Playstation Firmware Downgrade (PS4 and PS5 checked out)

Sony always provides upgrades for system software on all their video game consoles. These upgrades are meant to improve the player experience and fix problems affecting the current software in the video game consoles. I wanted to find out about those players who do not like the upgrades and would prefer to downgrade their PS4 systems.

So, can you downgrade a PS4? It is possible to downgrade a PS4; however, it is very risky. Sony does not provide downgrades for their video game consoles, and you can only download the system from an off-market site. You can download the downgrade system into an external drive and follow the instructions provided in the off-market site to install the system into your PS4.

One of the major issues I found about doing a downgrade was that the PS4 does not have factory reset settings or system restore settings. If the downgrading process goes wrong, you will lose your PS4, and there is no way Sony will help you recover it.

Some people like to downgrade their PlayStation video game consoles if the new software does not support older games. However, the process is not easy because Sony restricts downgrading its systems. Read on to find out if you can downgrade a PS5 or PS4 console and the risks you face when downgrading the system software.

Can You Downgrade a PS5?

When I wrote this article, Sony had only released the PlayStation 5 a few months (in November 2020), and gamers hadn’t long been using it. Considering some gamers would downgrade the PS4, its predecessor, I was wondered if I could downgrade a PS5.

You cannot downgrade your PS5 software system because Sony does not allow you to do so. Furthermore, not much time has passed since the release of the PS5; therefore, there is no need to downgrade your PS5. However, you can upgrade some of the PS4 games to the digital PS5 versions. So, it is not worth it to try and downgrade your PS5.

Sony designed their video game consoles to only accept upgrades, and once you install new software, it will be difficult to install old software. Sony is always looking for flaws in their current software, and when they find solutions, they release updates for users to download and install.

If Sony allows gamers to downgrade their PS5 systems whenever they feel like it, they will be using systems with flaws that might compromise their network or ruin the console’s performance.

It has been only a few months since the release of PS5, and there is only one software update for PS5 released by Sony on 4th April 2021. The software update has improved the PS5 performance by allowing players to store PS5 games on external drives. You can also invite players to watch you play a game and even let them play. The update has also improved the PS5 controllers. The update also allows you to switch the video output to non-HDR when you are playing a game or to use an application that does not support HDR.

The recent software update has so many good upgrades that it does not make sense to try and downgrade your PS5 system. If you want to update the software system on your PS5, you can download the system update from the PlayStation website to a USB drive or directly install it.

You can upgrade some of the video games from PS4 into their digital PS5 versions. Gamers used to buy video games on CDs and install them on their consoles. Now, you can purchase most video games for PS5 on Sony’s digital platform. However, you still have the option of upgrading some of the PS5 games on discs, some for free, while others might require you to make a purchase.

When upgrading PS4 games, you need an internet connection, and you should not turn off the consoles before the upgrades are complete. When the upgrade is complete, you can proceed to play the PS5 digital game by inserting your PS4 game disc.

It is also not worth it to downgrade your PS5 system because you will be voiding the terms you agreed to when making the PS5 purchase. Under the terms of use, Sony prohibits downloading or installing data not provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

If you download any material from an off-market site and it fails to work properly, your actions might void the system warranty. Therefore, Sony might refuse to give you warranty services and repair services if the data from the off-market sites caused the damage.

Since Sony does not allow system downgrades on its video game consoles, people have come up with different ways to circumvent the guidelines. One way gamers can downgrade a PlayStation system is to download the system from an off-market site. You can download the system into an external USB drive and follow the instructions on how to install it.

Therefore, when you try this method, you accept the risk of permanently damaging your console. If you try to install corrupt or incompatible software, you will lose your console, and there is no way of getting it back.

Another method of downgrading the system is to use the recovery mode. This method is commonly used by players who own the PS4 console. You can download the PS4 5.05 software system into an external drive. Then look up the procedure to put your PS4 into recovery mode and select the external drive option. Unfortunately, you can only downgrade your PS4 when it is disconnected from the internet, and you cannot reconnect it because your PS4 will automatically update.

You can also downgrade your PS4 by initializing the PlayStation system from its bios. If you own a PS4, you should start by initializing your PS4 from its bios, downloading the 4.55 system, and installing it using an external drive. The process will delete all the data in your console, and you need to save them in another PS4.

When you start your PS4, the system will automatically update to 4.05. However, if you think your console is not working properly, you should report the issue to Sony rather than looking for risky options.

What Are the Risks of Downgrading a PS4 System?

Sony does not allow downgrading its video game console systems, but some gamers have found ways to downgrade their systems. However, if you decide to downgrade your PS4 system, you need to know the risks you face for doing so.

There are several risks of downgrading a PS4 system, including:

  • leaving yourself open to cyber-attacks;
  • having no way to recover your PS4 if something goes wrong during the downgrading process;
  • the downgrading process can introduce malicious malware and bugs;
  • missing out on new software updates that can improve your console’s performance; and
  • Sony refusing to fix or repair your console if they notice you downgraded the system because your action will void the warranty

Remember that hacking your PS4 is also illegal, and the downgrading process might put you in legal trouble.

Downgrading your PS4 software allows a hacker a backdoor into your system and potentially into the PlayStation servers. The most common cyber attack against PlayStation is the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), which happens through the consoles of players connected to the internet.

Sony Interactive Entertainment always releases updates to prevent hackers from using flaws in the systems to breach their servers. If you downgrade your PS4 to a system with flaws that Sony already fixed, you leave yourself open to cyber-attacks.

The most common method that players use to downgrade their PS4 consoles is the use of off-market site software. These are software systems from websites that are not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment. You have to download the software from that website to your USB drive and install it into your console.

You first need to remove the current software and install the software on your USB drive to downgrade. If something goes wrong and your PS4 cannot install the software on your USB drive, there is no going back to the previous software.

PS4 consoles do not have a factory reset or system restore, and you will lose your operating system and all the data in your console. Software from off-market sites are not good, and players who downgrade should be fully aware of the risk. Sometimes, the software is incompatible or corrupted, and there is no way you can recover when it fails. The only option you have is to count your losses and buy a new PlayStation 4.

Sony does not allow downgrades to prevent players from using software with bugs or malware. Like all other gaming companies, Sony tries to protect its products by offering software that does not have any bugs or malware. If any software from their official website has any bug or malware, they will fix the problem by releasing updates or patches.

However, it is not guaranteed that the software you download from an off-market website is free from bugs or malware. Sometimes, people use software from off-market sites to spread bugs and malware that can ruin your gaming experience or make your console malfunction.

After Sony introduced the PlayStation Network, players would buy games and other products from the PlayStation Store. The PlayStation stores some of your private data such as name, address, and credit card number, among others.

Some of the software downloaded from off-market sites can have malware that can steal your private data. If someone gets your personal information, they might hold it and request you to pay a ransom or make numerous purchases using your credit card without your knowledge.

Downgrading your PS4 system means you will have to miss out on new software updates. When Sony releases a new gaming console, gamers can report any issues or complaints about its performance. After a few months, Sony will release the first software update to try and fix all the issues.

After that, Sony will keep releasing new updates until they release a new video game console. If you decide to downgrade your PS4, it means you cannot use any new software updates. The new updates usually center on improving performance, and you will be stuck using inferior software.

When you purchase any PlayStation console from Sony Interactive Entertainment, you agree to all user terms attached. These user terms come with conditions such as agreeing not to open up the console to perform repairs or alterations. You also agree to only use software from Sony or other companies approved by Sony. When you use software from an off-market site, you have voided the warranty, and your actions have several consequences.

If Sony concludes that your actions amount to void of warranty, they can refuse to repair or replace your PS4 console. If you lose your current software because you wanted to downgrade, there is no way Sony will help you recover your data.

When you buy a PlayStation console, you need to check the PlayStation website and read the system software license. The system software license lists all the things you can and cannot do to the software in your console. If you are not sure what to do, you should contact PlayStation customer support for more information.

Some players downgrade their PS4 so that they can play illegal or pirated games. For example, players would hack their PS4 to install pirated software, illegal games, or play PS2 games. However, such a hack was only successful with a PS4 running on a 4.05 system software. If a player wanted to hack a PS4 with a 4.55 software system, they first had to downgrade.

Hacking your PS4 is illegal and could land you in serious trouble with Sony Interactive Entertainment or other software developers. Therefore, Sony can take away your PlayStation Network account and prevent you from using any PlayStation device in the future.

Wrap Up

When a software developer sells you their product, they assume you will use it and any other subsequent updates in the future. Sony always releases updates on their software to ensure their systems are secure and also improve the performance of their video game consoles. Sony does not expect you to go back to a previous software when better software is available for use. Some of the games and applications work better with new software updates; hence, it makes no sense to downgrade.

The PlayStation 5 is the most recent video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and it has released one software update. So, you can enjoy video games and television shows on your consoles without the need to downgrade. Sony also offers you the opportunity to upgrade some of the PS4 games to PS5 versions. If you feel that your PS5 is not performing as it should, you can contact Sony.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

Recent Posts