Sony's been teasing the version 1.70 update for the PlayStation 4 for some time now, but it's finally releasing today.
The update is based heavily on feedback from PlayStation users, and incorporates a number of significant new features. Alongside the PS4 update, there's also a minor update to the Vita system software that improves the reliability and pairing process of Remote Play between PS4 and Vita, and an update to the mobile PlayStation App that allows you to receive push notifications from the PS4 as well as change your profile picture using your photo library or device camera.
PS4 is where the main action is, so here's what's new.
The major addition to this update is the ShareFactory software, which allows you to edit video footage in considerably more depth than before. The software includes transitions, themes, the ability to record picture-in-picture or audio commentary, and even import your own original music into projects. Here's a peek at how it works:
Next up is preloading. A facility that has been part of PC gaming for some time now, preloading theoretically saves you time on release day by allowing preorder customers to download an encrypted version of a game before it's released. On release day, this is then decrypted and ready to play; theoretically, this is quicker than downloading the whole thing alongside everyone else who decided to buy it on release day. With popular titles, server load can sometimes slow download times significantly, and with many PS4 titles weighing in at over 20GB in size, downloading in advance is a good option, even if the decryption process is sometimes also time-consuming.
Next is the ability to disable High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection, or HDCP to its friends. This is the tech that was incorporated into both the PS3 and PS4 and prevented direct connection of the consoles to external devices via HDMI. This was originally designed to prevent the unauthorized duplication of digital audio and video content (such as that from a Blu-Ray disc) but had the unwanted side-effect of making streaming and video capture from PlayStation devices a pain in the backside. With the ability to disable HDCP for games, you'll be able to capture or stream gameplay sessions without having to use the PS4's built-in software solutions, which may be a better option for those who prefer a little more flexibility. You can only turn off HDCP for games, though; it's still in place for other digital content.
Next up is the USB Export option for game footage. Using' the PS4's built-in tools and the Share button on the controller, you can copy footage or ShareFactory projects to an external device, connect said device to a computer and then upload the footage wherever you like. This, at present, is the only means of uploading PS4 footage to YouTube, since the built-in PlayStation digital video apps only support direct output to Facebook.
On the broadcasting front, Sony has upped the resolution to 720p and added the facility to archive your broadcasts on Twist or Ustream to watch them again later. For recording, you can adjust the default amount of time the system records footage for and selectively upload screenshots or video clips each time you capture something. You can also upload video and screenshots while you're broadcasting, and select specific Facebook audiences to share your content with rather than making everything public.
More minor additions to the system include the ability to dim the DualShock 4's light bar and use the touchpad to navigate the on-screen keyboard. You can now find new friends by searching for friends of friends or mutual friends, and friend requests can be sent to you via text message or email thanks to the PlayStation mobile app. You can also sort your trophies by rarity, yell more different commands at the PlayStation camera and share what you're listening to on Music Unlimited, and the PlayStation Store on PS4 will now support alternative payment methods beginning with PayPal.
It's a big update, but Sony's still keen to get feedback on what PS4 owners want to see next. The team is hanging out in the comments on the PlayStation Blog watching out for suggestions, so if you feel particularly strongly about something be sure to make yourself known.