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PS4 Update Quietly Fixes This Lethal Issue

An update to the PS4 — yes the last-gen console — has quietly fixed an issue that could have potentially killed the system for good. Back in March, Does It Play pointed out in a viral Twitter thread that when the console clock battery dies in the PS4, it would essentially render the console useless, blocking the use of digital games and making it so that even disc-based games could not be read or played.

"When the ps4 CMOS battery dies (and it will) it renders all PS4 digital files unusable without a server reconnection and in PS4 it also kills disc playback," they tweeted at the time.

The issue was that the console would be unable to connect with Sony's servers without a functioning internal clock. The future of PS4 preservation became very unclear when this problem was uncovered, and because people feared their PS4 could break at any moment, fans took to calling it the battery problem the "CBOMB."

However, it seems as though PlayStation has found a workaround for this issue, putting out a PS4 update that allows systems with dead clock batteries to connect to online servers and continue functioning as normal. Destruction Games tipped fans off to the update, tweeting, "Soooooo it looks like the 9.0 PS4 firmware update fixed the CBOMB issue. Tested it on my PS4 with a dead battery and games are no longer crashing on startup and I can even earn trophies, although the trophy earn dates will be blank." So what does this update mean for PS4 owners?

The solution to the PS4 clock battery issue

PlayStation has been on a bit of a hot streak with firmware updates in the past month, with the latest PS5 allowing internal storage expansion and improving the performance of some games. Now, PlayStation has followed that trick up by solving the PS4 clock battery issue — seemingly permanently. 

Destruction Games posted photos of their PS4 with the update installed. Their PS4 displayed the date as 1969 and 5:00 PM, which is what the console defaults to when being booted up, confirming that the clock battery was still dead.

Now when they earn a trophy in a game, it does not have a timestamp, one of the issues that had previously been present. Since trophies are typically time-stamped, the PS4 servers would reject trophies without a timestamp as an anti-cheating method. However, this prevented PS4s with dead clock batteries from connecting to the servers, because the servers assumed people were cheating. This latest update appears to have circumvented that anti-cheat measure, allowing consoles with a dead internal clock to continue registering playing games and registering trophies.

Lastly, Destruction Games ended the thread by saying that other people with dead clock batteries have confirmed that they can now play digital games, which they previously could not do. Overall, this looks to be a major win for PS4 owners who still can't get a PS5, as well as for fans of video game preservation.