintaining it (which, unlike those servers above, is pretty non-trivial). Nothing is really being taken away from anyone and they're not threatening to do so. The hyperbole is off the charts.

 

Sure, it's not entirely ideal that devices you purchase are reliant upon services out of your control, but I think a little perspective is required here. Sony are still actively supporting these platforms, just not selling games any longer. The PS3 was superseded nearly 8 years ago and the PSP nearly 10. I have no love for disposable technology - I think the antics of the two major mobile phone platforms abandoning devices after merely a couple of years are fairly disgusting - but I don't really see how Sony are in any way acting the same.

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I mean is there a single person on this forum affected by this issue? And that’s not to dismiss it outright, but it seems to me that the extent of this issue is being exaggerated somewhat. 

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44 minutes ago, Stanley said:
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Tell that to the developers who were making games for the Vita and were sold Devkits by Sony as recently as March. 

 

And what? It’s a dead system, no one cares. 

 

Stanley, I know we sometimes (well, frequently) have different takes on things, but I've always respected your willingness to make reasoned arguments and give and accept different perspectives. This seems a little beyond the pale, though.

 

I can accept that you think the broad issue is overblown, and that you believe it's being weaponised by people with weird fannish vendettas against Sony (I mean, it assuredly will be, as any criticisms of any major company will stir up certain elements in the forever culture wars), but to write off this particular aspect was with a "no one cares" seems off. Given that most (all?) current developers of games for the Vita are little indie studios these days (for whom the small but keen Vita fanbase are a decent market), and certainly any studios buying a dev kit at this stage will have been tiny developers, being faced with part-developed games they will likely never release and £1000+ devkits* they'll never make use of are going to be body blows for the majority affected. It's deeply, deeply shitty, and should be decried.

 

* actual prices are still NDA'd, but everyone I've seen talk about it has put it at over £1000/around $2000

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Again, I would really like some confirmation as to whether this is doing “login and authentication” after a CMOS change, because if it’s just pinging a time server, this has been blown way out of proportion.

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19 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

There are two non-rhetorical questions there by the way:

 

1) What does the PS3/4 actually use as a time reference after a CMOS change?

 

2) Do you need a PSN account to use either console?

 

7 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

Again, I would really like some confirmation as to whether this is doing “login and authentication” after a CMOS change, because if it’s just pinging a time server, this has been blown way out of proportion.

 

I didn't see this while I was writing my last post as I'm on my phone, but the connection is specifically to PSN - you can't just spoof an NTP server for it, because the main purpose of the check is to stop people "freezing time" and thus indefinitely keeping access to PS+ (the secondary use is for trophy timekeeping, I believe). The only current workaround is through custom firmware, which does suggest that Sony could deactivate the functionality relatively painlessly if they wanted to, but it's still a bit of a worry given the grace with which they dropped the store closure announcements. I'd rather people kick up a fuss now, well before it becomes an issue, and it push Sony to make some sort of commitment that they'll deactivate the requirement should the servers ever go offline, rather than just ignore it on the assumption that they'll "do the right thing" should it ever come to that.

 

On the plus side, the CMOS battery is refreshingly easy to remove in the PS4, so that's something. PS3's is a colossal pain in the arse to get to, on the other hand.

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34 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I mean is there a single person on this forum affected by this issue? 

 

This is a pointless question. My Vita, PSTV and PS3 are fine right now. What bearing does that have on them becoming unuseable in, say, a year's time?

 

As for them being 'dead consoles'; you're aware people play older consoles, right? I mean my Atari VCS still works.

 

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34 minutes ago, Wiper said:

 

 

I didn't see this while I was writing my last post as I'm on my phone, but the connection is specifically to PSN - you can't just spoof an NTP server for it, because the main purpose of the check is to stop people "freezing time" and thus indefinitely keeping access to PS+ (the secondary use is for trophy timekeeping, I believe). The only current workaround is through custom firmware, which does suggest that Sony could deactivate the functionality relatively painlessly if they wanted to, but it's still a bit of a worry given the grace with which they dropped the store closure announcements. I'd rather people kick up a fuss now, well before it becomes an issue, and it push Sony to make some sort of commitment that they'll deactivate the requirement should the servers ever go offline, rather than just ignore it on the assumption that they'll "do the right thing" should it ever come to that.

 

On the plus side, the CMOS battery is refreshingly easy to remove in the PS4, so that's something. PS3's is a colossal pain in the arse to get to, on the other hand.

 

More difficult to implement and worse. Sounds right.

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23 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

This is a pointless question. My Vita, PSTV and PS3 are fine right now. What bearing does that have on them becoming unuseable in, say, a year's time?

 

As for them being 'dead consoles'; you're aware people play older consoles, right? I mean my Atari VCS still works.

 

All fair points, I can’t pretend otherwise, but none of these issues have affected anyone have they, let’s be honest, this issue is kind of overblown right now. 

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4 minutes ago, Stanley said:

All fair points, I can’t pretend otherwise, but none of these issues have affected anyone have they, let’s be honest, this issue is kind of overblown right now. 

But surely this being made an issue now means Sony will know people won't be happy if they don't rectify it before it happens?

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2 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

But surely this being made an issue now means Sony will know people won't be happy if they don't rectify it before it happens?


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Just now, mdn2 said:

But surely this being made an issue now means Sony will know people won't be happy if they don't rectify it before it happens?

I doubt it’s high on their list of priorities tbh as it’s likely that the vast majority of their customers will never encounter it anyway. 

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Just to add to the discussion, someone tested this out by removing the battery in the PS5.

 

 

Physical PS4 games apparently work without the battery and an internet connection, ironically considering the same is not true for actual PS4s.

 

Physical PS5 games are a mixed bag. Some work and are playable, others won't even install, more testing will be done there.

 

Digital PS5 games will straight up not work (particularly bad for the PS5 digital edition).

 

All issues were fixed as soon as they reinstalled the battery and connected to the servers again, so it wasn't a botched removal that caused these issues.

 

Robbed wholesale off Resetera. 

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3 hours ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

It's the difference between Steam and Xbox, where there's a trust you can always go online if needed (they overhauled Live and cut off the OG Xbox beta version of to ensure future compatibility in their network). And the Sony side of things where their infrastructure is still creaky as fuck and they give no fucks about cutting off the (relatively recent feeling and online dependent) PS3 and Vita generations, which leaves you tucked once the deliberately built-in hidden DRM time bomb battery dies.

 

It's surprising to see someone refer to the original Xbox version of Xbox Live as a beta version! Obviously it wasn't very fully-featured compared to what they introduced with the 360 version, so in that respect it was a preliminary version of what came afterwards. But to the people playing multiplayer in Halo 2, PGR2, and Pandora Tomorrow, it probably didn't seem like that at the time!

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1 minute ago, Nick R said:

 

It's surprising to see someone refer to the original Xbox version of Xbox Live as a beta version! Obviously it wasn't very fully-featured compared to what they introduced with the 360 version, so in that respect it was a preliminary version of what came afterwards. But to the people playing multiplayer in Halo 2, PGR2, and Pandora Tomorrow, it probably didn't seem like that at the time!


It was also the foundation for the Xbox 360 version of Live. The reason they discontinued it was so they could make a new Live platform that wasn’t limited by having the original Xbox as the baseline.

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4 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

Just to add to the discussion, someone tested this out by removing the battery in the PS5.

 

 

Physical PS4 games apparently work without the battery and an internet connection, ironically considering the same is not true for actual PS4s.

 

Physical PS5 games are a mixed bag. Some work and are playable, others won't even install, more testing will be done there.

 

Digital PS5 games will straight up not work (particularly bad for the PS5 digital edition).

 

All issues were fixed as soon as they reinstalled the battery and connected to the servers again, so it wasn't a botched removal that caused these issues.

 

Robbed wholesale off Resetera. 

So it’s a problem resolved by simply replacing the battery? 

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1 minute ago, Stanley said:

So it’s a problem resolved by simply replacing the battery? 

At the minute, yeah. The worry is when Sony shut down the servers, a new battery won't be able to reauthorise your games, making them worthless. 

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5 minutes ago, Nick R said:

 

It's surprising to see someone refer to the original Xbox version of Xbox Live as a beta version! Obviously it wasn't very fully-featured compared to what they introduced with the 360 version, so in that respect it was a preliminary version of what came afterwards. But to the people playing multiplayer in Halo 2, PGR2, and Pandora Tomorrow, it probably didn't seem like that at the time!

 

2 minutes ago, Alex W. said:


It was also the foundation for the Xbox 360 version of Live. The reason they discontinued it was so they could make a new Live platform that wasn’t limited by having the original Xbox as the baseline.

Wot he said. It was basically their first attempt at getting what we have now off the ground, and many features we now take for granted couldn't have been implemented if they didn't change foundation.

 

At the time, yes it was some crazy wonderful vision of the future but sans the nasty elements that later reared their ugly racist heads by virtue of loads of people coming together relatively anonymously on the internet.

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4 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

 

Wot he said. It was basically their first attempt at getting what we have now off the ground, and many features we now take for granted couldn't have been implemented if they didn't change foundation.

 

At the time, yes it was some crazy wonderful vision of the future but sans the nasty elements that later reared their ugly racist heads by virtue of loads of people coming together relatively anonymously on the internet.

 

I think at the time the “many features” were just longer friends lists. They couldn’t add that without confusing original Xboxes which expected 100 or fewer. But presumably it also allowed for other changes that weren’t possible without releasing firmware updates for the original Xbox and its emulator on the 360.

 

I wish they’d been able to come up with a shim for backwards compatible games to let them run on the new version of Live. It seems like today’s Microsoft could and would do that.

 

Edit - Actually, some of that might not even have been possible. It’s hard to think of it but the original Xbox was still part of the one-and-done, no console OS updates, no game patches era. Those Halo 2 multiplayer patches being a notable exception of course.

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