Sony has decided to let PlayStation 4 owners test System Update 3.0 for the console. They've opened up sign-ups for a beta test of the update.

You can sign up for the beta at PlayStation.com. The requirements for the test are pretty straightforward. You'll just need a PS4, an Internet connection, and a master PSN account. Sub-accounts can't participate in the beta.

You'll also have to agree to a "System Software Beta Agreement," which states that the test is confidential:
You may use the Beta Product only in your home solely for the purpose of testing the Beta Product, and you will not transfer, distribute or disclose any materials, User Material, or any information in connection with the Beta Product to any third party, including through a public exhibition or display. You may not discuss your experience with the Beta Product with third parties or publish or disseminate information about those experiences;

That probably won't stop people from sharing screenshots and details on Reddit. Sony had to at least try, though.

The Beta Agreement also notes that the beta "is not thoroughly tested" (that's your job) so it may not represent the final product. You'll probably encounter a fair share of bugs during the test. Fortunately, you can roll back to Update 2.57 at any time.

Sony says on PlayStation.Blog that Update 3.0's beta will start in early September. They recommend signing up as early as possible, though, because they're only accepting a small number of PS4 owners for the program.

While Sony has yet to officially announce any details about Update 3.0, a features list was allegedly leaked last week. According to the leak, these are the main features of the update:
  • (Events) has been added to the function items. All events associated with PlayStation are now brought together, enabling you to discover, participate in and watch these events in a centralised area.
  • (Communities) has been added to (Friends). (Communities) is a feature that enables you to find players who have similar tastes and interests. You can join an existing community or create your own community. You can also play games, join parties or talk about shared interests with members in the community.
  • You can now go to (Now Playing) to see what games or parties members of the community are enjoying right now. You can also easily start a game, join a party or send a request to watch a member's gameplay in (Now Playing). You can access (Now Playing) from What's New, (Friends), (Communities), the message screen in (Messages) or Profile.
  • The layout of the message screen in (Messages) has been improved. From the message screen, you can now select (Now Playing) or easily start a party. You can also add your favourite groups to [Favourite Groups] in (Friends).
  • You can now broadcast your gameplay on YouTube™.
  • You can now upload video clips to Twitter (10-second limitation).
I was disappointed when the alleged patch notes were released. Update 3.0 seems to be missing much-requested PSN features such as PSN username changes or two-factor authentication. It's possible, though, that the leaked details are incomplete and Sony actually does have some of these features in development. We'll find out next month when they officially start the beta.

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