Sony today rolled out the newest PlayStation 4 system update, 8.00. While the changes made by this update are generally good, some are less welcome.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) October 14, 2020
Among the new changes is the ability to use a third-party app — like Authy or Google Authenticator — to enable two-factor authentication on your PS4. Others include simplified parental controls and a host of new avatars. Perhaps the most important is the parental controls, which essentially allow parents control over which games their children use chat in. The child can request permission from their parents, and parents can allow their child to chat and view user-generated content in that particular game.
Another, less welcome part of the update is the adjustments it’s made is to sort of combine Parties and Messages. Now, when you want to start a new party, you must start a new group. No just creating parties and inviting particular friends over — you have to have a group message chat from which you can launch a party. Say for example, you have a group chat for two friends you play with regularly, and you want to play some Warzone or something together. But one of your friends wants to invite a friend — well, you can’t do that from the new Party system. Instead you have to form a new group with that friend in it in order to start a Party. It’s needless hassle. As Sony puts it, “now you can start a Party chat or send a message to the group you’ve previously chatted with across PS4, as well as PS5 when it launches.”
Lots of users are reporting the update has broken some of their friends lists, which isn’t a huge surprise. Updates can sometimes break things before an early patch is released. I say unsurprising, but it’s still disappointing. Users are also pointing out a new notification that says Sony will record voice chat in a Party for moderation, which sounds alarming but isn’t new.
New PS4 updates now are generally understood to be indications of what to expect from PS5. After all, the release of the latter console is so close, one would surmise Sony is trying to prep players who bought it to make the transition. I expect to see more features rolling out in the meantime, but for now I suppose we can surmise the chat system might be different on the new console.