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How to Fix Can‘t Activate PS4 as Primary PS4

Trying to set your PlayStation 4 as the primary PS4 on your account but running into issues? This frustrating problem prevents you from unlocking key benefits like playing games offline, sharing PlayStation Plus access, automatic downloads, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn how to troubleshoot and resolve the "Can‘t activate PS4 as primary" error for good.

Why Activating as Primary PS4 Matters

Before diving into fixes, let‘s look at why you should take the time to activate your PS4 as primary:

Play Digital Games Offline

When your PS4 is set as the primary system, you can play digital games, DLC, and use apps offline. This is perfect for gaming on the go without an internet connection.

According to Sony, up to 2 PS4s and PS5s tied to your PSN account can play your digital library offline when activated as primary. So designating your consoles properly enables this key benefit.

Share PlayStation Plus Perks

Activating as primary also lets other users on that PS4 access your PlayStation Plus subscription perks, like:

  • Online multiplayer
  • Monthly free games
  • Exclusive discounts
  • Cloud storage

This makes it easy to share PS Plus with family members. Sony notes you can only have 1 primary PS4/PS5 to enable this.

Automatic Downloads

Finally, setting your system as primary enables automatic downloads of game and content pre-orders, purchases, and application updates.

With automatic downloads enabled, new games will be waiting for you when you power on your primary PS4. It‘s a convenience that saves time and headaches.

Common "Can‘t Activate" Error Codes

When trying to activate your PS4 as primary, you may encounter an error code like:

  • WS-37398-0 – Can‘t activate as primary PS4 system
  • E-8210604A – Cannot use the content. The license cannot be verified.
  • E-8010006A – Could not verify license for application.

These point to an issue with your network connection or your Sony account‘s licenses. We‘ll cover how to interpret them and potential fixes next.

Troubleshooting Your Primary PS4 Activation

If you see can‘t activate PS4 primary errors, don‘t worry – there are a few things we can try to resolve activation issues:

1. Change Your DNS Settings

The first thing to try is switching your PS4 to use public DNS servers from Google or Cloudflare:

Google Public DNS

  • Primary:
  • Secondary:

Cloudflare DNS

  • Primary:
  • Secondary:

Here is how to configure this:

  1. Go to Settings > Network on your PS4
  2. Select Set Up Internet Connection
  3. Choose your connection type (Wi-Fi or LAN)
  4. Select Custom for IP address settings
  5. Pick Manual for DNS settings
  6. Enter the primary and secondary DNS servers above

Using public DNS bypasses any ISP blocking orrestrictions of Sony‘s activation servers. Once changed, try activating as primary again.

2. Try Your Mobile Hotspot

If public DNS does not work, attempt activating while connected to your phone‘s mobile hotspot:

  1. Turn on the mobile hotspot on your smartphone
  2. Go to Settings > Network on PS4
  3. Select Set Up Internet Connection
  4. Choose Use Wi-Fi and pick your phone‘s Wi-Fi hotspot name
  5. Test activating as primary PS4

After activating over the hotspot, you can switch back to your regular home Wi-Fi. This eliminates any problems from your local network.

3. Deactivate All Devices First

As a last resort, deactivate all devices linked to your PlayStation account, then try activating again:

  1. Visit the PlayStation website and sign in
  2. Click your profile picture and go to Account Settings
  3. Select Device Management > PlayStation Consoles
  4. Choose Deactivate All Devices to remove any others systems
  5. On your PS4, try activating as primary again

This forces your console to activate, as long as no other systems are taking the primary status.

4. Reset Your PS4 Connection

You can also try resetting your internet connection on the PS4 using these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Network > Set Up Internet Connection
  2. Select your connection
  3. Choose Custom > Automatic > Do Not Use for DNS settings
  4. Select Connect to the Internet
  5. Test activating again as your primary

Resetting and reconnecting may clear up any network issues blocking activation.

When to Contact PlayStation Support

If you still cannot activate after trying these troubleshooting tips, it‘s time to reach out to PlayStation Support for further help.

Some common issues that require contacting support include:

  • Reaching the deactivate limit – You can only deactivate devices on your account twice every 6 months. If you hit this limit, support can reset it.

  • License conflicts – Your Sony account may have issues with licenses that only support staff can rectify.

  • Multiple primary PS4s – Rarely, bug with your account can cause multiple devices to show as primary. Support can investigate and fix this.

I recommend using their live chat for the fastest response. You can also request a callback if you prefer phone support.

Key Takeaways for Activating Primary PS4

Fixing your primary PS4 activation issues may require some trial and error, but using public DNS, trying other connections, and contacting PS support are your best steps for resolving it.

The key takeaways around activating primary:

  • Designate primary status to enable offline play, sharing benefits, and auto-downloads.
  • Change DNS settings first when troubleshooting issues.
  • Attempt a mobile hotspot if DNS doesn‘t work.
  • Deactivate all devices as a last resort before support.
  • Don‘t hesitate to contact PS support for help.
  • Be persistent and you‘ll be up and running as primary.

With some focused troubleshooting, you can get your PS4 working properly as your primary console. The flexibility and convenience of primary status makes it worth the effort.