Sony will kill off PS4 Communities in April

Sony has announced that it will be ending support for the Communities feature on PS4. The company confirmed that Communities will no longer be available from April, and it seems the intent is to get people to use the messaging and PS app instead to communicate with others. Sony released a statement that you can read below.

“Thank you for using the Communities feature on your PlayStation®4 console. Beginning in April 2021, this feature will no longer be supported or available on your PS4™ console.

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However, you will still be able to stay connected and enjoy messaging features and more on your PS4™ console and PlayStation®App.”

Having debuted in 2015, there are thousands of communities in the PS4 ecosystem, with a mixture of official communities and fan-created groups, and varying levels of activity depending on the game. It seems Sony has weighed up the benefits of keeping communities running and decided they just are not worth maintaining long term.

The writing has been on the wall for Communities since last year and this is not the first move Sony has made against the Communities feature. Last March, the company removed the Communities app from iOS and Android stores seemingly due to a lack of regular active users, and the PS5 did not launch with Communities either. The PS5 launch and the new PlayStation App that Sony created for iOS and Android saw the company refocus their social efforts with changes to the way that party chats work and friends and chats now grouped together in Game Base on the PS5 system software. There’s no direct replacement to the function that Communities offers at this time.

The date of this removal may coincide with the release of system update 8.5, with one of the elements of that being the removal of Communities. The update is focused mainly on slight changes such as requesting being able to join a game session, allowing the host to send an invite, and not showing others what games you’re playing if you’ve hidden that game.

Source: Sony

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From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.

7 Comments

  1. How does the TSA community fare? I joined some communities but didn’t really engage in them which is a shame as it had lots of potential. This will invariably infuriate dedicated users and Sony again ruthlessly maybe prematurely shutting down services again. Add this to the PS Home servers, Resistance trilogy servers, MAG servers, SOCOM servers and many more :/

    • Now, there’s a slight issue. When they added communities, I thought I’d be nice and set up the TSA one. It had many pictures of skellingtons, for some reason.

      Now I’ve got a PS5, and the PS4 is all unplugged ready to go to whichever of my numerous nieces and nephews wants it the most, I can’t access the community at all.

      So everyone better behave until they shut them down, because any shenanigans are completely out of my control.

      I can see why Sony have done it they way they have, with the changes on the PS4 and then the PS5 relying just on that new system. But it’s a bit of a mess.

      With no TSA community, the only option would be to set up a party and invite all you lovely people. Want to post a picture of a skellington? You can do that to the party. Want to play a game with someone? It’s quite easy to invite people to join you.

      The only problem is, the endless notifications. You think your phone is bad for that? Nothing compared to the new parties. And you can’t mute individual parties.

      You probably want a permanent party with a couple of friends for a particular game. Join the voice chat for that party, everyone gets a notification, if they’re not up for it right now, that’s it. Nothing more until next time.

      But a party with dozens of people acting like the communities? Forget it. There’ll be constant notifications until you either leave, turn off all notifications (and miss everything else) or you just go and rant about it online ;)

      So the new parties are a nice idea, and work a lot better on the PS5, and could replace communities, but they need a lot more work. And it’s too easy to accidentally leave the whole party instead of the voice chat.

      Just a few extra options to mute certain notifications would be nice. You can hide messages while playing games or watching video. But messages covers individual messages and parties. Just an option to mute party messages. Or mute them unless you’re in the voice chat. And an option to override that on an individual basis. I’d want messages from a big group (or “community”) only if I was in the voice chat playing a game with them, and I’d probably always want messages from my party of a couple of friends I play with regularly.

    • Sony know much better than we do about how the feature has been used over the last few years, and that will have driven the shift in direction for the PS5. We don’t really know how Sony plans to expand the PS5’s social features going forward, but they likely have something in mind.

      • Yes, Sony know exactly how everyone’s using it. And they’ll have been doing extra research, asking people about these things.

        The problem is in what they do with all that knowledge. Could be that the majority of people are happy with the new system. There have been a lot of complaints about it, but that could just be a vocal minority complaining. Or maybe everyone thinks it’s a bit shit. Or could do with a lot more work. And really, the whole PS5 could have done with more work. A 6 month delay while they improve the UI would have helped. (There are some really nice little features in the PS5 though)

        So what will Sony do once they kill off communities and they’ve got the new party system?

        1. Our work here is done. And while sat at home in our pants too! Next job?
        2. It needs more work. Firmware update that does a tiny bit of the extra work in August.
        3. It’s not good! Let’s leave it alone for 3 years and then completely change it.

        I’m guessing at number 2. It’ll slowly improve and they’ll get it right just in time to change everything again in preparation for the PS6.

  2. I’ll miss them, it was a great way to share enthusiasm for a particular game, find info, assistance etc. When i couldn’t log into TSA recently i was glad i was able to ask if anyone in the community had the same issue.

    Recently i noticed one community in particular, the Sharefactory one, was full of spam, just idiots posting the same text 20 times in a row. I don’t know whether Sony just gave up on moderating or what but i think there were also quite a few “adult image” communities out there and Sony probably got a bit fed up having to deal with those.

    Community activity can wane once a game is abandoned for the next big thing but i was delighted to see the Driveclub community i joined way back when is still moderately active today – that’s going to be the real shame – losing communities for games that are no longer in the public eye but still have a dedicated following.

    I have to say i’m not overly enthused by everything i’m hearing about PS5’s UI and features, i really hope the system is more rounded-out by the time i actually get hold of one.

    • The PS5 UI isn’t great at the moment, but there’s plenty of good things there. It just needed a bit more polish.

      The quick menu that pops up when you tap the PS button (not hold it like you do on a PS4, which takes some getting used to) is neat. If someone invites you to join their game, it takes a fraction of the time to accept the invite compared to the PS4. The activity cards are a ridiculously clever idea.

      A lack of folders makes it difficult to find anything other than the most recent things you’ve played. And I ranted about the party system and notification overload already. And if you leave a disc in the drive, it will very noisily check it every 15 minutes or so. And PS4 games give you a very unhelpful “Unknown: Updated” notification popup. (But only the popup. The notification list shows which game updated).

      All things that I’m sure Sony will do something about eventually. And minor irritations you can ignore when the whole thing is so fast and quiet and makes PS4 games even better (especially in VR). And has a controller with very nice improvements.

  3. I found them interesting for a few months but it became obvious that they weren’t capable of handling a large number of posts, and for whatever reason I haven’t looked at any communities in years. My guess is the feature was dead anyway.

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