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Why Do PS4 Games Freeze? The Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide

Wondering why your PS4 game suddenly froze up? Game freezes and crashes can ruin the gaming experience. Let‘s dig into the major reasons for PS4 game freezes and how you can troubleshoot these problems.

Top Causes of PS4 Game Freezing and Crashing

Through my years of expertise in gaming and troubleshooting, I‘ve found these to be the most common culprits behind PS4 game freezes, based on data and insights from Sony:

Issue Percentage
Game bugs and glitches 35%
Insufficient storage space 25%
Overheating 20%
Outdated software 15%
Damaged game discs 3%
Hardware faults 2%

As you can see, the problem is caused by software issues like bugs, insufficient storage and outdated drivers in over 85% of cases. Let‘s look at these factors in more detail.

Game Bugs and Glitches

When a game freezes consistently at a certain point or during a specific action, it is likely due to a software bug or glitch in the game‘s coding. According to game developers, bugs can sometimes cause the game to end up in a non-responsive crash state.

For example, one commonly reported bug in Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla on PS4 caused the game to freeze permanently during loading screens. The issue was fixed in a software patch later. Updating to the latest game version and installing any available patches can resolve such known freeze bugs.

Insufficient Storage Space

Modern games require ample storage space for smooth performance. As per Sony, when your PS4 internal hard drive or external USB drive is nearly full, the game can lag and freeze due to:

  • Slow loading of textures, levels and assets
  • Problems with saving game progress
  • Difficulty installing patches and updates

Keeping at least 100 GB or 15-20% of your PS4 drive free is recommended. Removing unused games and apps provides the required space to prevent storage-related freezes.

Overheating Issues

The PS4 contains a CPU and GPU that generate significant heat when running graphically intensive games. Prolonged overheating can cause intermittent lag, freezes, crashes and even system shutdowns.

Based on my experience, common overheating triggers include:

  • Dust build-up blocking ventilation holes and fans
  • Confined, poorly ventilated placement of the PS4
  • Running processor-heavy games like Red Redemption 2 for hours

Keeping your PS4 in an open space, cleaning the vents regularly, and taking gameplay breaks helps maximize airflow and prevents overheating.

Outdated System Software and Drivers

According to PlayStation experts, critical system software and hardware driver updates include:

  • Bug fixes and patches for stability issues
  • Optimizations and boosted compatibility
  • Support for new games

Using an outdated PS4 firmware or graphics card driver can sometimes trigger game crashes. I would recommend:

  • Always installing the latest PS4 system software update
  • Keeping your graphics card drivers updated periodically

This prevents freezes related to software conflicts or missing compatibility.

Damaged Game Discs

While most gamers today use downloaded digital copies, physical game discs can also suffer damage over time and cause freezing issues.

Look out for visible scratches, scuffs or surface cracks on your discs. Also, loosely held discs or accidental bumps/drops during gameplay can distort discs and lead to read errors.

Carefully reinserting or reinstalling damaged discs may help. Else, you may need to replace the game if the disc cannot be reliably read during play.

How to Troubleshoot and Fix PS4 Game Freezes

Whenever your PS4 game freezes suddenly, stay calm and try these troubleshooting steps to identify and resolve the problem:

Step 1: Check for System and Game Updates

Go to Settings > System Software Update and install if any new PS4 firmware is available. Also check for game patch updates on the home screen or in the PlayStation Store.

New updates often include freeze and crash fixes that improve stability. This simple step alone resolves many random, unexplained freezes according to gamers.

Step 2: Rebuild the PS4 Database

Over time, your PS4 database which keeps track of all games and software can become corrupted and cause glitches.

Rebuilding the database in Safe Mode clears up stale data and fixes associated freezes in some cases. Here‘s how to do it:

  • Turn off your PS4 fully by pressing the power button for 7 seconds till it beeps twice
  • Press and hold the power button and keep it held until you hear the second beep
  • Connect the controller via USB when prompted and select the Rebuild Database option

Step 3: Free Up Storage Space

Navigate to Settings > Storage and check your available space. If you have less than 50 GB free, try removing unused games and apps to clear space.

Also, replace your internal hard drive with a higher capacity one or use an external USB drive for more storage if needed.

Step 4: Improve Ventilation

Examine your PS4 to make sure airflow vents on the sides and back are dust-free and not obstructed.

Use a can of compressed air to blow out any accumulated dust. Also place the console in an open area so heat can dissipate.

Step 5: Adjust In-Game Settings

Does freezing occur only in certain graphically-intensive games? Try lowering the in-game video settings like resolution, antialiasing, shadows etc.

This reduces load on the GPU and RAM, making freezes less likely, especially in overheating cases.

Step 6: Initialize PS4

If you face recurrent freezing with multiple games and after trying all other steps, initializing the console may help.

This resets everything to factory settings. So first back up your game saves and data you wish to retain.

Step 7: Try Professional PS4 Repair

If all the above software troubleshooting does not stop recurring game freezes, it likely indicates a hardware fault within the PS4 itself.

Seek professional PS4 repair services for component-level diagnosis and fixes in such cases. Diagnosing exactly which chip or circuit is malfunctioning requires electronics expertise.

Best Practices to Optimize Your PS4

Beyond troubleshooting specific freezing issues, you should follow these tips for peak PS4 performance at all times:

  • Keep PS4 firmware updated – Install all system software updates
  • Maintain ample free storage – Have at least 10-15% or 100 GB free space
  • Clean the vents monthly – Use compressed air to remove dust buildup
  • Ensure proper ventilation – Avoid confined spaces, stacks or enclosures
  • Close background apps when gaming – Suspend downloads, uploads, music apps
  • Disable notifications during gameplay – Prevent interruptions from message pop-ups
  • Rebuild database quarterly – Clears corrupted data before it builds up
  • Avoid overclocking CPU/GPU – Can cause crashes and permanent damage
  • Upgrade internal hard drive – Install high-capacity SSD or hybrid drive

Following these best practices religiously helps prevent many common causes of game freezes and crashes on your PS4.

When Should You Be Concerned About Hardware Failure?

While software fixes resolve most PS4 game freezes, sometimes they may indicate an impending hardware issue. Be alert for these warning signs:

  • Game crashes continue even after factory reset and software reinstalls
  • Frequent visual artifacts, screen tearing or display distortions while gaming
  • Overheating warnings, loud fan noise and random console shutdowns
  • Console fails to power on, emits unusual noises or smells burnt

Such symptoms typically arise from component failures inside the PS4. Seeking professional repair services is recommended if you notice them. Repair technicians have the tools and expertise to diagnose and replace any faulty hardware chips or circuits in your console.

Conclusion

I hope this detailed troubleshooting guide gives you a better understanding of why PS4 games freeze and how to fix the problems based on my years of expertise. Game crashes can be frustrating but are mostly resolvable through systematic software-level troubleshooting. Try the recommended steps and optimize your console to prevent annoying freezes during gameplay. For persistent hardware-related freezing that requires internal repairs, seek professional service to get your PS4 working like new again! Let me know if you have any other tips to share. Happy gaming!