What just happened? PlayStation 4’s party-chat functionality will soon be seeing some upgrades. Before it does, Sony needs to test the features thoroughly and is asking PS4 owners for help.

On Tuesday, Sony announced it is making some changes to the PlayStation 4’s Party functionality. Users will be able to form parties of up to 16 people — double the current party max of eight. Developers have also improved the sound quality of chat audio. Additionally, network connectivity has been bolstered.

Before rolling out the changes, Sony would like users to help test the new features. Unfortunately, those who participate in the preview will not be able to enter regular chat parties. That is to say that previewers can only party up with other previewers.

Fortunately, each user participating will be allowed to invite up to 20 of their friends to the otherwise closed beta as well. This number is more than enough to cover the most frequent users on just about anyone’s friends list. Preview parties will be distinguished from regular parties by an asterisk preceding the party name.

In addition to the new Party features, testers will gain access to an early version of a chat transcription function that Sony has been developing for the PS4 Second Screen app. This app is also nested in the PlayStation phone app, but compatibility is unknown. It will convert the party's spoken chat into readable text on the phone. Users will also be able to type messages into the app, which will be read back to the party.

For those interested in trying out the new party features, Sony has set up a registration page. Once accepted as a tester, users will be sent a code to activate the upgrade. As mentioned, this code can be redeemed 20 times.

Testing has already begun, but Sony made no mention of when they were officially launching the changes to the general public.

Lead image credit: Walmart