The CMOS battery, which is an internal component on both the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, controls the internal clock and is also used to check if a user is eligible to play a game. If this battery fails or breaks down over time, access to digital games will be blocked until the system can check permissions online.
The issue, which had previously been fixed on the PlayStation 4, began affecting PS5’s last month. This is a much bigger issue on the PS5, as one of the versions of the console, the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition relies entirely on downloaded games. CMOS failure on this unit would render it entirely useless.
YouTuber Hikikomori Media posted a video showing games booting from both a PS4 and PS5 without a CMOS battery, although for some reason, PlayStation Plus games were still unable to boot in these circumstances.
During the video, the host explains that removing the CMOS is an extremely difficult task, due to its location deep within the PS5. When he finally removes it, he finds that Astro’s Playroom, the game included with every PS5, boots perfectly fine.
When testing a physical game, Mortal Kombat 11, the game boots completely fine as well, with the user being able to play the single-player mode.
Eventually, CMOS batteries will degrade naturally, however when yours eventually does fail, you’ll be able to authenticate your games using the internet. This doesn’t account for what would happen in the future should PlayStation ever close their servers, an eventuality that game preservationists are urgently trying to rectify.