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The Ultimate Guide To The PlayStation 5 (PS5)

Well here we are! You’ve finally waited out the long-term supply shortages had, or maybe you simply ponied up enough dough to get a PS5 off eBay. Either way, if you’ve got a PS5 in hand, you’re ready to experience some of the best modern games in one of the coolest, most powerful, and yes largest video game consoles ever made.

So, why are we here instead of playing games? We want this guide to be a place where you can go from being new to the PS5 to being an expert, and in practically no time. So, we’re going to present a sort of blitz of the key info for a PS5 owner below, and you can take an off ramp here or there to another article if you want to learn more.

We’re going to cover it all today – from basic setup, through compatibility and special features, and, of course, a few things you need to know about your PS5’s duel-sense controller.

We’ll also cover integration of the PS5 with other apps and platforms, as well as the backward-compatibility situation and just what games are available to you (and how)! Hang around for some of the most common troubleshooting issues we see as well, so you can be prepared for when the worst inevitably happens.

But, enough talk–let’s get to the guide so you can get back to gaming! Let’s start with the basics – assuming your PS5 is brand-spanking new, how do you set it up?

Setting Up A New PS5? Here’s What You Need To Know

There are a few things you want to get right during the initial setup of the PS5, starting with where you actually put it!

Where To Put Your PS5

There’s no getting around it–the PS5 is huge. Even the disc-free model (more on that later) is quite large, and this may complicate some setups.

So, what do we see people do the most here? First, there’s the tried-and-true option of placing the PS5 on the floor. This will work, but it may cause some issues if you’re putting it on carpet…if you must do that, at least don’t lie it down flat, and if you do be sure to use the included mount for a little clearance.

Behind the TV or in a cabinet is a great option if you need to just keep the thing out of sight, but as experts in this kind of thing, we have an off-the-wall solution for you…literally!

Pro-Top: Running out of space for this space-ship sized console? You can use a simple wall mount to put your PS5 your wall, which is better for airflow too!

Why does placement matter? Ultimately, the PS5 is so beefy that it’s just going to build up a lot of heat. So, the placement game is really about optimizing airflow and cleanliness. So, on the floor is worse, flat is worse, and carpet is much worse. Why? Because of dust.

Just because the console works today for a long play session doesn’t mean it won’t build up dust over time, and this will eventually lead to overheating, but we’ll talk about those a bit further down. For now, just know that placement is an airflow and dust-prevention game.

If you have to put your console somewhere where you’re worried about dust, just set a reminder to vacuum it out and clean it every few months.

Getting Connected to the Internet (2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz vs. Ethernet)

When it comes to internet, you’ve got wired and wireless options available to you in theory, but most people use Wireless networks. If your router is close, you should use ethernet for stability, but you have Wi-Fi there are a few more details you should get right.

First, note that most modern router’s offer 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless bands, or separate avenues for traffic. We recommend connecting your PS5 to a 5 GHz band to reduce traffic congestion and keep your gaming experience consistent. You may run into some internet issues along the way, but most of them are VERY simple to fix.

Pro-Tip: Use Ethernet to connect your PS5 if your router is nearby, and if you only have WiFi as an option, try to put the PS5 on your 5 GHz wireless band.

There’s not much more to say about this, other than the fact that you can use a wireless hotspot in a pinch–more on that in the next section.

Watch Out For Storage Issues

PS5 Storage Issues

The Playstation is just like anything else: it fills up over time, and that can cause some frustrating issues. When it comes to managing space, first you’ll need to know how to add storage space to your PS5 when you need to.

Another concept is “cloud storage,” which is how your PS5 syncs data across your account. If you run into this during setup (or at all), have a look at our guide on handling it here, but this is a pretty obscure problem not many people seem to run into that often.

Next, if you have a limited data plan (or god forbid you’re attempting to game on a mobile hotspot), then you should be aware of data usage. The PS5’s data use varies a lot, but the simple way to think about it is: a game is however big it claims to be, so if you download it you’ve used that much data, and if you’re playing an online multiplayer game you’re spending about 300MB/hr for that.

Of course, you’ll only need more storage space if you’re downloading a bunch of games, which brings us to our next section!

About That Disc Drive…

Just an FYI – if you purchased the PS5 digital edition, you’ll never be able to add a disc drive to it, but you can play a lot of great games using Gameshare and access the back-catalog as described above.

That said, the PS5 with disc drive can also play Blue-ray’s and DVDs, so if that’s important to you it may help sway your decision here if you haven’t picked between the digital and disc editions yet. This is definitely one of the thing that we think makes the PS5 so worth buying when compared to either the Xbox or the Steam Deck.

Honorable Mention PS5 Factoids

Lastly, a quick grab-bag of the questions we see most often on this console that don’t fit anywhere else!

If you’re traveling to a big lan party, be sure to note our guide on: can you bring a ps5 on a plane as a carry-on.

Maybe you’re wondering if you can put your PS5 in a fishtank for added cooling? Just kidding…we don’t know of anyone who has tried this, mainly because the PS5 isn’t waterproof! If you’re buying one used, you may want to know how to check it for water damage.

And if you’re one of those people with extremely deep pockets and you’re trying to manage two PS5s in your household, be sure to set up one PS5 as the primary console so everything acts how you’re expecting it to as you move from console-to-console.

PS5 Backward Compatibility & Gameshare

Playing games on ps5

Now that you’ve got your console placed and you’re up and running, the question occurs: what games can you play? If you got the PS5 disc edition, then you know there are great Sony exclusives like Spiderman that you can buy and play, but what about Sony’s extensive back catalog?

We’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are hundreds of back catalog titles as far back as the PS2, but, you have to use Playstation Now to subscribe and access them.

Have a look at our dedicated resources on PS3 and PS4 backward compatibility respectively, and note that you can typically just pop your PS4 discs into your PS5 and expect them to work just fine (though that doesn’t work the other way around…)

Next, let’s talk briefly about Gameshare! This is a Playstation feature that let’s you–you guessed it–share your games! If you have a game purchased on a PS4, you can actually share that to your PS5 console, so that’s another option you can explore to find out what you have access to already.

Lastly, let’s talk VR gaming. You’re probably aware that PS5 is on the forefront of VR technology. The PSVR headset is a great option. There are better options on the market, but all of them require you to spend thousands on computing hardware, so, the PS5 is a fantastically cost-effective way to get into VR.

You can actually use an Oculus Quest VR headset with the PS5, but it requires some technical workarounds.

Some Notes on “Hidden” or Special PS5 Features

Before we turn our attention toward troubleshooting PS5 issues and peripherals like the controller and headsets, there are a few things you should know about your new console.

First, there’s a basket of edge-case info that you may want to know about, like the PS5’s built-in web browser. This is super handy to have in your back pocket. This makes sense, really, because the PS5 is just a computer!

So, it’s no surprise you can do other computing things on a PS5 that aren’t super obvious at first. You can edit videos you’ve capture on the console, connect your AirPods or other BlueTooth headphones using a bluetooth adapter. Normal PC’s have interchangeable cases, and while you can’t replace the entire case of your PS5, you can swap out the console’s faceplates to achieve a more…aesthetically pleasing look.

Troubleshooting Issues On The PS5

PS5 On Desk - Showing Error - 2

Now we’ve come to that critical point: what to do if you have a problem! First, you should be aware that the console comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty (in the US…2 yrs in the UK), so, keep that in mind if you run into any really sticky situations you can’t fix using our guides.

We’ll look at PS5 troubleshooting in this section, and we’ll handle audio issues and problems with the DualSense controller further down.

First, Let’s Talk About Stability

If your PS5 starts randomly crashing, that is almost certainly an overheating problem.

Due to placement, dust, or other nearby devices heating up an enclosed space, random crashes will happen as the console heats up and it won’t be easy to predict or diagnose other than it will happen basically randomly after intense use.

And remember: the PS5 should be pretty quiet (but not silent), so if the sound starts to ramp up–that’s the fans working harder.

This is the most direct way you can diagnose overheating: just listen and see if the fans are louder than they should be, or were in the past.

Another common stability issue is the PS5 literally just turning off and on unexpectedly, or maybe not turning on at all. This is typically an HDMI control issue or a sleep timer, but it can be a little spooky (lol).

Next, Let’s Look At Gaming Performance Issues

You may notice various issues with your console’s performance over time. A flickering screen, or the infamous “black screen of death” are pretty dramatic fail-states, but they don’t happen very often.

You may run into visual distortion or blurriness issues, or the gameplay may lag. We have dedicated guides on those, and they are pretty easy problems to work through on the whole.

Lastly, sound is critical to enjoying games properly, and while we look at headset and mic echo problems below, this is the right spot to let you know that general PS5 audio glitches can typically be worked through pretty quickly using our guide.

The PS5 DualSense Controller

This is an amazing device, and while it works just fine out of the box, there are a few things you should know about it’s features and what problems you might face with the controller. First, let’s look at features.

PS5 DualSense Controller Features & Charging

First, some notable features. The DualSense controller has Bluetooth built in, and you can use it to connect to your PC (and/or with Steam), play your Xbox cloud games, and even connect it to your phone to use with mobile games.

For truly LEET gamers, you can also upgrade the remote by adding aftermarket paddles to get an edge in competitive games, or just based on your personal preference.

What can’t this controller do? Well, it can’t connect to your PS4 if you still have one laying around, and you definitely shouldn’t drive your Tesla with it!

When it comes to charging, you should know that the controller lasts about 12 hours on a charge, and you don’t have to worry about it overcharging when you leave it on a dock or plugged in overnight, because the controller has software to prevent overcharging.

With all those features in mind, let’s next turn our attention to what can go wrong….

Troubleshooting the PS5’s DualSense Controller

Past understanding the ways to manage your DuelSense’s power, you should understand some of the most common issues you may run into. Over time, you may run into things like the controller connection dropping, or you may feel like there’s lag between the controller and the console.

Occasionally, you may notice that the controller won’t stop flashing blue after turning it on, in which case you should start by restarting everything before referencing our guide.

When it comes to other gameplay nuisances, you should watch out for DualSense Thumbstick Drift over time, and note that if the controller won’t stop vibrating that’s typically fixed by a restart.

Pro-Tip: If the DualSense vibration is bothering you, you can disable it in Settings–>Accessories–>Controller. Many competitive gamers prefer to do this to minimize distractions during intense multiplayer matches.

PS5 Headset & Audio Options

PS5 Gaming Headset

When it comes to using a headset with both speakers and a mic, or using a seaprate microphone, you have a few options.

The simplest will be a wireless headset that is designed to work with the PS5 and other BlueTooth devices, like the Sony’s PULSE 3D Wireless Headset (on Amazon) or the Audeze Maxwell Wireless Gaming Headset for PC, Mac, andP PS5 (also on Amazon), which we can’t recommend more highly for use with gaming consoles.

We’ll start by looking at some other options before turning our attention toward some troubleshooting notes on PS5 audio management below.

Using Headsets and Microphones on the PS5

There’s not too much to say about your options here – while we recommend a headset (see above), you may also want to know how to connect a headset to the PS5 quickly and easily.

Past that, maybe you want to use a USB mic, or a Bluetooth mic (which is a little more complicated), in which case we have two guides on how to figure those situations out. You may run into some snags, so let’s briefly touch on troubleshooting next.

And don’t forget, as we mentioned higher up in the article: you can try to use your Airpods with the PS5.

Troubleshooting Hedset/Mic Audio Issues on the PS5

If you’re using your own microphone, or a headset that isn’t designed by Sony directly, you may have to wade into some PS5 mic echo problems, in which case you can reference our detailed guide.

Connecting With Friends on the PS5

When you’re trying to connect with your friends, you have a lot of options, and that means more problems–trying to connect with friends without using a stock headset or directly on PS5, can be a trick though.

Adding other players on PS5 is simple enough–search for their username, add them, and then you can easily connect and join game sessions (as long as you have the same games to play).

But how do you talk to them? If you’re using PS5’s built-in chat, again, it should be pretty seamless. But if you need to go deeper, you may want to that you can add PS4 players as friends and even play some games with them online (in games that the developer’s have added PS4/PS5 cross-play support).

As far as the communication solution, you can also use Discord on PS5 to connect with friends, and even stream your PS5 game sessions to Discord if that’s your goal.

If you’re trying to get more fancy, check out our notes on how to screen-share Zoom calls onto your console, but note that you can’t video-chat directly from the device.

You have a lot of options here, but, as we said above: we recommend using the stock Sony headset or the Audeze Maxwell (for PS5) for the best experience here.

Wrapping it All Up

The PlayStation 5 stands as a testament to the evolution of gaming, merging power with versatility. Whether you’re a new or seasoned PS5 owner, we hope this guide has helped your learn more about your device and how to get the most out of it.

Whether you’re delving into backward compatibility questions, optimizing your console’s placement for airflow, or exploring the myriad of connectivity options with friends, the PS5 offers a rich and immersive gaming experience for those who take the time to unpack all of it’s features. Happy gaming!