I’ve had my PS5 for over two weeks, and while I’ve enjoyed next-generation titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a new interface, phenomenally fast loading times, and more, nothing has changed in the way the game plays like the DualSense driver.
From haptic feedback to a refined and robust design, it feels like a real step from DualShock 4 and really helps to mount the PS5 as a next-generation console. But one of the best features of the controller – the built-in microphone – has already started to bother me.
The built-in microphone is a great idea – it allows multiplayer gaming without a headset, and developers use this feature to create new game mechanics at Astro, where you blow up the microphone to lift platforms.
The problem is that I keep forgetting that it exists. This is my main problem, and it has become more and more apparent in the last few weeks of playing online games and then in the middle of a game, when I’ve been broadcasting to strangers all my life.
Just press the mute button, dummy
Maybe right now you’re saying there’s a mute button directly below the PlayStation logo, and you’re right. But when I was in the middle of an Apex Legends match, where I muted the rest of my team by default, I forgot that my microphone was on in the first place.
It’s rare for the PS5’s UI to tell me I’m broadcasting – the microphone icon only appears on the screen when you mute or unmute the sound – meaning I chat with people at home while strangers on the Internet unknowingly listen in.
Fortunately, I didn’t read my bank details out loud or tell the world about the rash that still won’t go away, but there’s a degree of embarrassment that comes when you realize you’re sharing the conversations you thought were in your house with two other players in royal battle scenario.
It’s not just me. Adam Vjestica, the editor-in-chief of TechRadar, told me that he once exposed the world to a terrible noise when he ate a whole bag of Maoams, which is not a pleasant sight, let alone a sound. Cover the shame and embarrassment, all thanks to the microphone of the DualSense driver.
Muscle memory is not there
Muscle memory after connecting the headset to my DualShock 4 rather reminded me that I would be broadcasting either to my friends’ party or to a lot of strangers on the internet. With DualSense technology, I have to learn that I always broadcast by default, even if I don’t have a headset connected, which is not ideal.
However, there is a solution. It turns out that you can turn off the microphone function in PlayStation 5 by default. To do this, go to Settings> Sound> Microphone, and then change the status in the Microphone Status After Login section.
If you do not do this, even if you remembered to mute the microphone during a previous game session, the microphone will turn on again when you restart it.
Since making this change, I’ve also seen that the console automatically records your voice whenever you also pop up a trophy. The PS5 records a segment of the video just before you win the trophy, and also records your sound to capture the moment you screamed with joy when you finally defeated the boss of Demon’s Souls.
In theory, it’s a nice idea – but again, without a microphone icon or a clear message on the screen stating that I’m recording, I feel that Sony has overlooked a lot of privacy issues when developing this feature. It wasn’t too long ago that people feared that Kinect always listened to Microsoft, and in the case of DualSense it really is.
Privacy does not seem to be Sony’s main goal here, and while the basic idea is sound, more needs to be done to make users aware of what is happening. If you don’t want to broadcast your privacy to the world, be sure to change the settings in the DualSense driver to make sure it doesn’t record things you don’t want. Otherwise, you can share something you regret.