Here's your first look at PlayStation 5's new user interface rebuilt from the ground up

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,031   +811
Staff member
In context: As we have seen with the quickly sold out pre-orders, PlayStation fans are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the next-gen console. With the PlayStation5's launch precisely four weeks away, they don't have much longer to wait. So Sony is drip feeding fans a bit more info on the new system.

On Thursday, Sony's State of Play gave users a glimpse of the new user interface and experience on the PlayStation 5 (above). As a brief first look at the new UX, Sony avoided the deep dive. Instead, it provided a quick overview of some of the interface highlights, including a remodeled XrossMediaBar (pronounced: cross media bar), parties, and the new navigation feature it calls "Cards."

Right off the bat, you can tell the UI is entirely different from any previous PlayStation model. Instead of a XrossMediaBar (XMB) that takes up the entire screen as it does on the PS4 and PS3, the PlayStation 5's XMB is smaller and is oriented more to the upper left of the home screen (above). Other than its size and location, it still looks like Sony's traditional XMB with icons for games, library, capture gallery, the PlayStation Store, and the rest of what users have come to expect.

However, Sony's Sid Shuman noted that users would spend much less time on the XMB, thanks to "Cards." Cards are boxes that you can pull up at any time, even right in the middle of your game, to perform various functions. You can think of Cards as the PS5's alternative to the quick menu that you can access on the PlayStation 4 by holding in the PS button for a couple of seconds. From the Cards, users can jump to activities, check the latest news from games and publishers they follow, edit and share screenshots, and more.

One of the coolest features of Cards is a help option that is available in some games. The help card is a PlayStation Plus member-only benefit that allows users to get hints and even video walkthroughs for the particular part of the game they are on without having to exit the game and fire up the web browser. The help cards will also notify users if the hint they are about to view contains spoilers. Tips and videos will appear right on the card, which users can place in various ways on the screen, so it does not obstruct their view while playing (above).

Similarly, players can display video picture-in-picture in one of six out-of-the-way zones. For example, this feature allows players to run a video walkthrough in the corner of the screen they can follow while playing along. Shuman emphasized that not all games will support this feature, likely because it is something developers have to code in themselves. Still, you can expect that many studios will take advantage of Cards, especially as they grow accustomed to the new programming environment. Picture-in-picture does work for screen sharing in any game as you can seeing the screenshot above because it is part of the PS5 OS.

Users can also easily access parties and chat through the cards. While in chat, players can share their screen with party members, and this can be displayed in PIP mode, even if you are playing a different game. Voice chat is, of course, available, but for those that would rather text, there is a voice-to-text option using the DualSense controller's integrated microphone. Time will tell how well this works. Experience has shown that even some of the best dictation software is less than ideal for chatting in real-time.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the PlayStation Store is no longer a stand-alone app. Sony's digital marketplace has been integrated into the PlayStation 5's operating system to make the experience of browsing and buying games more seamless and fast. This quicker experience is a pretty big deal. Previous versions of the PlayStation Store on the PS3 and PS4 were clunky and slow.

Shuman said there was a lot more to show and that Sony would reveal more in the next few weeks leading up to launch.

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Posts: 345   +169
Sony hoping for wireless vr headsets to make HomeVR.
A 3d world where you can build an avatar, with your face on.
Walk around, buy lots of digital items for your trendy little self.
Play games like bowling. Get an apartment. Kidnap other avatars, and stow them away in said apartment. Invite other avatars to your apartment for some emoji based parties, but keep the music up, so they don't hear the noises coming from the closet.
Buy your avatar a car to travel to Home2VR for the weekend.
Return home having not fed said kidnapped avatar who had no luck with Sony support releasing him due to terms and conditions not in said favor.
Buy a few dogs or pigs even as pets for your avatar, and feed the mistake to them.
Buy a new rug and matching furniture in the summer sale.
All for only £78.50 and a £10 monthly sub.

Well if we aren't really building something from the ground up... just tweakin and addin a feature to and old XMB.


Posts: 281   +406
I really like some parts of this design, epically the in game stuff. But the main dashboard IMO is rather disappointing. Not too far from what the PS4 has, and lets be honest. It was never a great UI.

Really wish we got to see more. Back on the xbox 360 you were able to click on a friend and join their game from the dashboard. This is over a decade ago, how is a notable feature.

It does look good, a bit busy in some places. Too much Social Media crap IMO, but some seem to like that. I've been a huge fan of the recent dashboard on the xbox consoles, after years of using that crappy windows 8 tile based UI. IMO the 360's NGE dashboard was the best console UI ever, even if the Blades was super quick. I was a big XMB fan on the PS3 as well, but it really felt dated later in life. And as one with a modded PS3, the XMB sucks with a lot of installed content.

I just hope Sony refines this over time. As someone that has had a PS4 since launch, I feel not much has changed to the UI. Even the PS3 had major changes over time, at least feature wise.


Posts: 242   +302
I really like this ui mostly because it is very simple and very similar to ps4 one, which is perfect for games. Simple, quick, no nonsense. It really does make a good impression.


Posts: 2,502   +3,739
Looks too busy and inefficient. PS2 took a wuarter second to select what you wanted and load it. PS4 has too much noise, too much wasted space, too many slow flowery animations for every action, and the PS5 doubles down on this design.

This type of interface was loathed on windows 8 and 8.1.


Posts: 241   +202
Looks too busy and inefficient. PS2 took a wuarter second to select what you wanted and load it. PS4 has too much noise, too much wasted space, too many slow flowery animations for every action, and the PS5 doubles down on this design.

This type of interface was loathed on windows 8 and 8.1.

Nice of you to share your opinion.

Fortunately a lot of people happen to like the new UI.