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PS4 update adds new voice commands, YouTube sharing

Sony delivers a major update to the PlayStation 4, with enhancements like new voice commands, sharing options, customized background and live-streaming settings.

Sony's new PS4 update adds new voice commands and much more. Sony/screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Sony PlayStation 4 owners should get set for a major update. Due out on Tuesday, version 2.0 of the game console's software carries with it a variety of new features, improvements and other surprises.

In a blog posted on Monday, Sony promoted the update as the biggest one yet for its popular console.

"This update adds unique, forward-looking features like Share Play, and addresses some of the most highly requested features from the community including YouTube integration, USB music player, ability to find players you may know, sorting options for PS4′s game library, and themes that change the look of your home screen," Sony said. "This is the biggest update we've delivered to date for PS4."

So just what will PS4 owners find in the new update?

You'll be able to access a series of new voice commands to talk to your PS4. Simply say "PlayStation" to activate voice commands and then "All Commands" to see a list of all the commands you can direct at the console. You can talk to the PS4 via the included wired headset, a different but compatible headset or a PS4 camera.

In the past, you could export and share video clips of your gameplay via Facebook. But with the latest update, you can also share them on YouTube. On the console's upload page, you'll see the new option for YouTube. Simply enter a title and description, trim the clip if you wish to shorten it, and then upload your video.

Sony has also beefed up live streaming, which lets you watch active games as they're being played. You can now tap into a new category called Featured, which displays streams from your friends. A Games list lets you sort and watch streams from specific game titles. You can add specific streams to a Favorites list and toggle between watching live and archived streams.

Want to broadcast your own gameplay via your own channel? Sony now lets you add a custom message for your viewers and tweak the appearance of your videos through the camera video settings.

Sony has tweaked the party and invitation screens to move the main menu and repaint the interface with a cleaner look. You can change the background color of your PS4 screen or even add custom themes available through the PlayStation Store. You can also play music through the PS4 via USB. Insert a USB stick with audio files into your console, and you'll be able to play the tunes through the Music Player app.

You can read about other features in the new update via the blog. In its blog, Sony also took the opportunity to tout sales of its PS4.

"This has been an amazing first year for PS4 so far, with more than 10 million units sold and a robust set of new features already added including SHAREfactory, automatic pre-download, and more," Sony said.

The PlayStation 4 has certainly been outshining Microsoft's Xbox One in sales since the two consoles hit the market almost a year ago. Analysis compiled and published last Friday by blog site Ars Technica showed that global PS4 sales have been at least 40 percent better than those of the Xbox One. In an attempt to lure in more buyers, Microsoft announced on Monday that it would lower the price of the Xbox One by $50 over the holidays.

Whether that strategy will work help remains to be seen. Microsoft has been offering free games and other incentives in order to pump up demand for its console. But in September, the PS4 again beat the Xbox One in sales, according to NPD figures cited by GameSpot.