Sony, the PS5 better support Bluetooth audio devices

Holding the side of the WH-1000XM3 headphones
Holding the side of the WH-1000XM3 headphones (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Have you been met with that fun error screen on the PlayStation 4 that says it doesn't support Bluetooth audio devices? Well, you're not alone. Apparently, this is a feature and not a bug, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, the PS4 still doesn't support Bluetooth audio well. Weirdly, Sony's own DualShock 4 controller had Bluetooth support before Xbox's did, so this lack of support seems bizarre in every manner. I don't want this same issue to plague the PS5.

Sony is no stranger to the Bluetooth market, much like every other tech company out there. What makes this situation more absurd is that the PlayStation 4 supports other Bluetooth devices, but even Sony's own Bluetooth headsets aren't compatible with the console. That's just ridiculous. It's not something so simple that a patch or update could fix it — hardware would have needed to be built into the PS4 for it to work — but this should have been thought of in 2013, or at least have been rectified in later console revisions like the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro. Though in all fairness, Xbox One does not support Bluetooth audio without an adapter either.

Source: Android Central

For all that Sony and PlayStation do well, they also do other things really, really poorly. It only took them until 2019 to let users change their PSN names. You still can't gift digital games. PlayStation Now is an embarrassingly worse value than Xbox Game Pass. PS4 doesn't really have native backward compatibility. Etc, etc. You get the idea.

This situation isn't new by any means. It's been a problem since the PS4 launched, but I personally didn't realize how much of a joke it was until I was researching the topic last week. Though I could find reports of people being able to connect Bluetooth headsets wirelessly, I could never verify which brand or model worked. So apparently, from what I could gather, you need to perform a blood sacrifice and pray to the PlayStation gods, and just hope your headset connects. It probably won't. But it might. Who knows. Sony sure doesn't seem to.

For all that Sony does well, it also does other things really, really poorly.

We know that the PlayStation 5 will support 3D audio, which is a huge boon in and of itself. 3D audio is all about emulating real-life sound waves from all directions in a 3D environment. Even without Bluetooth, games will become more immersive than ever in terms of the audio used. But this doesn't mean that Bluetooth audio is a feature that should once again be left out.

As of right now, Sony hasn't confirmed whether the PS5 will support Bluetooth audio devices. You could argue it would seem absurd, even surprising, for it not to. You could have also said the same thing for the PS4, for that matter. I've stopped trying to understand Sony's mindset when it comes to decisions like these because they make no sense.

Given Sony's relative radio silence about the PS5, it could be some time before we hear what the final specs are. It was widely rumored that Sony would hold a February event, but that clearly hasn't happened. Sony has also since pulled out of PAX East and GDC due to coronavirus fears.

It could be some time before we hear what the final specs are.

I'm not silent about what I think Sony needs to do to stay ahead for this next generation. Games and power are important, but they're not the be-all-end-all of a console. It's the little features, like Bluetooth audio, in conjunction with services that add up to create a better product.

I'd imagine it's likely that the PlayStation 5 will support Bluetooth audio, but there's also a chance it won't. But I can't say that for sure, which is deeply disappointing.

So this is my formal plea: Sony, please include Bluetooth audio support on the PlayStation 5. Make our lives easier.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.