The launch of the Playstation 5 is a month away, and today Sony released an eleven-minute expose of the console’s new User Interface (UI). Playstation UIs have never been perfect and are often difficult to navigate, and also lack customization features that should be easy to add. We can’t say yet if the PS5 will repeat the same mistakes, but there will be some improvements.
First off, the UI will run in 4K HDR, but that’s not much of a shock. The scrolling menu icon bar will be smaller than it was on the PS4 while the splash images that appear when you highlight each game will be bigger. A new feature called the Control Center consolidates most of the essential features into one button press (the PS button), which can be summoned both in and out of running games.
Most intriguing is the new Activities feature. There are some folks who plop themselves on the couch and game until sundown, but there are plenty of others who have more time-crunched schedules and would appreciate knowing how long a video game mission is going to take them. Activities does just that, providing an estimate of how long the task you’re on will take. It also lists any incomplete objectives in the area. And if you need more than that (and you’re a PS Plus subscriber), you can even bring up screenshots and videos that document how to overcome challenges you’re stuck on.
You’ll no longer have to leave the game to use the console’s party features either. You’ll get notified that a friend is playing another game that supports multiplayer, and if you have that game installed, you can leap from the game you’re currently playing to that one, nearly instantaneously. Your other game will remain paused until you return.
There will be a couple of additions to the sharing feature…users will be able to dictate written captions for their screenshots with their own voices before they post them to social media. There will also be a built-in spoiler warning applied to areas from some games, depending on the publisher’s wishes (Square is really going to abuse that).
The Playstation 5 launches with its new UI November 12.