PS5 Beta Announced With Voice Commands, Open Party Support and Accessibility Improvements


Sony is set to roll out its second PlayStation 5 system software beta today, introducing new features for users to personalise their party chat. PlayStation 5 owners will finally be able to use voice commands, starting with “Hey PlayStation”, and also use new accessibility features such as mono audio and expanded screen reader language support. The company will also begin testing Open Party support for groups on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles. Gamers in select regions can sign up to test beta software for PS5 and PS4, ahead of the official rollout later this year.

The company explained in a blog post that it was adding support for Open and Closed parties for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles later this year, after testing on the beta channel. Starting an Open Party will allow a player’s friends to see and join in without an invite, along with any party member’s friends. However, all players will need to be on the beta version of the system software to join an Open Party. Meanwhile, Closed Parties will require an invite to join, according to Sony.

playstation 5 parties sony playstation sony

Sony says voice chats have been renamed to Parties in the upcoming beta PlayStation system software
Photo Credit: Sony

As part of the latest beta for Sony’s PS5 system software, gamers in the US and the UK will be able to test a preview of voice commands for quickly locating and opening games and apps. Media playback can also be controlled with voice commands, according to the company. Gamers can enable the Voice Command (Preview) setting and say, “Hey PlayStation” to begin using voice commands on their PlayStation 5. The feature only works with the English language setting and will send some audio back to Sony — this can be turned off in the settings.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 Game Base has also received enhancements as part of the upcoming beta version, and players will now have access to three sections Friends, Parties, and Messages. The user interface has also received improvements including the ability to filter by genre, support for up to 14 games and apps on the home screen, and the option to pin up to five games and apps on the home screen with a “Keep in Home” button.

Accessibility improvements are also coming to PS5 owners, including support for six new Screen Reader languages — Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, and Korean, bringing the total number of languages supported up to 15. Gamers with unilateral hearing loss will also be able to enable mono audio on their headphones, instead of stereo or 3D audio, according to Sony.

Gamers who want to try out the PS5 beta system software can sign up on the PlayStation website, and the company will inform users if they have been selected, when a beta version is rolled out. Previous generation console owners can also sign up to try out the PlayStation 4 beta system software on the PlayStation website. Sony says that some of the features being tested may not be available in the final version rolled out to all users later this year, once testing has concluded.

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