Rumors claim the PlayStation 4 will be unable to play games, should its internal battery die after the console’s servers are taken offline.
The claim comes from game modder, hacker, and YouTuber Lance McDonald, along with “Does It Play?;” a Twitter account dedicated to testing games for preservation and accessibility.
In recent tweets, they claim between them that once the PlayStation 4’s internal clock battery dies (or CMOS battery), it produces error code CE 34878-0. CMOS batteries are typically used to power the most basic functions of a computer, such as BIOS.
While the error usually occurs when a game or program has crashed, McDonald explains this is caused by the internal system clock to be correct (one that cannot be altered by users). This is to stop users altering the console’s date & time to make it appear as though they unlocked Trophies on earlier or impossible dates.
While the CMOS battery can be replaced, the issue arises from it needing to make a server re-connection for verification thereafter. While the PlayStation 4 can still function without an internet connection, the issue comes when both servers and the battery fail.
Once the PlayStation 4 servers are discontinued, and a user’s PlayStation 4 CMOS battery dies (and even after it is replaced); the PlayStation 4 cannot launch any digital file, digital game, disc playback, or physical game.
As such, the question begs how long will Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) keep PlayStation 4 servers alive, and how accessible will games exclusive to that console be in the future? In October 2020, SIE announced the PlayStation Store on browser and mobile would no longer sell PlayStation 3, Portable, or Vita games. Rumors this year insist those digital stores will close on their respective platforms in the near future.
In July 2020, rumors circulated claiming that users on PlayStation 4 and other PlayStation consoles are losing their digital games and DLC. The issue was allegedly due to purchased licences seemingly vanishing from Sony’s servers.
Conversely; the PlayStation 5 has boasted as being compatible with 99% of PlayStation 4 games. However, it is small comfort in cases where a digital game is not sold on the PlayStation 5’s digital store, or future console generations.
The PlayStation 5 for example is only compatible with PlayStation 4 games; not older generations such as the PlayStation 3 or older. Once again, this turns the issue back to if the games would be accurately ported to digital stores in the future.
The digital verification may also scupper attempts to produce independent consoles years later; much like the NES, SNES, and Gameboy have had [1, 2, 3]. Even this assumes SIE would not legally object, as would the use of emulators.