If you own a PlayStation 3, it’s probably not a good idea to perform a system update today. Hundreds of PS3 owners have taken to gaming forums this afternoon to complain that updating to version 4.45 of the console’s firmware has caused it to stop functioning.
The latest estimates peg the number of affected consoles at less than 10 percent. Most who have updated are reporting no issues. Still, is it really something you want to risk?
Though affected gamers are reporting “bricked” consoles, most are using the term incorrectly. In true tech terms, a bricked device is a device that will not even turn on — usually to the point that it can never be repaired. Essentially, it refers to a device that’s equally as useful as a real brick. PS3 consoles affected by the 4.45 firmware issue are not bricked in that sense of the term, but they are unable to play games or steam media. So, basically, they are about as useful as bricks.
At this time, we don’t know if there are specific versions of the PS3 that are affected by this issue. There are rumors it’s only an issue for those with internal hard drives at or over 500 GB capacity.
Users on gaming forums are warning those affected by the glitch not to format their hard drives and try reinstalling the software, as that would cause a loss of saved data and it may be possible to resolve the issue without formatting.
Some have posted possible solutions, such as the one copied below (which comes via Reddit), but none are confirmed to work at this time.
you can fix it yourself. to do this, boot into safe mode and re-update the firmware. to access safe mode (i didn’t know it existed until this): power off the ps3, then hold down the power on key until the system has powered up three times. do not release the power key until the third power up. the 1st power up is normal mode (which is broken), the 2nd is video reset mode (which won’t help) but the 3rd will bypass the broken firmware and let you re-update. sony gets bad marks for releasing an incompletely tested firmware update, but kudos for having the safe mode which saves you having to send it in and them from being sued.
This news comes at a time when Sony is riding high. The company emerged from E3 as the darling of the gaming world — mostly because many of the details Microsoft revealed about the Xbox One (no used games and the need for a constant Internet connection, primarily) were so distasteful to gamers.
Sony is expected to release a patch that will resolve this issue in the coming hours or days.