A new beta version of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5’s system software is out today, if you feel like a taste of things to come.
As dramatic as that might sound, the new features aren’t going to set the world alight, though they rightly make the console and its games a little more accessible. Thanks to what may or may have not been a listing error, there have been rumours that PlayStation 3 backwards compatibility was coming to the PlayStation 5. Well, there’s absolutely no sign of that nor, in honesty, did we expect there to be.
What the beta version of the new system software does is add a few features. These will, provided they don’t make the consoles launch razor blades and rusty nails from every port, eventually make their way to all PS4 and 5s.
You can find the full list of changes here, which include interface tweaks, voice chat updates and more. One theoretically useful change is the ability to use voice commands to run games, play media and more on the PS5. We say theoretically because the truth is that while we’ve been able to do this on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we’ve rarely actually used the feature.
Starting tomorrow, PS5 and PS4 beta participants can test drive some new system software features: https://t.co/9bqTamfvgv
☑️Party chat options for PS5 and PS4
☑️UI enhancements and accessibility features for PS5
☑️Voice command preview for PS5 (U.S. & U.K. only) pic.twitter.com/7zH0qTHUCE
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) February 8, 2022
There’s also the the ability to host closed as well as open parties on the PlayStation 4 and 5. In other words, if someone on your friends list has been an arse recently, you can exclude them and imagine them huffing and puffing in a corner while you and your more reasonable friends have fun. Most importantly, however, there’s a couple of accessibility updates including new screen reader languages and the ability to have mono audio, without losing half the sound.
To get access to these betas you’ll have to register for either the PlayStation 4 System Software/Firmware Beta Program here, or the PlayStation 5 Program here. Make sure you read the small print – you’re testing something that could, in theory, render your console inoperable, no matter how remote that possibility might be.