After months of secrecy, Sony has finally unveiled the PlayStation 5’s user interface (UI).
A full look at the UI can be found in a new, 11-minute episode of Sony’s State of Play video presentation series.
The Control Center and Activities
Overall, the UI features a tile-based home page that includes games and apps similar to the PS4, although there are now two sections to divide games and media.
Additionally, the PS5 sports a new ‘Control Center’ that can be accessed by simply pressing the PS button on the DualSense controller. In the Control Center, you can perform many system tasks without even leaving the game, including seeing which friends are online, viewing download status, managing your controller, and more.
Most notably, though, visiting the Control Center lets you access PS5’s long-awaited ‘Activities’ feature. As previously reported, Activities are designed to let users jump into specific parts of a game near-instantly, using the power of the console’s speedy SSD. That said, the video offers the first-ever look at this feature in action — in this case, while playing Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
With Activities, the PS5 Control Center will lay out a series of ‘cards’ that break down Sackboy‘s campaign by specific levels. You can use any of these cards to have the console automatically bring you to that particular section of the game with near-instant load times. Further, you can view a card to receive additional information on your status in that level, such as your progress so far and even an estimated time to complete the level accordingly.
Each game will have its own hub integrated into the PS5 dashboard, all of which feature unique Activities, stories about the game in question, video clips, downloadable content and more.
Concerning PS5 exclusive vehicular combat game Destruction AllStars, you can find Activities that include specific multiplayer game modes, like 8v8 and Solos. In practice, you could boot up your PS5 and immediately hop into Solos matches right from the Destruction AllStars hub using the Activities feature, removing the need to start the game and navigate menus to select the mode the traditional way. Sony says select backwards compatible PS4 titles will benefit from “some” of these features as well, although specific details weren’t provided.
As a PlayStation Plus-exclusive feature, individual Activities cards can also include official developer support for specific in-game objectives in supported titles, with Sackboy confirmed to be one of them. This means that you can get tips on how to complete the objective in question right from the Control Center as your game remains active in the background — no need to find a wiki or go onto YouTube. In the video, support for the specific Sackboy objective being shown off even includes a video to show you exactly what to do. Some of these support cards can even be put in picture-in-picture mode or side-by-side view so they can be referred to live as you play the game.
The video also shows off how social features work. If a friend invites you to a party while you’re in a game, you’ll get a notification in the top-right corner that you can interact with — all without leaving the game. At any time, a friend can use the ‘Share Screen’ feature to invite those in the party to watch their gameplay live. You can actually join the broadcast and have it display in picture-in-picture mode in a part of the screen of your choice while continuing to play your own game. Meanwhile, you can even use the DualSense’s built-in microphone for voice dictation send text messages instead of using the virtual keyboard.
In terms of game captures, you’ll be able to save screenshots or video clips as you would on PS4, although the PS5 will support editing options right when you open the media in question. Additionally, media can be captured at up to 4K resolution on PS5. These can then be sent to friends or shared on supported external platforms like Twitter. If the developer thinks the footage you’re sending contains spoilers, the recipient will be given a warning accordingly.
Finally, the video shows off other aspects of the dashboard. Notably, the PlayStation Store is no longer a standalone app. Instead, it’s been integrated directly into the PS5’s dashboard for seamless browsing. Elsewhere, the dashboard features an ‘Explore’ tab, which includes a social media-esque news feed that includes updates from publishers on games that you’re following. However, Sony says this feature is only being tested in the U.S. at launch.
Overall, the PS5 UI features many improvements over its predecessor’s. As mentioned, there is still more to learn about it, like how PS4 backwards compatible games benefit from the new features. In the video, Sony also noted that the dashboard’s aforementioned media section will have its own hubs for specifics apps, but that wasn’t shown during this game-centric presentation.
The PlayStation 5 will launch in Canada on November 12th.