Hideaki Nishino Q&A: Developing PlayStation System Software Updates

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Hideaki Nishino Q&A: Developing PlayStation System Software Updates

Behind-the-scenes insight into the design process of the September Updates' headline features.

Last Wednesday, PlayStation’s product development teams introduced new system software updates for PS5, PS4 and the PS Remote Play App. 

I sat down with Hideaki Nishino, SVP of Platform Experience, to get the scoop behind some of the new features, including 3D audio for built-in TV speakers and M.2 SSD storage expansion on PS5. We also discussed mobile app updates like Share Screen on PS App, which started rolling out yesterday on iOS and Android.*

Listen to our full interview on the Official PlayStation Podcast here for insights on how the features came together, or read on for some key excerpts, edited for brevity and clarity. 

PlayStation.Blog: Can you give us a little sense of what you do as SVP of Platform Experience?

Nishino-san: Here at SIE, I work for hardware, system software, and network platform products and services. I don’t contribute to the games or studio teams, but everything other than the games side of things. 

PlayStation.Blog: Congrats on the launch of the September system update on PS5. Are there a couple features you found particularly important?

Nishino-san: We launched many features with the September Update, but one I’m personally enjoying is the trophy tracker. Of course, I want to get more trophies and show them off. The trophy tracker allows me to easily pin the trophies I’m tracking down.

PlayStation.Blog: A lot of people have been asking, when are we going to get an update on 3D audio coming through the TV speakers (in addition to headsets).

Nishino-san: Yeah, absolutely. 3D audio has been a key part of our vision for PS5: delivering a really immersive experience not just through visuals but audio as well. When I turn on 3D audio for TV speakers, it sounds different. It’s difficult to describe, but I hope everybody will try it and experience it. 

It feels like the sound is coming from around my ears and from the front as well. So, it’s definitely giving you a different experience. I’m really proud of the team that delivered this 3D audio experience.

PlayStation.Blog: I think a big feature for many people is the ability to expand PS5 storage [through M.2 SSD]…What does adding a new feature of this magnitude represent for the team?

Nishino-san: As we have many PS4 users today, we saw various console usage patterns. We launched PS5 in two forms: one comes with the disc drive and one comes without. We really wanted to provide customer choice — that was the concept.

We knew any capacity we put into the machine as storage, one day you’ll hit the capacity. We wanted to provide options. It was important for us to enable upgrade capability for users. We designed the M.2 SSD feature back in 2018. At that time, we were not sure if Gen4 SSDs were coming up or not, but we believed they were. 

With [lead system architect Mark Cerny], we debated and discussed. We finally decided, ‘yeah, let’s do this.’ This will open the door for users to expand and improve the capability of the PS5. So, that’s the behind-the-scenes conversation we had internally, and I’m glad we can deliver this now for the holiday season.

Hideaki Nishino Q&A: Developing PlayStation System Software Updates

PlayStation.Blog: What is the design process like for a system update? How do you put it all together?

Nishino-san: This is just the second major update for PS5. Just to wind back the time here. With the PS4, I think it’s already been eight years. We learned a lot through PS4 and continue to learn about how players are using the system and how games are behaving. We know what is most accepted and most popular; what features are not used. So, we had a gigantic list of things before PS5 launch that we wanted to do. Actually, we dreamed of doing everything.

Did I digest the whole list? I don’t think so, yet. But, there are interesting, exciting, fantastic ideas on the list. At the same time, we launched PS5. So, we are receiving a bunch of feedback from the community through social networks or system telemetry, as well as the media, my family, my friends. We have tons of lists of the feedback.

Our updates aren’t just about the [major] firmware updates. If you carefully look at the PS5 system, over the network we are changing the UX behavior quite often. Sometimes we do some customization for a certain group of people to see how these features are used. So, it’s dynamic now. 

PlayStation.Blog: Accessing Share Screen through the PlayStation App is a big upgrade. PS Remote Play is also now playable over mobile networks. Was it a conscious thing to focus on the mobile experience?

Nishino-san: PS Remote Play is more coming from a utility point of view: the best use of the PS5 and PS4 systems when you’re not in front of your TV.

During the pandemic, I work from home. I don’t have a PS5 in my office; it’s sitting in the living room. But, I need to check the PS5 UI for work and sometimes for play. So, I do PS Remote Play from my desktop PC. And when I want to play PS5 in my backyard on a sunny day, I bring my iPad outside. Even when you’re not in front of your TV, with PS Remote Play, the experience is ubiquitous. Now with mobile data, you can bring it outside the home as well. I just want to make sure users can enjoy their games in more ways.

On the flip side, there’s Share Screen. I love single-player games. Because of the pandemic, I tried to play Bloodborne. It’s a challenging game to me. I was speaking to my friends about how I can’t go through this [particular] stage. People said, ‘how is that difficult, you can do it.’

So on a Friday night, we had five people in a party chat. I could Share Screen from my PS5. People were laughing when I failed or died and respawned. [Through Share Play], I tried to hand over the controller to the guy who said he already went through the level easily. He died there. I said, ‘what are you doing here, you’re not the best.’ The other three people continued to laugh and chat – it was like a connected couch moment through Share Screen.

PlayStation.Blog: It reminds me of the days, 20 years ago, when couch co-op was so big. It kind of brings some of that feeling back.

Nishino-san: The exciting thing is, before the September Update, you needed to be in front of the PS5 to see the visuals. Now with your mobile phone, you can join these sessions from anywhere. So, recreating the ‘old days’ moments with your friends in front of the TV playing together – that moment is coming back.

PlayStation.Blog: So, what are you folks working on next? Can you give us the scoop?

Nishino-san: As I said, when I look back at the list of things we need to do, there’s a lot. There’s a lot the community is asking for as well. I want to say in the Japanese way, I’m diligently working on these lists and there will be more coming out in the future.

I also want to say thank you to the community. We are not just whiteboarding our desired features. We work for customer needs. We really want to solve the problem in a delightful manner. That’s our core passion. We are here for the PlayStation [fans]. I’m always amazed by the feedback, how much the community loves PlayStation. It’s really great to hear player feedback, and at the same time, we get great feedback from creators as well.

I believe this firmware update is not just about us doing it; it’s the whole community doing things. So, I’m really excited to hear more from the community. And I [and my team] will diligently deliver the new features in an exciting way.

* The Android version of Share Screen on PS App is a phased release and may take one week until the update is available on your mobile device.

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135 Comments

  • Please add Headphone Bluetooth support in the next system update

  • I don’t use one, but. A lot of people use their PC monitors with their PS5. And most 1440p monitors don’t take a 2160p signal, so they’re stuck using 1080p upscaled. How about finally adding 1440p output. It should be easy enough, Xbox supports it all the way back to the Xbox One S. And the GPU can already scale the output res easily enough.

    • It’d be nice if Sony at least added 1440p downsampling. It’d be easy enough, and wouldn’t require devs to add a 1440p mode to their games.

    • Currently got my PS5 connected to a Samsung G7 Monitor, It will accept a 4k signal but show it as 1440p. However I would still prefer if they would update it to doing 1440p output.

    • Hi
      I only recently looked into buying ps5 , a friend bought one awhile ago.
      I was shocked regarding lack of stock of ps5 .
      Is this a world wide issue and when can I hope to see ps5 consoles in shops or even available direct from Sony
      Thank you
      Philip

  • Here is a legitimate question, where can we request or report bugs?
    I find it very weird, that there is no known email or site to report or request these things, he says they listen to the community? What that does that mean? Where does he read them anyway?
    Please create an email or site to report or request, its stupid when someone says he listens to the community, it’s vage and unprofessional!

    • I wish they would bring back the Share feature in the PS Blog where people posted ideas and requests.

    • They’ve proven that they don’t listen. He’s spittin’ typical business b’s.

    • Yes please. Bug reports integrated in the UI.

    • Just had my first “appear offline” issue on PS5, restarting fixed it. Also noticed the game icons are a bit glitchy since the last update, but only when I start the console.

    • If you’re a beta firmware tester you have access to a bug report form to report bugs with the new firmware.

      Use to have the forums but that’s gone. Really only thing you can do is message ps support on twitter or give detailed crash report notes when that occurs.

  • Sony, if you really are listening, please, native 1440p support for monitors PLEASE!

  • Hi Hideaki Nishino hopefully you read these comments, can you guys please put our Trophy level info back next to our names on friends list, game base etc. On PS5/PS app you guys have removed this info for some reason, Thanks

  • Lack of VRR support is going to become a bigger concern going forward. I hope you guys are working on that.

  • I was very excited to try 3D audio for tv. I turned it on, went trough the calibration and after a day I turned it off as voice just isn’t clear to me anymore and drowns in ambient sound and/or music. Very unfortunate.
    Still missing, and much need, is VRR support. Also shocking that the Sony wh-1000xm3 headphone isn’t supported natively.

  • PLEASE ADD THE ABILITY TO DELETE INVIDIDUAL SAVE FILES OF NATIVE PS5 GAMES

    The community wants the ability to minimize the size of ballooning save files on the PS5 and if a game does not allow for the individual deletion of saves files inside the game, then we are stuck with a save file that will keep growing. The latest example is Death Stranding. There is no option to delete the individual save files inside the game. So basically if you don’t want to grow your save file too large you are prevented from saving more than a couple of times.

    We know you did this at the OS level to lock out hackers from messing with individual save files. Please re-consider. This is not very consumer friendly in the least, especially since this was a feature on the PS4.

    If you are unwilling to do this because of security reasons or you just want to sell more SSDs then I propose that you mandate all companies must include the option to delete individual save files in their games.

  • We want Jim Ryan permanently gone from PS. Can you put that in the next update, please? I think he’d be better suited as one of those custodians at a movie theater that cleans after people leave. Or fast food.

  • Since we’re talking about updates, when are you guys gonna make party chats easier to navigate and we don’t have to be forced into a group to start a party? Most of my friends appear offline now because they keep on getting spam invites from random groups and so am I and it’s a really annoying feature that shouldn’t have been added in the first place.

    There’s also no lfg system anymore since you guys removed communities. Certain games strive off of lfgs, (bloodborne, dark souls, destiny, overwatch, mhw, etc.
    I have to use a third party app to find people which rarely works half of the time. Please add a lfg system asap, the console feels isolated without it.

  • So shall we discuss the short/long press functionality of the PS button ?
    It is so much ingrained now to do a long press to go to power menu, i doubt I’ll ever get it right.
    (or at least make it configurable, preferably even with a 5 sec long press to directly go to save mode)

    • It would be great if you could select the functionality of what happens when you short press and long press the PS button.

    • It would be great to be able to assign different functions to it, for the people who never use these. I would love to use that button to check trophies (especially with them being a hassle to navigate on PS5) instead of losing out on it.

    • I agree with you sentry-23. After years of PS4 gaming, why did they completely switch the way the PS button behaves? Now whenever I switch between consoles, it’s always confusing. No consistency whatsoever.

    • I never get it right cause it’s the opposite of PS3, PS4 and Vita. Which also means I now never get it right on those systems either. They need to unify things like this

    • Was confused, I was referring to the share or create button in my comment :) PS button is fine in my experience, I’m actually worried it’s gonna feel off if they should change it…

  • “I want to say in the Japanese way, I’m diligently working on these lists…”
    What is he trying to say?
    Look, Nishino, it took you over 10 months to get this weak update out to us. Is that diligent? You’re proud of this?

  • We need profiles for HDR!!! If you configure your PS5 HDR settings for HGIG (setting such on the TV), instead of Dynamic Tone Mapping off, and then play most games, let say for example Ratchet and clank, it will look too dark. So it looks “bad”. However other games, that actually support HGIG look good (Days Gone, Spiderman). Configuring the PS5 for DTM Off, will provoke an inverse situation with the other games looking incorrect.
    First we need a clearer way of knowing if a game supports or not HGIG. And second we need at least 2 profiles for HDR, one for HGIG and one for HDR without Dynamic Tone Mapping. Or you can join both if you come up with a system that automatically detects if a game has HDR HGIG or not and switch profiles automatically.
    And changing settings from one mode to the other takes too long and definitely you don’t want to do that every time you change game.
    And if you want to go the extra mile, add another profile for non HDR games that are forced to play under HDR (but I understand 3 profiles could be way too much for the average gamer)

    • Bro! I thought I was the only one. Red dead is unplayable on my CX with HGIG. I have to switch back and forth depending on the game.

      PS. You’re a nerd!

  • Will there be any dynamic themes for the main PS5 menu in the not too distant future?

    • Yeah sick of seeing the same background and hearing the same music when playing the same game for a while… Also the rest of the menus like trophies are so dark and uninspired imo.

  • Please make a media player for the launch of PSVR2 that can play all VR 3D Videos natively and please make 3D Blu-rays playable on PS5.

    Thanks.

  • Good interview and I hope they are listening. We still need these features:
    VRR Support
    1440p Monitor Support
    Themes
    Folders
    Increase the wishlist amount on PlayStation Store. 100 is not enough
    Ability to gift on PlayStation Store
    Let us check any game installed in our library for updates. We could do this on the PS4 but on PS5 you can only manually check the games on the main scroll bar.
    Let us view update history for PS5 games

    • folders & manual game update checks are my most wanted. Especially when we had both of these features on previous PlayStations.

  • Is this the guy we blame for not prioritising folders in the PS5 firmware on day one let alone this update nearly a year later?

    • This is exactly why my USB HDD is staying connected to my PS4. I have hundreds of games. PS5 can only handle 9.

    • Imagine the outrage if Apple announced that their new Mac OS won’t support folders at launch. I’m not sure why is this acceprable for PS OS then.

  • Some suggestions

    Add a quick toggle for button assignments in the accessibility sub menu

    Add the ability to disable “Recording blocked because you entered a blocked scene” notification

    Allow “check for updates” button on the library screen, instead of just games in the front page.

    The new update is great and your heading in the right direction, but there’s still work to do.

  • Just bought my PS5 through Best Buy’s in store shipment. I truly believe if Best Buy did not shift buying PS5s to in store I still would be failing to try and buy one online. I only had a couple hours to play with the PS5 but very much look forward to trying out the new software update. Thanks for a great product.

  • Can we get PS5 to show trophies like PS4 does? I like to see how rare my trophies was, but current set up doesn’t allow that unless I go on the phone app.

  • Some needed requests for you sir!

    1. Folders to organize games. I had a real nice setup on my PS4 with a racing folders, shooter folder, adventure folder, etc. Now it is a mess
    2. As I review storage issues in my internal ssd and external 5tb drive I roll up and down through the list and come across a game I haven’t played in awhile. A simple “launch game” option straight from here would sure be handy
    3. Would be a nice to have to be able to “pin” more setup options to the bottom row menu like the above mentioned storage. Kind of a quicker way to get to any of those options.

  • I wish I could check for updates and do cloud saves on games that aren’t on the main horizontal bar… why do those settings disappear when you go to the full installed game list?

  • how about bring same feature back : unlimited game icons after download/installed many games on PS5 UI menu ????????/

  • I just want folders like ps4, it’s nearly one year and we still can’t make folders on ps5.

  • Please increase the 8TB external storage limit for HDDs/SSD’s and allow us to put more than one external HDD/SSD at the same time, as it really isn’t that much considering there’s way too many games to choose from.

    • On PS4 I could have both of my 8TB external HDDs plugged in at the same time and switch between them in the settings menu. Now on PS5 I have to unplug one and plug the other one in each time I need to change and it’s quite annoying. I agree a higher capacity limit would be great, but even just allowing the PS5 OS to handle switching between the drives would be an improvement.

    • I’m always amazed at digital hoarders. It seems like if 8TB of games isn’t enough to choose from, you’ve got bigger problems. Lol

    • Yeah we should be allowed to have more than one drive plugged in at a time. My Series X lets me have 3 external HDDs plugged in at once so there is no reason why the PS5 shouldn’t allow it too

  • Hi!

    Is there any update on the ps5 in the future to run 1440p? Xbox has this feature and would be a BIG + when ps5 has it too.. can’t wait for it as I have QHD game monitor

  • Why didn’t you ask him about the Update 9.0 crashing and bricking PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles? Where’s the fix update for the disaster of Update 9.0?

  • Fix voice chat on PS5. You can’t hear a damn thing out of the controller.

    • Really? Because I was playing the COD Vanguard beta last week and could hear people loud and clear out of the controller speaker. Had to go turn the volume down on it

    • My volume is on full. I have the same issue. Very hard to hear people. I’ve had an ear test yes. I’m good to go.

  • I know this always falls on deaf ears, but we know it’s possible to have multiple audio channels on webm and mp4 files.

    Please make it so that PS saves the game audio and party audio is saved on separate channels so the party chat can be removed later. This way I don’t have to keep turning the audio save feature on and off when I don’t want it.

  • Let us play our entire playstation library on ps5

  • Please allow the deletion of single save files per games. Some Games create multiple autosave files which can grow until +1GB and we can only delete all the save files instead of just the ones we don’t need. This takes valuable internal and Cloud space.

    Also, VRR and 1440p should be something to arrive soon.

    Thanks,

  • These types of posts that give insight into the behind the scenes at Playstation are excellent. Keep them coming!

    Thank you Nishino-san and your team for all your hard work to add new functionality to our devices.

    As for the next update, I would like to see support for VRR added and perhaps some form of AMD’s FidelityFX.

  • Are you guys gonna add an update to allow ps5 saves to a USB drive? I hope so.

  • USB save backup is sorely missed and VRR is long overdue now. These are features I expected to be available from launch.

  • Please resolve audio recording issues related to PSVR gameplay being video captured when playing on PS5. Thanks

  • VRR. This is long overdue. I just hope the TV division guys are also working hard on that, ’cause I got an X900H for my PS5 and, well… no VRR on that front yet either.

    Now, one other feature I would like to see is extending the 3D audio support to sound bars. I tried the TV speakers 3D audio through my sound bar, but it doesn’t sound right.

  • Where is the update for 3D audio for home theater? I have a 7.3.4 and all i can do is up sample audio which is nice but would not be the same as native. I hope it comes soon, that and VRR.

  • Please add VRR (variable refresh support) and quick resume like the xbox series x has!

  • Thank you very much for all your hard work and everything you do:
    I hope you add the following:
    Bluetooth headphones/earphones support
    VRR Support
    1440p Monitor Support

  • We need folders and the ability to see more than 9 games on the dashboard. This is why I’ve kept my 4 TB USB HDD Connected to my PS4. It’d be a huge unsorted mess of hundreds of games on PS5.

  • I also use my PS5 as a 4K Blu-ray player and would really love to see Dolby Vision/Atmos support.

  • “With [lead system architect Mark Cerny], we debated and discussed. We finally decided, ‘yeah, let’s do this.’ This will open the door for users to expand and improve the capability of the PS5. So, that’s the behind-the-scenes conversation we had internally, and I’m glad we can deliver this now for the holiday season.”

    Oh yeah, really taking us behind the curtain for that “behind the scenes conversation”.

    We talked about adding storage expansions and decided to do it.

    What a revelation!

  • Folders please. Getting sick of every new system not having them when PS3 started with them. PS4 took years to add them and it’s a basic feature ffs.

  • I’m sorry to say this:

    The PS5 UI is good exaple of failed design that was nice looking on paper(from artistic pov) but totally messed in real usage.

    Here are the main isues:

    1. All long item item lists should be oriented vertically not horizontaly.

    2. Inconsistency of controls that PS4 users have used for years. (PS buuton behaviour, R1/R2 to skip to head/tail of the game icons etc.)

    3. missing main features that were already present in PS4 (Folders, Library search etc.)

    4. downgraded handling of external hdd (now it doesn’t cache the games list,reads it again and blocks the UI on each power up)

    5. Path to “success” in term of user action should be always at least same or shorter/quicker in comparison to same action on PS4.

    • Totally agree with your list. The PS4 UI was miles ahead of this clunky mess.

    • Can’t argue with any of this. I’ve gotten used to it, but yeah some stuff seemed to change unnecessarily. I think your first point could be solved by Folders, but yeah i would like R1/R2 functionality just like PS4.

      VRR & Folders should be top of the list Sony Plz…

  • Thanks for your hard work. There’s one thing I would really like your team to add. I’ve been playing several PS3 games this year. Can you please add backwards compatibility with that system? I would love to keep playing it on my PS5! Thank you again

  • It may be in the minority but please allow us to use the ps5 drive for playback of 3D blurays.

    It may be dead to many, but a small software update to allow it is all I ask.

    Thank you.

  • After buying a series a during the summer drought of games I have gone to the conclusion freesync and VRR are absolute game changers. Get it done.

  • if you really are listening please add native 1440p support Asap Its high demand is visible

  • Sony seem to have taken a huge step back in both UI design and functionality of their system software from what we have on PS4. It’s harder to navigate, less consistent in terms of design and lacks some basic features like folders. It’s almost like it’s designed for a tablet, especially the clunky trophy list. Just bring back the PS4 UI, it’s significantly better.

  • I am a fan of Mr. Nishino, and I look forward to PSVR 2 features.

    As for the PS5, I miss the FOLDERS and THEMES. I’d also like to be able to update games without having to have them on my home dashboard (requires me to launch them, close them, then update them), and I’d like to be able to pin games to my home as well.

    For PSVR 2, I’m really hoping it has VR themes/homes, stuff that looks like the PSVR Worlds main menu etc, with a room you can interact with, things like a trophy wall where you can grab the trophies when you select a new game. I also hope there is a movie/TV service you can watch movies/tv with friends in a VR theater, sitting on a goldmine there. And I’d like the ability to share screen in VR as well, that was an awesome PS4 feature, even if not used frequently.

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