The latest PlayStation 4 update is rolling out in beta to the lucky few who have signed up to test it. According to patch notes obtained by MP1st, Sony will be removing PlayStation Communities from the console, as well as making a few other quality of life improvements.
PS4 Beta update 8.50 is otherwise known as the System Software Beta Testing Spring 2021 update. As well as the removal of communities, the update makes changes to group notifications, joining game sessions, and the visibility of hidden games. You can check out the full patch notes below:
PS4 Firmware Update 8.50 Beta Patch Notes
Main Features in This System Software Beta
- In messages, you can now turn notifications on/off for each of the groups you’re in. On the group screen, open then options menu and select “Turn Notifications Off”.
Other Updates Features
- On the game session screen, you can now use the “Request to Join” button to ask the session leader to join their game. The session leader can then send you an invite to join the game session.
- When playing a game you’ve hidden, other players will no longer see you play it.
- Communities are no longer available.
The writing was on the wall for the PlayStation Communities as the companion app, previously available on Android and iOS, was shut down in March 2020. Although no reason was given for the closure, it was assumed to be because of a reduced number of users, and all of the PlayStation Apps were later combined into one place upon the release of the PS5. Up until recently, Communities seemed to still be fairly active on the PS4 console itself, but the number of people using these is likely to have dropped since the release of the PlayStation 5. Sony’s latest console currently doesn’t have a Communities feature, and with this change, it isn’t expected to continue on the next-gen console.
The last major system software update for the PlayStation 4 was Update 8.00, which introduced new Avatars, simplified Party and Messages (which is still a controversial change Sony is looking into), enhanced 2-Step Verification, and made Parental Controls easier to use, amongst other improvements. It will be a while before the latest round of changes rolls out to the wider community, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as Update 8.50 is given a general release.