PlayStation Beta update adds party options and voice commands to PS5

Sony is rolling out a new beta for its PS4 and PS5 consoles tomorrow, adding a suite of UI tweaks, tweaks and accessibility features. Most notably, a brand new feature is coming to PS5 that will allow users to give voice commands to the console.

Limited to US and UK users, the version of voice control for PS5 consoles is a preview according to a PlayStation Blog post. Still, players entering the beta will be able to open a game or app on their PS5, as well as pause or resume media playback using their voice, just like PS4 users can. From a screenshot shared in the same blog post, it looks like users will be able to give voice commands to their PS5 by saying “Hey Playstation!” first.

As for party chats, users registered for the beta on PS5 and PS4 will be able to start closed games as well as open games. Closed games are essentially invite-only voice chats, allowing players to choose who enters. PS4 users will also be able to individually adjust the voice volume of anyone in their party, just like PS5 users.

The PS5 UI is also getting some slight changes, although folders – a popular feature on the PS4 – aren’t on this list. Instead, users will be able to filter their game collection by genre and mark some to keep on their home screen. In addition, the home screen will be able to contain a total of 14 games and applications.

While these and other changes will be coming in the latest PS4 and PS5 betas, not everyone will be able to try them out. According to the blog post, access will only be open to selected beta participants in the affected countries. Of course, anyone with a PS4 or PS5 will be able to try out these features when they officially roll out later this year, assuming they are.

A full list of everything coming to PS4 and PS5 in tomorrow’s betas can be found below.

February 2022 PS4 and PS5 Beta Changes List

New group chat options

In response to community feedback, we’ve made a few updates to the Parties system:

  • Open and closed games (PS5 and PS4 beta)
    • When starting a party, you can now select either an open party or a closed party:
      • An open party allows your friends to view and join the party without an invitation. Friends of group members can also join.
      • A closed party is only for players you invite.
    • Note: In Game Base on PS5 and Party on PS4, if you select [Open Party] when starting a party, only players using the PS5 or PS4 system software beta will be able to join. To start a group that non-beta players can also join, select [Closed Party].
    • Voice Chat Reporting Feature Update (PS5 Beta)
      • If you want to report something a member of a group said, visual indicators now let you identify who was speaking. This will help PlayStation Safety take appropriate action based on your report. You can learn more about this feature here.
  • Share Play Update (PS5 Beta)
    • Start Share Play directly from the voice chat card. You no longer need to share the screen first to use Share Play.
    • Voice chat volume (PS4 beta)
      • You can now individually adjust the voice chat volume for each player in a party on PS4, just like on PS5.

PS5 game base improvements

  • Voice chats are now called parties. For easier access, we’ve split the Game Base menu into three tabs: Friends, Groups, and Messages.
  • From the Game Base menu and control cards, you can now:
    • See all your friends under the [Friends] in the control menu, or access the player search function and friend requests via the links on this tab.
    • Add a player to a party or create a new party directly from Game Base in Control Center. You can also send text messages, quick messages, pictures, video clips and view group shared media from this card.
  • When a member of a group shares their screen, you will now see the (on air) icon.
  • We’ve made it easier to decline friend requests by adding a [Decline] button to your friend request list.
  • Increase of applications on the home screen
    • You can now display a total of 14 games and apps on your home screen.
  • Updated Trophies UI
    • We’ve updated the visual design of trophy cards and the list of trophies. You can also see suggested trophies to earn on the trophy tracker and access them from the control center every time you play a game.
  • Start Share Screen from the Create menu
    • From the Create menu, you can now start a share screen and stream your game to an open party.

New accessibility features

  • More screen reader languages
    • The screen reader, which reads text on the screen aloud and provides spoken instructions for using the console, is now supported in six additional languages: Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish and Korean.
    • This expands screen reader support to 15 languages, including the current ones (US English, UK English, Japanese, Italian, German, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, and Canadian French).
  • Mono audio for headphones
    • You can now enable mono audio for headphones so that the same sound plays from both left and right headphones, instead of a stereo or 3D audio mix. This feature provides an additional option to enhance the PS5 audio experience, especially for gamers with single-sided hearing loss.**
  • Checkmarks for enabled settings
    • You can now display a check mark on enabled settings so you can easily see that they are enabled.

Voice control (preview): limited release in US and UK

  • We’re also testing a feature that allows voice commands to find and open games, apps, and settings, as well as control media playback on the PS5 console.
  • This feature is currently available in English for beta participants with US and UK registered accounts
  • To get started, enable voice control (preview) in the Settings menu. Then call “Hey, PlayStation!” and ask your PS5 console to find a game, open an app or setting, or control playback while enjoying a movie, TV show or song.
  • You can help us improve functionality through our feedback program, which will sometimes record your voice commands (in accordance with our privacy policy) and allow you to provide instant feedback from time to time. You can disable this feature at any time in the system settings (see above). This feature never records audio for child accounts.
  • We are in a preliminary testing phase for this feature and will be evaluating it closely and listening to your feedback throughout the beta. For more details, see this page.

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