Sony has begun beta testing for PS4 update 7.0, which is set to be the next major upgrade for the system and perhaps the last one before the PS5 releases next year. Beta participants should receive an invite in the next few details, allowing them to test out the update’s new features and give feedback.
Among the marquee features for PS4 update 7.0 is a boost to the system's party chat limit from 8 players to 16. As multiplayer games have grown in scope, they have also accommodated larger groups. Division 2 bumped up against the limit of a PS4 party chat by supporting 8 players in its raids, but it’s possible that future games will add content that allows even more players to participate.
The one caveat to the upgraded Party Chat player limit is that those in the PS4 update 7.0 beta will not be able to join parties of players that are not also in the beta test.
Alongside the party chat upgrade, PS4 update 7.0 will also add functionality that allows updates to complete without restarting the PlayStation console. As it stands right now, system updates for the PS4 also restart the system, which forces games out of standby mode. It’s a small inconvenience, but being able to get through a system update quicker is sure to be an advantage.
While those are the two highlighted features in PS4 update 7.0, beta participants are also reporting a feature that allows for brightness customization on HDR-compatible content. Some games do offer brightness and black level tuning for HDR, but not all of them do. With this feature, players will be able to ensure that their HDR games look as good as possible on their monitors or HDR TVs. Presumably, if this feature is at the system level, it can also be used to tune video content played on the PS4 like through Netflix or the Blu-Ray drive.
Although console manufacturers are keen to tout HDR as a bullet point feature for gaming, it has been hit or miss depending on the game. Some games either look too dark regardless of the TV tuning and others look washed out. Hopefully, PS4 system update 7.0 can make those instances a little better.