PS5 console the latest system software update was released yesterday worldwide for all PS5 players, and many of you have already seen new features like Discord voice chat and 1440p VRR support.
For a peek behind the curtain, we sat down with Hiromi Wakai, VP of Product Management in Tokyo, to discuss how the new features came to be and what’s next after the latest update.
sat down Schumann: Nice to talk to you again, Hiromi! Can you tell us about your role at PlayStation?
Hiromi Wakai: My team is responsible for managing hardware products, system software updates, and network services for PlayStation, working closely with teams in the US and Europe. I am fortunate to help drive our product strategy on a global level.
I joined the Sony Group in 2001 and came to SIE in 2005, so I’ve been working on PlayStation products for almost 18 years. It’s been a great journey listening to our fans and game development partners as we work to develop new features and products that unlock the possibilities of the game.
Sid: Discord voice chat is a big addition.
Hiromi: Discord voice chat has been one of the biggest requests from our community, and we’ve been working hard with the Discord team to create an experience that we hope our players will enjoy. I use Discord when I play Final Fantasy XIV raid with my PC friends, so Discord Voice Chat is an important feature for me and we are very excited to introduce it to our community. Together with Discord, we want to make it easy for people to connect with each other wherever they like to play.
Sid: What are your favorite features in this new update?
Hiromi: I’m very happy that we’re providing variable refresh rate support for 1440p, because this feature is highly requested by gamers who like to play on 1440p capable monitors. VRR is a great way to improve the visual performance of PS5 games, so we’re excited to see more of our gamers benefit from this feature.
The ability to wirelessly update your DualSense controller is another feature that I think adds convenience for players and makes the process of updating your controller software much easier.
Sid: How do you determine which features are included in a system update?
Hiromi: We are inspired by our players, so we always listen to their feedback. We’re always thinking about the features our fans might want to see and ways to make their gaming experience on PS5 more fun, social and connected. It’s also important to us to minimize friction in players’ ability to seamlessly transition to the experiences they want to enjoy on PS5. We maintain a very long list of features and carefully consider how we prioritize our time and resources to deliver those that will have the greatest impact on our players’ experience.
We are focused not only on improving the core PS5 experience, but also on providing great integrated platform capabilities for new products, such as deep customization options for the DualSense Edge wireless controller and PlayStation VR2. We are excited to bring even more new features to players in the future!
Sid: What challenges do you face when developing a system update? I guess some of them are more complicated than they seem…
Hiromi: Definitely. Each system update is a very large development effort that includes many dozens of updates, from major features to smaller improvements. Even a small update can require a lot of engineering resources and development time, so keeping track of all the details and ensuring that we deliver a quality experience that meets our players’ expectations is always a dynamic and exciting challenge. That’s why we rely so heavily on players to help us test these features in our betas and help us make sure they’re a great experience when we roll them out globally.
Fortunately, I work with a great team here in Tokyo and around the world. A successful system upgrade requires active cooperation between different regions. I’d like to thank our international team for all their hard work and our fans for always giving us great feedback and ideas to keep raising the bar.
Sid: How do you use feedback from beta testers?
Hiromi: Beta testing is an important quality assurance step when we roll out new system software features. They give us the opportunity to test new features at scale and identify any important changes we need to make before the official global release. But the process doesn’t end there: we’re constantly listening to player feedback after each system software release and collecting data on how players interact with new features so we can continue to improve the experience for everyone. This is our focus and passion.
Syd: With the latest PS5 system update available, what is your team currently working on?
Hiromi: We are working on new features for players that we hope to share more details on soon. I’m happy to see so many players enjoying the features of this latest update, but our mission to make the PS5 game the best it can be continues.
It’s an honor to bring these updates to our fans, and I really feel like it’s a collaborative effort. Thank you to everyone in our community for your continued support. There’s more to come, so stay tuned!