If you were a fan of the classic Party Chat system on PlayStation 4, you aren’t alone, let’s talk about why the new PlayStation 4 party chat system is a mess and why Sony should have left it alone.
Let’s rewind to a few nights ago. It’s your normal night. You boot up your PlayStation 4, turn on your TV, get your drink, snacks if you have any, and you sit in your usual spot, before putting your headphones on. You go to the Party Chat tab, Create a Party Chat, and bam, you’re in.
A few invites have been sent out to your crew and the next thing you know, you’re playing matches of Overwatch or Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Warzone without a hitch. Due to the fact random people are joining in, you decide to set the chat to private or limit it down to four users from the alloted amount from before.
Now, you’ve updated to the PlayStation 4’s latest firmware, 8.00, or what should be a decent update. Except, the features are absolutely mind-numbling bad. You decide, well, let’s open a party chat. So you do go to do so, but now, you can’t. Why? Well, the features have changed completely as Sony aimed to do dedicated servers and peer-to-peer hosting for their partyy chat system.
Except now, the issues have become more abundant as Sony had migrated chats into their messenging and group features. While this “streamlined” idea seemed a bit smarter, it is actually a bit tougher, messier, and even less accessible than it had been before.
Now, you have to open up a group in messages or through the party interface, from there, you have to join a party chat when at all possible in order to ensure that the party chats can be used. Due to this, players are restricted from several past features that they’ve come to know and love.
One of these features, happens to be the use of private parties that allow them to invite their friends without the concerns of unwanted guests being pulled into the chat itself. It also removed the ability for players to invite anyone and everyone that they can in order to get a group going, which is almost essential in games such as Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or even Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.
Anyone else having crashes, performance drops, sluggish menus(more so than normal) and unable to invite friends. So many party features removed from private/open parties, invites, starting applications together/sending invites through party, and so much more. The integration of msg’s + parties was a terrible move imo–Cool-Sage/Reddit
Now, fans are rather irritated by the changes and rightfully so. The change, to some, is more than just absolutely annoying, but it also removes ease of access due to how Sony has set their party chat system up. Fans have taken to multiplesocial media platforms and forums such as Reddit in order to voice their thoughts, which all are a resounding call for the chats to return as they were, which is a more streamlined approach.
It also comes hot on the heels after Microsoft’s latest update, which has kept their Party Chat features just as they were, and of course, allows Xbox One, 360, Xbox Series X, PC, and even mobile-chat users to game together without a hitch. The idea of this synchronicity and ease of access is part of what, some have pointed out, has kept the Microsoft ecosystem user friendly and even what’s pushing some users to the Xbox brand.
“Party and Messages will be more tightly linked together and you will see changes to the UI. Both apps will now use the same ‘Groups’ of players for Party voice chats and message exchanges, instead of having different groups setup across the two apps. So 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,” explained Sony in regards to their latest system update.
Revert this update and reevaluate it please.
The new party chat discourages multiplayer, meeting new players, and even makes it difficult to communicate with current friends. Think about any game with an LFG system, now you have to create a new group message for your new team and nobody else but them can join, then the group will be disbanded and never used again after that. Players are also unable to create a party and add additional people that aren’t in their premade group, a new party would be started if an invite is sent to the player outside the group. Solo players will also no longer be able to create a party chat for themselves.
The changes to the mute functionality were also half baked, muting a player makes it so you can’t hear them BUT they can still hear you. I’m hoping most of what I listed are just bugs, but a lot of important components of PSN seem to have been overlooked with 8.00. Lots of players are also reporting PS+ not recognizing their account and games are failing to even boot up. This is why I think a revert would be the best course of action in order to keep things afloat, and it’d give 8.00 more time back in beta. I posted this on the PS 8.00 Update Blog as well.–Moist_Yeti_Yams/Reddit
While in practice, Sony’s idea seems rather easy to use. It sounds actually pretty damn innovative, but to be honest, it’s not. It’s a downright mess and it’s causing a rift that Sony may not have expected to have happened after rolling out their latest firmware, which has led to fans to already proclaiming their interest in an Xbox Series X due to Sony’s design decisions and not offering the original party chat system as something to use and intergrating the new features into it altogether.
On Redit, user DeGudLordDarkRage offered up some reasonable thoughts in regards to the latest updates, which also brings in some major drawbacks to it as well for those wanting to appear offline, “It’s a stupid update even when it does work. The requirement of having groups for every party means you’ll have to have tons of sub-groups for every different session that you want to include/exclude certain players.
And on top of that, removing “play together” effectively means you’re 100% dependent on each games invite system, many games invite systems literally don’t let you invite offline players, meaning those players can no longer hide in peace to play with you.
Me? The moment I go online I start getting tons of messages and invites from people asking to play with me. I like those people, but I don’t always want to play with EVERYONE. This makes it impossible to hide and just play with 1 particular person.
Even worse, some games like battlefront 2 have a weird glitchy friendslist that only shows like 20 players, regardless of if they are on battlefront or not. “Play together” was the only workaround for inviting players that weren’t showing up on the in-game friends list.”
“Even worse, some games like [Star Wars Battlefront II] have a weird glitchy friendslist that only shows like 20 players, regardless of if they are on Battlefront or not. ‘Play Together’ was the only workaround for inviting players that weren’t showing up on the in-game friends list,” the user stated.
The concerns that DeGudLordDarkRage pointed out are very well worth noting and something we actually agree with due to the changes made to the Party chat system in Firmware 8.00. The oddest part isn’t even something users are really pointing out at this time: Private Communities.
Many of those private communities were used for clans, groups, or even inner circles who didn’t always want to add random users to their friendslists. This whole update, party chat stuff aside, is solid, but we aren’t exactly sold on the party chat changes, which as a team who uses PlayStation as our go-to reviewing platform, we’re even baffled.
For what it’s worth, maybe Sony should have taken a few notes from Microsoft’s latest UI update this time around and realize, even their Party Chat system is the classic Xbox 360 one, just updated, streamlined, and modernized to benefit three generations of Xbox consoles.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.