Skip to main content

Your PS4 may one day refuse to play any games if these reports are accurate

PS4
(Image credit: Sony)

There's a very real possibility that your PS4 will be left completely unable to play games one day without the aid of jailbreaking it, though it remains distant for now.

The alarming issue surfaced this week when prominent system hacker and Bloodborne 60FPS modder Lance McDonald explained what a PS4's CMOS battery failing means on his Twitter account. 

The battery powers the most fundamental parts of your PS4, helping it store information such as the base system clock which cannot be changed by users, and like any battery, it will eventually fail. If you've ever tried to save your game on an old Nintendo cartridge and found your file gone the next time you powered it up, you've already experienced something like this.

See more

While your PS4 will still boot up with the CMOS battery dead, a quirk of how the console validates trophy data means it will only let you play games if the system clock can update - that goes for both downloaded and disc-based games. The only way the system clock can update is by connecting to PSN. All this means that, potentially decades from now when your PS4's battery has failed and Sony has pulled PSN offline, your PS4 may simply refuse to play any games.

This issue could still be solved by Sony changing how PS4 handles validating trophies in a firmware update, and failing that, you could jailbreak your console to avoid the problem. In other words, this doesn't have to be an extended death sentence for your console - but if McDonald is accurate, and nothing changes, it will be. I've asked Sony Interactive Entertainment if it can confirm or deny McDonald's info and will update this story with any response.

At least it's some reassurance that you'll be able to play the best PS4 games via PS5 backwards compatibility - assuming nothing goes wrong there.

Connor has been doing news and feature things for GamesRadar+ since 2012, which is suddenly a long time ago. How on earth did that happen?