It took over a year, but Sony has finally added a long-promised feature to the PlayStation 4 -- the ability to pause games, switch to another PlayStation app, and then restart without a hitch or needing to go to a save menu.

So if your pet or child knocks over a precious vase while you're in the middle of a firefight, you can freeze the game by heading to the homescreen and then pick up right where you left off without sacrificing anything.

Sony had originally promised the ability to pause and resume games even before the system launched in 2013, but it will finally actually happen in a Thursday update.  The feature should work for every game available on the console, said John Koller, Sony's vice president of platforms marketing, in a company blog post. It is similar to the instant switching feature already offered on Microsoft's Xbox One.

Along with the resume option, the update will also let you back-up and restore your console's hard drive to and from an external thumb drive. It also includes a few features aimed at making the PlayStation and its games more social. Users will be able to find PlayStation friends by searching through their Facebook contacts -- if they've linked their accounts -- and makes it easier to join in on games that your friends are already playing. Sony is also now letting users automatically install system updates on the console.

When it comes to sharing, Sony has also added a feature that automatically takes a screen shot when you hit a milestone in a game, and lets you easily share the news with friends over your feed. You can see the full list of updated features on Sony's official blog.

Sony also said that updates will hit the PlayStation App and PlayStation Vita.

The update comes just about a week after the company began selling its console in China, a massive potential market for gaming companies; the country recently lifted its 14-year-old ban on the sale foreign game consoles.