The PS5’s UI shows a redesign that goes beyond looks.
Sony wants to enhance the PS5 experience beyond just games…
Sony has infamously been taking a very secretive approach to launching the ps5, dripping out tidbits of information while Microsoft has the Xbox Series X already in reviewers’ homes and showing off it’s next gen capabilities. It’s an approach that’s puzzled many, but it seems to be giving Sony the mystique it wants about its console. And now after revealing the PS5’s internals 3 weeks ago, Sony’s letting users know a bit more about how it’s software works with a showcase of the PS5’s operating system and user interface (UI) shown above.
Now the PS5 was already hinting at a very different UI compared to the familiar one shared by the PS4, PS3 and even the PS Vita. However fans likely didn’t expect a complete overhaul as the one seen in the video. While fans are used to the PS4’s XMB interface being somewhere closer to a smart TV or media centre’s interface, the PS5’s software seems to take a lot of inspiration from smartphones and even social networks, with social features, information feeds and glancing at information then getting back into the game all being key drivers of the new design. The first and most obvious showcase of this is the Control Centre, which will actually be where you first land if you turn on the console from standby. Here an interface based on activity cards will greet you, with activities based on both your own activities (such as unfinished levels in a game or screenshots and videos you may want to share) to the activities of your friends as well. This is reminiscent of smartphone social feeds, or notification/information areas such as the one on iOS or the Android Google Now or Bixby feeds. Seeing games your friends are playing at the moment is a pretty large focus too, with the ability to even jump into multiplayer games that they might be playing. In fact jumping in and out of games is a big focus here just like it is on the Xbox Series X, with paused games on the activity cards even allowing you to go right back into a game seconds from the moment you turned on your console, proving that an SSD was by far something console games needed years ago and couldn’t get here sooner. The playtime indicators on game levels are also a nice touch, being able to tell you a rough estimate on how long a game chapter or mission will take,making people like me who don’t mind gaming in small intervals pick just the right games to play when on a short break from work or studying.
Multitasking on the PS5 goes beyond games however, with players even able to view gameplay of what their friends are playing while playing their own game (I’m not convinced this is quite useful yet to be honest) along with also gaining what’s called game help from a developer backed PS5 assistant through videos or written tutorials. This feature is however reserved for PlayStation Plus subscribers, something I’m personally not too happy about, but I won’t mind too much considering these kinds of tips can still be found online on platforms like YouTube. Then there’s the improved content creation and sharing features, which of course are a natural evolution of the PS4’s own similar functions, but again are ingrained in seemingly every game and throughout the PS5’s UI as it’s easier and faster to share almost any bits of your gameplay to friends or social media. A lot of people have been speculating that with the new “Create” button on the DualSense controllers the PS5 could be aimed as the go-to console for Twitch streamers and gaming content creators, though that’s yet to be seen, but it can definitely be seen that Sony is making moves in that direction. There’s also a redesigned PS Store, now integrated into the system rather than being a separate app, which is great honestly because even as far back as the PS3 I knew that was a bad idea, but this does mean every store update likely becomes a system update, so be ready for that.
And thus the PS5 does seem to be aiming to be everything Sony would like to be embodied in the term “next-gen”, as not only is it obviously going to perform and run better for games, seamlessly switching in and out of them, but Sony themselves have built a whole new experience around that aimed at making players feel immersed, updated and connected to their friends or info about their games all the time. I’m not sure all of it will work(especially all those subscription based features) but it’s definitely an admirable move, and we can’t wait to see how it continues in with the PS5’s release coming up soon.