Sony’s latest PS5 beta, which began rolling out on 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 out the new feature, and to my surprise, it works pretty well, and I could see that it was a really useful way to navigate the console UI.
One thing I was happy to see was that the voice command feature was opt-in – if that holds up once the software update is widely released, that means you’ll have to actively choose whether you want that your PS5 listens to your voice. After installing the beta, I had to dig into the PS5 settings in a new “Voice Control (Preview)” section to enable it.
When you do, your PS5 will show you instructions on how to activate the voice command feature – just say “Hey PlayStation” (after making sure your mic isn’t muted and your console is connected to Internet). The instructions also include a list of some things you can tell your PlayStation to do, like open a specific game or pause the music.
Once the feature is enabled, when you say “Hey PlayStation”, a flashing white dot will appear in the upper left corner of your screen. When you say your command, it will appear as text next to the dot. In my tests, if the console understood my command, such as “go to main menu” or “open fortnitethen he would do.
When I would make a more vague statement, like just the word “Personage,“My PS5 instead shows games that it thinks are in the area of what I’m looking for. If it found only one option, I could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to open it. S If it found a few, it presented them as a numbered list, and I could say the number to access them or “see more” to bring up a search results page.
In my short tests, my PS5 accurately translated the vast majority of my sentences, even those with made-up video game words like “GreedAutumnand “Gungeon” (for Enter the dungeon). It responded quickly almost every time I said “Hey PlayStation”, although I’m not sure having my DualSense controller constantly listening to my voice will affect its already poor battery life. (PS5 voice commands also work with a DualShock 4 connected to an external mic, Pulse 3D wireless headphones, or the PS5 media remote, according to a Sony support document.) And if you’d rather your PS5 just listen not you all the time, you can turn this off and use fixed voice commands from a new “Voice” option which is available when you press the PlayStation button.
Personally, I don’t know how often I’ll end up using these voice commands. But I was impressed with what I tried, and could see how others might prefer voice commands over navigating the PS5’s sometimes clunky UI. It might be easier to jump to a game buried in your game library just by asking for it, for example. And if you say “Hey PlayStation, turn off” it will start going into rest mode, which might actually be an easier way to turn it off than what we already have.
PS5 voice commands are available for people on the beta released on Wednesday, though the feature only works in English and for users with registered accounts in the US and UK. The beta also includes updates to the PS5 UI, party chat, and more.