Throughout the entire Xbox Series X and PS5 console reveal, Sony has been slower to debut the details of its next-gen console, so it's unsurprising that this held true for the user interface (UI) as well.
Back at the PS5 showcase in June, Sony executives said there would be "no pixel untouched" in the UI move from PS4 to PS5. Now the company has posted a lengthy 11-minute walkthrough of the PS5 UI on YouTube and proven that it wasn't kidding.
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At a glimpse, you could argue that the new cards interface bears some similarity to the previous UI, but seeing it in action will pretty quickly dismiss that notion.
Here's the video walkthrough lead by Sid Shuman, Senior Director of Sony Interactive Entertainment Content Communications.
Immediately after signing into your account, if you are resuming from sleep, whatever game you last played is available in the background and just a button-press away if you want to jump right back into it.
This primary view is the control center and it gives you one-step access to virtually anything in the system either through the cards interface or the system icons at the bottom of the screen.
"Activities" is another prominent new feature of the UI; it is something we had heard about previously and is essentially a guide for your PS5 gameplay. It will show you things that you can do in-game and offer you a personalized estimate of how long it should take you to complete that task.
Depending on the game, the activity may allow you to jump right to that point in the game to save time. Drilling down into the activity, PlayStation Plus members will even get "game help" in supported games, or tips to help you complete a given task without offering any major spoilers. You can even view these game help cards on the screen while you play in a picture-in-picture or side-by-side view.
The ability to easily connect with friends who are playing was another major focus with the option to join a voice chat easily, even if you don't have a headset because you can use the built-in mic in the DualSense controller. If a friend wants to let you watch along while they play, you can do so without giving up your own game by just pinning their video card in picture-in-picture.
Online multiplayer is as easy as scrolling through the cards, finding what games your friends are playing, and just selecting the one you want to jump into.
Sony also touched on that Create button on DualSense. The PS5 is always capturing recent gameplay in case you want to share something amazing that happened spontaneously, but deliberately taking a screenshot gives you more options for framing and capturing the moment. This will be available later in a recently captured media card that also allows for easy sharing to a party or outside of the PS5.
The initial walkthrough was based on a resume, but if you are booting up from a complete shutdown, you will instead go to the home screen. This gives you a look at all of your games; scrolling through each game will show you all of the relevant information, including activities available, DLC and more.
The next feature shown was Explore, which will present recent news from PlayStation along with recent content from the community. This one is particularly interesting as, according to Shuman, not everyone will have it at launch and it sounds like it could go through some changes before it gets wide rollout, so don't worry if you don't see it when you fire up your PS5 for the first time.
The PlayStation Store got a full revamp as well and will display games and deals for PS5 as well as backwards compatible PS4 titles.
That was all for today. It was a great first look at the PS5 UI and gave you some impression of the speed of the console as jumping in and out of each menu seemed instantaneous as well as the card overlays running on top of your game. Sony definitely still have more to reveal though, so we'll be looking for another walkthrough before the November 12 launch.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.