Sony is bringing back their beta test for the PS4's system software upgrade. Before they officially roll out the next big patch for their home console they want some loyal beta testers to offer them some feedback on how some of the upcoming features work and bug-test to make sure that everything is proper and in order.
The news about the return of the beta test was made over on the official PlayStation blog where they announce recruitment for beta version 3.5. The sign-up process has opened over on the firmware registration page, where they make it known that not everyone will get into the beta test program and that the test may involve taking a survey regarding the experience.
During the beta test they leave the option open for gamers to rollback their version from 3.5 to something earlier for stability purposes. So if you run into any major problems while fiddling around with any of the new features and functions of version 3.5, you can move back to something earlier at your own convenience.
The comment section below the news is filled to the brim with all sorts of suggestions and ideas for version 3.5, given that a lot of gamers feel as if the PS4 is lagging behind the Xbox One, Steam and the Wii U in a few key areas. Gamers who own a PS4 might recognize that many of the most recent updates for Sony's console have been sparse in their offerings. For instance, if you check over on the system update page some of the previous firmware updates included really basic things like performance improvements, software stability, new stickers and a few other usability options.
In the comment section there are frequent requests (longtime requests actually) for native external hard drive support for the PS3 and PS4. I'm not sure why some would even include the PS3 in the equation given that it's nearly a decade old at this point, but they wanted it in there nonetheless.
Others have been asking for better Ultraviolet support. This was met with the response that it is possible to use Ultraviolet on the PS4 but the VUDU app and service is required to use the Ultraviolet format.
Another really common request is two-step authentication. This is actually really important and part of a growing concern for a lot of gamers due to frequent hack attempts and account infiltration campaigns by nefarious online groups. In the thread for the news quite a few people cited that PSN gets attacked often enough that there should be a two-step process for authenticating accounts and that they would prefer PINs.
One of the more popular suggestions was the option to appear offline. Some commented that while they love playing games online they sometimes don't want to be bothered. In the age of connectivity, it seems like appearing offline would be a mandatory feature for a lot of connected devices, because people who play online may not always want to play online with other people, even if those people are on their friends list. You can visit the official PlayStation blog to learn more about the beta test for the upcoming firmware update.