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PS4 update lets parents decide which games kids can and can't chat in

Jon Fingas
·Associate Editor
·3-min read

Sony is giving the PlayStation 4 one more big update before the PS5 arrives, and it’s particularly good news for parents. A version 8.00 update releasing today makes multiple additions, including simpler and more adaptable parental controls. Limits on communication and viewing user-made content are now lumped together to make it “easier for parents to understand.” Crucially, kids can now ask for permission to use communications in specific games — you can make an exception if you know a young one will be talking to friends.

Not everything is positive. The 8.00 update removes user-made events and the creation of private communities. You can still use private communities that already exist, but they’ll clearly dwindle without the option to make more. Sony hasn’t explained the move, but we’ve asked for comment.

There are more additions that might offset that decision. Party and Messages are now more closely connected, with a new interface that uses the same groups for party voice chats and messages. Two-factor authentication finally supports third-party authenticator apps during activation as well as sign-ins across PS4, mobile apps and the web. And you can finally mute all mics from the Quick Menu — you don’t have to wade through menus (if your headset doesn’t have a mute switch) just to take a quick break from the action.

Sony is also updating its Remote Play apps for phones and computers to enable PS5 connections, although that clearly won’t be useful until the new console’s November 12th debut.

You might not want to rush to update to 8.00 when there are reports (albeit a handful) of party and friend issues. We’ve asked Sony about those as well. Even so, it’s hard not to be at least a bit sentimental about this update. While there will likely be other revisions, this may be the last major update you see if you’re planning to move to a PS5. If you do, you can expect a new visual experience that will leave the PS4 behind.

Update: In an update to the post, Sony responded to users on PS4 who’ve received a message about voice chat recording. Apparently on PS5, users will have the option to record voice clips that they can send to Sony to report them for moderation.

“Following this update, users are seeing a notification about Party Safety and that voice chats in parties may be recorded. Voice chat recording for moderation is a feature that will be available on PS5 when it launches, and will enable users to record their voice chats on PS5 and submit them for moderation review. The pop up you’re seeing on PS4 right now is to let you know that when you participate in a chat with a PS5 user (post-launch), they may submit those recordings from their PS5 console to SIE.”