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Rumor Sony is Reportedly Working on the CMOS Problem That Will Brick All PS4 and Digital PS5 Consoles

Apr 19, 2020
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"At the end of last month, it was discovered that if the internal clock battery dies on a PlayStation 4 console, players won’t be able to play any games unless they can connect to the PlayStation Network. With many concerned their console could become nothing more than an expensive doorstop if live service is taken down permanently for the console in the future, @DoesItPlay1 on Twitter has heard reports Sony are looking into the issue.

The purpose of the clock is to verify games can be played on that console by confirming its stored date and time with the PlayStation Network. The clock is powered by a simple CR2032 battery known as a CMOS and it’s used to keep track of time if the console is ever disconnected from a power supply. If the battery dies, players have to enter the date and time every time the console is booted up, and this is then synced with the PlayStation Network. The problems start if those servers can’t be reached.



The reason for the date and time is believed to be to prevent players from hacking the PlayStation trophy system. As such, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 consoles all have a CMOS battery. The removal of the PS3 servers will prevent all digital games from being played, whereas if the PS4 servers are closed, the console’s trophy system will prevent all digital and disc games from being played on a console with a dead CMOS battery. The closure of PS5 servers will also prevent digital PS5 games from being played on an effected console, something digital PS5 owners may want to bear in mind. While PS4 and PS5 discs can be played on a faulty PS5 console, some games suffer from a host of other issues with installation, server dependency, and error messages.

Many players are concerned about preserving game libraries on older consoles, especially with the initial threat of the closure of the PS3 and Vita stores before Sony announced they would be staying open. @DoesItPlay1, the people who originally found the problem with the clock battery, have “heard from internal sources” that Sony “want to get on top of it.” Some users who have inquired about the problem have also reportedly received e-mails stating Sony is looking into the issue. Hopefully they find a solution soon."

 

Loxus

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Sep 18, 2020
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Here we go again.
1)Why does this person at like syncing the time has separate severs?
2)Why does this person at like you can't change out the battery?
3)Why does this person at like your games are tied to the battery itself?

By the time the battery dies you can just replace the console cheap and swap the hard drive if changing the battery is a problem.
If fixing the issue is via firmware, you will still need some form of internet. So just sync the damn time and done.
These batteries have a 10+ years lifespan, the PS3 is 15 years old which means batteries have began to die.
Do we have a world wide cbomb issue on the PS3? No

This minor issue that may or may not affect anyone in the next 10+ years has so many solutions it's crazy.
PC parts get change every 2 years, but we expecting to buy a console and it's supposed to last 10+ years without breaking.

I'm fight this, this hard because my cousin that play games casually get misunderstood by these kinds of articles.
Now he think once the battery dies, that's it for the console with no fix.
 

GrayFoxPL

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Mar 26, 2007
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Just disable trophies when the battery dies.
But...my trophies!

Vamos Spanish GIF by Roland-Garros
 

Clear

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Feb 2, 2009
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Just disable trophies when the battery dies.

Its got to be a bit more involved than that as for anti-cheat purposes they will have to completely disregard any trophies earned when the battery is absent so as to prevent people from theoretically pulling the battery, modifying trophy data on the hd, then replacing it and re-connecting it to the network.

It needs to be understood that the functionality of the battery might be something they cannot check in software, because its purpose is to act as a fall-back when mains power is absent. In simple terms it'll be on its own circuit completely isolated from the rest of the hardware. Not to mention that without mains power there's no way to run code to test for clock changes/updates!

Bottom line being a fix is more complicated than it might seem at first glance, and its evident that this effect is not the product of malice, it does what it does because its likely to be a more elegant solution than any remedial path they may patch in.

Do not expect any fix for this to be a perfect solution because of security needs on the server end. Because what's likely to happen is that it'll just switch the problem from "what happens until the servers are connected" to "what happens when the server connection is re-established"
 
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Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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That doesn’t explain shit. What are they complaining about exactly?
It's the same dumb thing with the battery but worse depending on your perspective.

If the battery dies the PS has to call home to set the secure time.

The Xbox has to call home on setup. So if your HDD dies or you need to format it.

They essentially stop you from playing your discs in the unlikely event that 'home' no longer exists.
 

Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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Its got to be a bit more involved than that as for anti-cheat purposes they will have to completely disregard any trophies earned when the battery is absent so as to prevent people from theoretically pulling the battery, modifying trophy data on the hd, then replacing it and re-connecting it to the network.

It needs to be understood that the functionality of the battery might be something they cannot check in software, because its purpose is to act as a fall-back when mains power is absent. In simple terms it'll be on its own circuit completely isolated from the rest of the hardware. Not to mention that without mains power there's no way to run code to test for clock changes/updates!

Bottom line being a fix is more complicated than it might seem at first glance, and its evident that this effect is not the product of malice, it does what it does because its likely to be a more elegant solution than any remedial path they may patch in.

Do not expect any fix for this to be a perfect solution because of security needs on the server end. Because what's likely to happen is that it'll just switch the problem from "what happens until the servers are connected" to "what happens when the server connection is re-established"
It will likely just disregard the trophies completely if your battery is dead and hasn't called home. Lets you play your discs but earn no trophies.
 
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BlackTron

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Jun 30, 2016
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Here we go again.
1)Why does this person at like syncing the time has separate severs?
2)Why does this person at like you can't change out the battery?
3)Why does this person at like your games are tied to the battery itself?

By the time the battery dies you can just replace the console cheap and swap the hard drive if changing the battery is a problem.
If fixing the issue is via firmware, you will still need some form of internet. So just sync the damn time and done.
These batteries have a 10+ years lifespan, the PS3 is 15 years old which means batteries have began to die.
Do we have a world wide cbomb issue on the PS3? No

This minor issue that may or may not affect anyone in the next 10+ years has so many solutions it's crazy.
PC parts get change every 2 years, but we expecting to buy a console and it's supposed to last 10+ years without breaking.

I'm fight this, this hard because my cousin that play games casually get misunderstood by these kinds of articles.
Now he think once the battery dies, that's it for the console with no fix.

Well if your solution for the battery dying is to just replace the entire console, was your cousin really that far off the mark that when the battery dies, there's no fix?

I mean, of course a "fix" exists if your solution is to replace the entire system. lol.

Replacing the battery is very invasive and isn't just a matter of popping the case off either. For most users, a dead battery will realistically mean the console has to check the internet every time the system is turned on. And if there IS no internet connection, or no servers to connect to, the system is bricked forever.

See, people want the issue fixed TODAY via firmware, so they aren't dependent on Sony in 10 years to keep their system working. Given they just shut down the PS3 store, everyone is worried about a potential future where you can no longer use your PS4 without Sony's servers. Currently, that's how it is.

It might seem a long ways off, but who cares? I can still use my NES like it was 1985. Something tells me that if the NES required some kind of phone home to work, I wouldn't be playing Duck Tales on it today.

Edit: I hadn't realized that Sony reversed course on shutting down the old storefronts.
 
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Wizz-Art

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Aug 20, 2012
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It's the same dumb thing with the battery but worse depending on your perspective.

If the battery dies the PS has to call home to set the secure time.

The Xbox has to call home on setup. So if your HDD dies or you need to format it.

They essentially stop you from playing your discs in the unlikely event that 'home' no longer exists.

Don't be too concerned about that 'home' stops existing, it wil probably outlive us all as your Microsoft account wich holds everything MS related (so also your Xbox stuff etc.) needs to contact these servers too. Azure where those authentication servers are hosted on is MS biggest division and moneymaker so it's all in their own interest and their big corporation clients to keep Azure and those authentication servers up.
 
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JCK75

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Apr 19, 2018
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I have to ask a serious question here, how important do these companies really think Achievement/Trophies are that they had to go to this much trouble? this also applies to games like Skyrim that disables them if you change your friggen textures... Who TF cares if someones cheats a trophy?
 

Saber

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Jan 30, 2019
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Where does supposelly bad rumors about Sony come from?

How many rumors about the same company we have now? Might be equivalent to the numbers of rumors about Bloodborne pc port(I got feeling its almost time to some "insider" start a new one).

I like when it used to be good old rumors about interesting news and exciting games coming back. Now is all about console wars ammunition.
 
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Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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Don't be too concerned about that 'home' stops existing, it wil probably outlive us all as your Microsoft account wich holds everything MS related (so also your Xbox stuff etc.) needs to contact these servers too. Azure where those authentication servers are hosted on is MS biggest division and moneymaker so it's all in their own interest and their big corporation clients to keep Azure and those authentication servers up.
I'm not at all concerned about any of it. It's all a non issue, except maybe the fact that it requires a connection to get running. I don't foresee it going anywhere.

The connection isn't just a user account connection though, it's xbox specific. If MS decide to shut that down, which is highly unlikely and won't ever happen, they can still render them inoperable by removing unused things from the server. The simple fact that they are on Azure doesn't stop that from happening. Remember Games For Windows Live was also on Azure but that still got shut down. If something is seldom used it gets shut down and isn't maintained anymore. I don't see that happening with Xbox Live or PSN authentication though.
 
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Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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I have to ask a serious question here, how important do these companies really think Achievement/Trophies are that they had to go to this much trouble? this also applies to games like Skyrim that disables them if you change your friggen textures... Who TF cares if someones cheats a trophy?
Trophy/Achievement hunters. It would be pretty shitty if people are working hard to achieve something, even if not so meaningful IRL, but there are others hacking it without the work. Same with leaderboards. Being completely oblivious to hacks would make everything totally pointless.

Having said that I don't understand why sony is "fixing" this. Can't they just say

"we have no intention of ever getting rid of PSN to reset the clock if your CMOS battery dies. If we ever decide to shut down infrastructure online trophies would be meaningless and we will patch to remove the clock from trophies."

I mean why not cross that bridge when you get to it? in the unlikely event that the user has left their console unplugged for years and years and needs to change a CMOS battery and the unlikeliest event that PSN no longer exists online trophies and licences would be useless anyway.
The only reason they are spending time and money now trying to "fix" this is because people kicked up a PR shitstorm about a hypothetical scenario that's unlikely to happen. It's just a "we're listening" response for good PR.
 
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Rayderism

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The simplest solution (which, admittedly, doesn't help current owners) is to design the consoles with an easily accessible way to change out the CMOS battery.
 

splattered

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Feb 8, 2012
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Good!

Playstation fans acting lately like they're just being attacked... they should use this sort of energy to demand better from Sony.

That's what Xbox fans have been hearing from Playstation fans for the last 6 years haha "Xbox has no games, you should demand games" ... which is exactly what happened and things are looking up.

Don't whine that people are "attacking playstation" or "attacking Jim Ryan", use that energy to speak out on social media (politely) to demand change for the better on your platform of choice.
 

Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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This guy never got the memo that the always-online DRM went away before the Xbox One launch and has been spreading that FUD ever since.
The guy is right. Initial setup has always required an internet connection even after launch.


Seems you didn't get the memo?
 

Zog

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Oct 24, 2017
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Trophy/Achievement hunters. It would be pretty shitty if people are working hard to achieve something, even if not so meaningful IRL, but there are others hacking it without the work.
A bricked console is real life though and that glorified high score table isn't worth that.
 
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ManaByte

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The guy is right. Initial setup has always required an internet connection even after launch.


Seems you didn't get the memo?

No, but the guy keeps claiming you can't play games on the Xbox without an internet connection, which is 100% false. It's obvious he's someone who doesn't own the system and is going off the always-online DRM that no longer exists in the system. Once the system is set as your Home Xbox you can play stuff without internet.


The "DRM" went away before launch, but this guy doesn't know that.

Xbox is ignoring their emails because they're crazy.

And you can update the system offline as well:
 
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Bo_Hazem

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"At the end of last month, it was discovered that if the internal clock battery dies on a PlayStation 4 console, players won’t be able to play any games unless they can connect to the PlayStation Network. With many concerned their console could become nothing more than an expensive doorstop if live service is taken down permanently for the console in the future, @DoesItPlay1 on Twitter has heard reports Sony are looking into the issue.

The purpose of the clock is to verify games can be played on that console by confirming its stored date and time with the PlayStation Network. The clock is powered by a simple CR2032 battery known as a CMOS and it’s used to keep track of time if the console is ever disconnected from a power supply. If the battery dies, players have to enter the date and time every time the console is booted up, and this is then synced with the PlayStation Network. The problems start if those servers can’t be reached.



The reason for the date and time is believed to be to prevent players from hacking the PlayStation trophy system. As such, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 consoles all have a CMOS battery. The removal of the PS3 servers will prevent all digital games from being played, whereas if the PS4 servers are closed, the console’s trophy system will prevent all digital and disc games from being played on a console with a dead CMOS battery. The closure of PS5 servers will also prevent digital PS5 games from being played on an effected console, something digital PS5 owners may want to bear in mind. While PS4 and PS5 discs can be played on a faulty PS5 console, some games suffer from a host of other issues with installation, server dependency, and error messages.

Many players are concerned about preserving game libraries on older consoles, especially with the initial threat of the closure of the PS3 and Vita stores before Sony announced they would be staying open. @DoesItPlay1, the people who originally found the problem with the clock battery, have “heard from internal sources” that Sony “want to get on top of it.” Some users who have inquired about the problem have also reportedly received e-mails stating Sony is looking into the issue. Hopefully they find a solution soon."


Sounds good, more like dedicated servers for just reactivation after replacing the battery, if it ever dies anyway.
 

Three

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No, but the guy keeps claiming you can't play games on the Xbox without an internet connection, which is 100% false. It's obvious he's someone who doesn't own the system and is going off the always-online DRM that no longer exists in the system. Once the system is set as your Home Xbox you can play stuff without internet.
Where does he say that? The guy is saying if you format the drive or replace it in a repair you need a connection. He is fear mongering for both the PS4 battery and the initial setup of the Xbox in case of future repairs if the services were hypothetically gone. He is a advocate for not relying on the online component for future scenarios but I've never seen him say you always need to be online. Mind point to a tweet where he said this?
 

ManaByte

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Where does he say that? The guy is saying if you format the drive or replace it in a repair you need a connection. He is fear mongering for both the PS4 battery and the initial setup of the Xbox in case of future repairs if the services were hypothetically gone. He is a advocate for not relying on the online component for future scenarios but I've never seen him say you always need to be online. Mind point to a tweet where he said this?

It's 100% false though in the case of Xbox.

You can update the Xbox offline. You USED to be able to do this with the PS4, but the PS5 doesn't offer the ability yet.

On the PS4 whenever you replaced the internal drive or had a bad firmware you'd need to update the console via USB. The Xbox has that right now, but they haven't made it possible for the PS5 yet.
 

Iced Arcade

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No, but the guy keeps claiming you can't play games on the Xbox without an internet connection, which is 100% false. It's obvious he's someone who doesn't own the system and is going off the always-online DRM that no longer exists in the system. Once the system is set as your Home Xbox you can play stuff without internet.


The "DRM" went away before launch, but this guy doesn't know that.

Xbox is ignoring their emails because they're crazy.

And you can update the system offline as well:
what a moron. lol
 

Three

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A bricked console is real life though and that glorified high score table isn't worth that.
It's not real life. Real life is that the probability of the battery dying and the services not running in this one time clock set is low. It would be like saying look at the design of this house it has no panic room, lets remove a study room because who cares. what if in the future an apocalypse happens!

Well ok but if I need to take away something we have now to gain some safety from something that might happen was it worth it? You can cross that bridge when it actually seems likely
 
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Three

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It's 100% false though in the case of Xbox.

You can update the Xbox offline. You USED to be able to do this with the PS4, but the PS5 doesn't offer the ability yet.

On the PS4 whenever you replaced the internal drive or had a bad firmware you'd need to update the console via USB. The Xbox has that right now, but they haven't made it possible for the PS5 yet.
Honestly what are you talking about. Being able to update offline has nothing to do with initial activation. Also you can download and install PS5 update files


I don't know where you are getting your information from.
 
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Trimesh

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It's not real life. Real life is that the probability of the battery dying and the services not running in this one time clock set is low. It would be like saying look at the design of this house it has no panic room, lets remove a study room because who cares. what if in the future an apocalypse happens!

Well ok but if I need to take away something we have now to gain some safety from something that might happen was it worth it? You can cross that bridge when it actually seems likely

Why would anything be "lost"? Right now, if that trusted clock is not set the console is simply incapable of running games because the runtime system crashes on initialization (which, incidentally, is why I always thought this was a bug and not designed behavior).

So add a check for the clock - if it's set, then everything works just as it does now. If it's not set, then display an alert saying something like "The ability to gain new trophies is suspended during this play session - please connect to the network to restore this functionality" - then allow the game to start, but with trophy capability temporarily disabled.
 
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Reality Czar

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Where does supposelly bad rumors about Sony come from?

How many rumors about the same company we have now? Might be equivalent to the numbers of rumors about Bloodborne pc port(I got feeling its almost time to some "insider" start a new one).

I like when it used to be good old rumors about interesting news and exciting games coming back. Now is all about console wars ammunition.
Microsoft owns an entire media network, MSNBC. Don't forget that. Their influence is large and widespread. And it influences far more than just how games reporting is done.

Most game journos probably see Microsoft as a morally righteous company, due to Bill Gates's ties to the Democratic party, and give them favorable coverage as a result. I would bet politics plays a big role in what narratives are floated in gaming.
 
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Three

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Why would anything be "lost"? Right now, if that trusted clock is not set the console is simply incapable of running games because the runtime system crashes on initialization (which, incidentally, is why I always thought this was a bug and not designed behavior).

So add a check for the clock - if it's set, then everything works just as it does now. If it's not set, then display an alert saying something like "The ability to gain new trophies is suspended during this play session - please connect to the network to restore this functionality" - then allow the game to start, but with trophy capability temporarily disabled.
Exactly remove the ability to earn trophies when the clock is not set. Though this might be a problem for games that have retroactive trophies and may throw errors again. They would need to figure out what to do in a situation like that.

I meant the idea that they shouldn't care about trophies or achievement security because of this hypothetical future scenario. to some this hypothetical future scenario is worth more than the security implemented for trophies currently.
 

Zog

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It's not real life. Real life is that the probability of the battery dying and the services not running in this one time clock set is low. It would be like saying look at the design of this house it has no panic room, lets remove a study room because who cares. what if in the future an apocalypse happens!

Well ok but if I need to take away something we have now to gain some safety from something that might happen was it worth it? You can cross that bridge when it actually seems likely
LOL at the idea that Sony's servers will always be there. To me, that is an insane argument.
 
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DeepEnigma

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How in 100 years when the world is uninhabitable and mutants roam the land we won't be able to access videogames from the previous civilisation.
Listen, when I grow more arms, or my kin has two heads, they will need to ... reasons.
 

BlackTron

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The simplest solution (which, admittedly, doesn't help current owners) is to design the consoles with an easily accessible way to change out the CMOS battery.

I'm seeing a lot of this, it seems many people aren't fully understanding the worst part of this issue. Fact is, even if you went through all the steps to replace the battery today, whether it was 1 step or 20, you haven't fixed the real problem, which is what are you going to do when the servers are gone? As before, once your battery dies, your system is bricked. Even if you bought it extra time by replacing the battery today.

If the servers are down, there would be nothing you could do. If you wanted to replace your battery before the current one dies, the clock would have to be reset after removing the old one, and you'd need a PSN check. You would brick your system faster by trying to change the battery out.
 
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Dream-Knife

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Microsoft owns an entire media network, MSNBC. Don't forget that. Their influence is large and widespread. And it influences far more than just how games reporting is done.

Most game journos probably see Microsoft as a morally righteous company, due to Bill Gates's ties to the Democratic party, and give them favorable coverage as a result. I would bet politics plays a big role in what narratives are floated in gaming.
MS hasn't had any ownership of MSNBC since 2012 for the website, and 2005 for the network.