Sony Opens Early Access for New PS4 Party Features

Your PS4 Party is about to get a whole lot bigger (eventually), plus Sony's bringing some new accessibility features to its Party Chat system.
Your PS4 Party is about to get a whole lot bigger (eventually), plus Sony's bringing some new accessibility features to its Party Chat system.

PlayStation 4 players will soon be able to increase party sizes up to 16 members and have access to improved connectivity and chat features. To help test these new features, Sony is opening registration for its early access Preview Program as well.

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Sid Shuman, Sony’s director of social media, gave a rundown of the features being tested and what players can expect when they sign up.

Party sizes will be increased from 8 up to 16. However, it should be noted that those who sign up for the firmware beta test won’t be able to use Share Play or join the Party of those who aren’t also in the Preview Program.

To compensate for that, Shuman said the code participants will receive can be redeemed by 20 different accounts, meaning there will still be plenty of people to join up with.

The Program will also be testing out a new accessibility feature: chat transcription. This feature is only available for U.S. participants and only in English. Its purpose is to transcribe Party voice chat into text via the Second Screen app. It will also read text to other Party members that players enter into their app.

According to Shuman, participants will also be able to notice improved network connectivity during the Preview Program, along with improved audio chat quality.

Those interested in signing up for the test can do so here. Note that all participants will be selected by invitation only.

So far, there’s no information about when the firmware update is expected to exit its beta trial or launch for the wider public.

In fact, Sony’s major firmware updates are rather notorious for taking a while to exit their testing phases. On the bright side, though, they tend to iron out a lot of bugs and problems during that process, making the final product much more polished than it would otherwise have been.

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.