PlayStation’s Party System is Broken – Why Fix What Was Working?

In the weeks leading up to the release of the PlayStation 5, Sony made some updates to their PlayStation 4 and PlayStation mobile apps. The highlight was that players would be able to create persistent Party Chat groups. On paper, these changes sounded great. Some of us here at We Got Comms prefer to spam invites until that person joins the group (*cough* Carlos *cough*) and the new system makes that impossible; for Party Chats at least.

It didn’t take long for my group of friends and I to quickly realize that, in practice, these changes were making things unnecessarily complicated for us to get a group going. But I was holding out hope thinking: “Maybe this will make more sense on the PS5.” A few weeks with the PS5 have gone by and sadly things have only gotten worse. The cumbersome party system has become a recurring topic among our game chats. A quick search on Twitter revealed that we weren’t the only ones thinking this.

Rubbing Salt in the Wound

So what exactly is the root of the problem? Unfortunately, pretty much the way the entire system works. For one, there doesn’t seem to be any “admin” rights in any of these groups. So anybody can invite anyone at will. Which, in theory, should be fine if we’re looking to fill a squad for Warzone or get an extra player for some 3’s on Rocket League – that works great.

But now, because there’s no admin, that “one time” player invite actually means that they’re a persistent part of the group until they decide to leave. So in order to return to the “original” group you’re forced to create an entirely new one. A quick look at my Parties screen, and you’ll see that it’s complete madness. New groups are being made constantly, and the notifications regularly get spammed with someone leaving multiple parties. (See the featured image up top for reference).

Every single one of those parties were all essentially the same group with, give or take, one or two other players. A constant theme has manifested among the group names for us like “Generic ‘Something’ Chat.”

What Could Be Better

For starters, allowing players to create temporary parties again would be a welcome addition (er, return?). In fact, it would solve most of my gripes with the new system as it exists. There was also no denying the wackiness that could ensue when someone unexpected, and in some cases unknown, would drop into your party. It was a nice “cameo appearance” sort of effect, akin to a sitcom, that you don’t quite get with the new party system. 

The return of temporary parties would be a great starting point, but what about making improvements on top of what is currently there? How about allowing administrative rights to be granted to one, or a select few people. This would give players more control over who enters the group and who leaves. Or temporary party invites for one person that expires after that person powers down their console, or a certain amount of time has elapsed. This way users wouldn’t have to leave an active group when inviting someone new for only a handful of games.

Would making any of these changes be too much to ask? Or should we get used to this being the way things are now? Regardless, at the very least, I wish Sony would just go back to what was working before.

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