It is not discussed very often, but a good UI can really help or hinder a product. Windows 8 lived and died by its tiled Start Menu, and the PlayStation 3’s Cross Media Bar (XMB) never really had the same impact or love that the Xbox 360 garnered with its Blades interface or its subsequent updates. The PlayStation 4 UI was a nice step up, and now Sony has released a first look at the upcoming PlayStation 5 User Experience.
First teased at Sony’s PS5 Reveal Event a few months back, the new dashboard is not a massive departure from what came before, but the 11-minute video, revealed during one of Sony’s State of Plays, shows off some of the new features and UI elements making its way to the PlayStation 5. A companion post on the PlayStation Blog by Hideaki Nishino, Senior Vice President, Platform Planning & Management at PlayStation, details some of these features, including the main highlight of the video, the PS5’s Control Center.
The Control Center, accessed by a press of the PlayStation button on the new PS5 DualSense controllers, does what the name suggests – give you access to almost everything you could need, all without actually leaving the game. As the video shows, Sackboy: A Big Adventure stays active in the background while the Control Center is up.
Inside the PS5’s Control Center are Activities, cards that can help the player “discover new gameplay opportunities, go back to things you missed, [and] jump directly into levels or challenges you want to play,” according to the blog post. Activity Cards and more besides, can be snapped and used in Picture-In-Picture Mode while the game is played. One example is a broadcast of a friend’s screen playing in the background, pinned to the corner of the screen.
Many of the new features are built into the system itself, including the PlayStation Store itself (it was previously just an app the PS4 booted into) so performance will be influenced by the speeds of the PS5 SSD. All in all, the dashboard looks very clean and slick, just what you need when building a new 7-ish-year-long machine. A good UI either doesn’t get in the way or, in the case of games like Persona 5 (here and here), present things in an ultra-stylish way. And until Atlus makes a Persona Machine (which I would absolutely buy), this approach is looking to be a good one.
Microsoft recently updated the Xbox Store’s design, and now is rolling out the latest dashboard update to players. Will that be similar to what we see on Series X? How will the Series X interface compare to the PS5 interface? I will be back when we know more.