Sony’s latest PS5 beta, which started rolling out Wednesday, adds support for a new “Hey PlayStation!” voice command you can use to open games, apps and settings and control movies and songs. I was able to test the new feature and to my surprise it actually works quite well, and I could see that it is a really useful way to navigate the console UI.
One thing I liked to see was that the voice commands feature was opted in – if that’s true once the software update is widely released, that means you’ll have to actively choose whether or not you want your PS5 to listen to your voice . After installing the beta, I had to dig into the PS5’s settings for a new “Voice Command (Preview)” section to enable it.
When you do, your PS5 will show you instructions on how to use the voice command feature – just say “Hey PlayStation” (after making sure your mic isn’t muted and your console is connected to the internet). The instructions also list some things you can ask your PlayStation, such as open a specific game or pause music.
Once enabled, a pulsing white dot will appear in the top left corner of your screen when you say “Hey PlayStation.” When you say your command, it appears as text next to the period. In my testing, if the console understood my command, such as “go to the main menu” or “open Fortnite”, would then do it.
If I were to make a vaguer statement, like just the word “Persona,“My PS5 instead shows games that it thinks are close to what I’m looking for. If it only found one option, I could say “yes” or “no” to open it. If it had a few found them, it presented them as a numbered list, and I could say the number to go to that thing or “see more” to see a search results page.
During my short tests, my PS5 accurately translated the vast majority of my sentences, even those with made-up video game words like “GreedVal” and “Gungeon” (for Enter the Gungeon† It responded almost every time I said “Hey PlayStation”, although I’m not sure if having my DualSense controller constantly listening to my voice will affect the already mediocre battery life. (The PS5’s voice commands also work with a DualShock 4 connected to an external microphone, a wireless Pulse 3D headset, or the PS5 media remote, according to a support document from Sony.) All the while, you can turn that off and silently using voice commands from a new “Voice” option available when you tap the PlayStation button.
Personally, I’m not sure how often I’ll be using these voice commands. But I’m impressed with what I’ve tried, and I could see how others prefer voice commands to navigating the PS5’s sometimes clunky user interface. It might be easier to jump to a game buried in your game library, say by asking for it. And if you say, “Hey PlayStation, turn it off” it starts putting itself into rest mode, which might be an easier way to shut it down than what we already have.
The PS5’s voice commands are available to people in the beta released Wednesday, though the feature only works in English and for users with accounts registered in the US and UK. The beta also includes updates to the PS5 UI, party chat, and more.