User interface may not be the first thing that players consider when it comes to a new next-gen console, with performance and available titles take precedence, especially at launch, but when we’re talking about quality of life for the hardware, UI plays an integral role.
As such we’re taking a closer look at the new UI that Sony has developed for the PlayStation 5, seeing how it compares to the predecessor, what the focus has been on, and whether there are any elements which have missed the mark.
Let’s start with the overall aesthetic. As it has for the PS4 and PS3 before it, Sony has opted for a UI that has an almost etherial quality to it.
The theme of light also appears to play a major role, and sparks of light in particular, with a relatively darker background contrasting gold glimmers of light when you first set up and log into the console.
This changes slightly when you get to the Home page, however, with a big emphasis on ensuring that each game, platform, app or setting you go to in the UI almost taking over the look and feel.
This is evident when switching between the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales for example, as the colour scheme for each takes over the screen, as does the music tied to it in the case of games.
There has also been a big push to make sure the UI looks as uncluttered as possible. On the PS4 version, things could start to look a tad overwhelming, but on the PS5 one, it’s like all the apps, modes and platforms have room to breath, which we definitely are fans of.
Artwork from games are a major aspect to the new UI too, which again is a big tick in our opinion.
One of the ways that PlayStation has been able to keep this system so clutter free is to place a lot of navigation tools in a task bar at the bottom of the UI. This is pulled up by pressing the black PS button on the DualSense controller.
From there you can head back Home if you’re in another game or app, as well as quickly switch between apps when needed, such as Spotify or Netflix.
Speaking of the latter, there are mini controls to play/pause music or skips tracks, without needing to head into the app, which is a handy feature that was unavailable previously.
The UI has segmented Games and Media too, with the former naturally pertaining to your library of titles, as well as anything else to do with games. The Media section, which can be toggled between by pressing the R1 or L1 triggers on the Controller, is very app-specific.
Back to the task bar and you can also customise what options and different modes are available on it, with the ability to access your downloads to see what the progress is of a game or view what is queued. Added to this is a broadcast option, which is a more encompassing version of the Create button on the DualSense controller.
Settings for the DualSense controller itself is also available to be added and accessed via this task bar.
All in all it is a pleasing UI that draws plenty of inspiration from previous versions, especially when it comes to layout to ensure a sense of familiarity, but thankfully ensures that the look and feel is both premium and clutter-free.
As more content for the PlayStation 5 arrives in the coming months, hopefully it can stay that way.