Inside your PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 are internal timing systems that could present a huge issue by making your PS4 games and all downloaded PS3 games unplayable on current hardware.
The looming issue has been the talk of PlayStation and hacking circles for some time now, but it has recently picked up steam again after the recent announcement of only shutting down online stores for PSP, PS Vita PS3 online stores. Gamers are pointing out it’s just a matter of when this potential problem will rear its ugly head. The issue won’t affect your ability to play and re-download previously purchased games for now. Still, it could become a much larger issue due to the shutdown of PSN servers on older PlayStation consoles and could affect many games.
So what is the issue exactly? Inside your PS3 and PS4 is a CMOS battery that helps your console keep up with the current time even when it’s powered off or unplugged. If that battery dies or happens to be removed, the console will an internal flag raised by the system’s firmware indicating it might be out of sync.
To correct the issue, the system will check with PSN the next time to ensure the time is correct. On the PS3, this check is done when you play a game downloaded from the PlayStation Store. On the PS4, it happens when you play a game installed from the disc. This check has to be done at least once, even if the batter has been replaced, so the console confirms clock consistency.
The timer check serves different purposes on both consoles. On the PS3, it’s done to enforce “time limits” that might have been placed on digital purchases. That same check is even required for downloads that don’t even have an expiration date adding a one-time online check-in requirement for consoles after the internal batteries fail.
On the PS4, the timing check is used to ensure PSN trophy data is registered accurately, preventing players from pretending to acquire trophies earlier than they had.
As of right now, this isn’t an issue, and most batteries CMOS batter in consoles average a 10- to 20-year lifespan, but if you happen to own an older PS3 model, time is slowly running out. It’s not an easy fix to do on your own, but Sony could remedy it with a firmware update.
The company has been mum on that front, but a lot of PlayStation owners could be stuck with a useless library of games if they fail to act.
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