I’ve had my PS5 for more than two weeks, and while I’m enjoying next-gen titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Mile Morales, the new interface, phenomenally fast load times and much more, nothing has changed the way I play games. Quite like the DualSense controller.
From its hefty feedback to the refined and chunky design, it feels like a genuine step up from the DualShock 4, and really helps to reinforce the PS5 as a next-gen console. However, one of the best features of the controller – the built-in microphone – has already started to annoy me.
A built-in microphone is a great idea – it allows communication on multiplayer games without a headset, and developers use this feature to create new game mechanics in Astro’s playroom, where you blow into the microphone to elevate platforms.
The problem is that I am constantly forgetting that it exists. This is my main issue here, and this has become increasingly clear in the last few weeks of playing online and subsequently realized midway through a match that I broadcast my entire life to strangers.
Just hit the mute button, dummy
You could say now that there’s a mute button right below the PlayStation logo, and you’re right. But when I was in the middle of an Apex Legends match, where I had the right of my squad dumped, I forgot that my microphone was on the first place.
It’s rare that the user interface of the PS5 tells me that I’m broadcasting – the microphone icon is only on the screen when you mute or mute myself – and that means I’m chatting away to people at home, while strangers on the internet unknowingly Listen in.
Luckily I have not read my bank details aloud or revealed to the world about this rash which still will not go away, but there is a, but there is a certain level of embarrassment when you realize that you have shared conversations that you thought were Just in your own home, to two other players in a battle royale scenario.
This is not just me. Senior staff writer for TechRadar, Adam Vjestica, told me that he once subjected the world to the horrible noise of him eating a whole bag of maums, which is not a pleasant sight, let alone sound. Cue shame and embarrassment, all thanks to the DualSense controller’s microphone.
The muscle memory is not there
Muscle memory of plugging a headset into my dualshock 4 tends to remind me that I would be broadcasting to a party of my friends or a lot of strangers on the internet. With the DualSense, I need to learn that I always broadcast by default, even when I do not have a plugged in headset, which is not ideal.
There is but one solution. It turns out that you can disable the microphone function in the settings of the PlayStation 5. If you want to do that, you can go to the settings> Sound> Microphone and change the status under Microphone status when logged in.
If you do not do this, even if you remember to turn off your microphone during a previous gaming session, it will turn back on when you boot it up again.
Since that change, I’ve also seen that the console will record your voice automatically when you popped a trophy. The PS5 will record a video segment before you have the trophy, and it will also record your audio to capture the moment when you screamed with joy when you finally defeated the Demon’s Souls boss.
In theory, it’s a nice idea – but again, without the microphone icon displayed on the screen as it happens, or a clear message to say that I’m being recorded, I feel Sony has overlooked a lot of privacy issues when developing this feature . It was not long ago that people were worried that Microsoft Kinect was always listening, and in the case of DualSense it really is.
Privacy may not be Sony’s main focus here, and although the core idea is sound, there needs to be more to make sure users are aware of what’s going on. If you do not want to broadcast your private life to the world, be sure to change your settings on the DualSense controller to ensure that it is not recording things that you do not want to. Otherwise, you may overdo something you regret.