One of the biggest remaining questions for Sony ahead of its next big console launch was “What does the PS5 UI look like?” Sony finally got around to answering it last night during the latest State of Play broadcast.
Respect the classics
Visually, the PS5 UI bears quite a few similarities to the PS4’s menu, itself based on the PS3 UI. The longstanding reliance on simple scroll bars has served Sony well — it’s easy to read and to find your way around. What sets the PS5 UI apart is how it integrates functionality.
Tapping the PlayStation button will bring up a dock menu called the Control Centre. Here you can access the most pertinent functions of the console without leaving your game. You can also see your friends list, who is online, and invite them to a party or voice chat. If you start streaming your current game, you can screen share it with a friend if you don’t want to broadcast it to the world. You can use it to pull up a friend’s screen-share-in-progress and pin it, via picture in picture, to any free space around the outside of your screen.
Cards and tabs
Above this dock menu are a series of cards that give at-a-glance access to certain game-specific information. The first is a Stories tab that provides updates from publishers and other players on the games you’ve been playing. There’s also a screenshot tab, and cards that relate to your current game. These are for a new feature Sony called Game Help. They provide useful stats on progression, your current objectives, and even tips on how to proceed if you get stuck. It can even provide an estimation for time-to-completion on your current level. Specific tips via Game Help are available as a perk for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Despite positioning the system as a home for games, the PS5 UI has separate menus for Games and Media apps. If you’re looking for the Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch apps, they’ll be collected under the Media tab. Further, the PlayStation Store app is no longer a stand-alone app. Being fully integrated into the system means you can access it instantly from the main menu.
So what’s the takeaway here? Sony has once again built a smooth, functional interface. It’s easy to like the PS5 UI right away because, without even having my hands on a controller, I can see where everything is and how to get there. A good console interface limits the amount of steps the user has to take to get into a game and, in this, the PS5 UI looks to be a roaring success.
We look forward to going hands on with it when the PlayStation 5 launches November 12.