We now know what the PlayStation 5 will look like, and have seen plenty of games that will be running on next-gen consoles, but what about the stuff that lives between the games and the hardware? Sony’s Matt Maclaurin, VP of UX Design at PlayStation, has revealed this to be a “100% overhaul of the PS4 UI”, which will contrast with Microsoft’s decision to keep the Xbox Series X system UI the same as the Xbox One.
MacLaurin has been responding to questions via LinkedIn – an unusual avenue to talk to console gamers, to be sure – digging into some of the philosophies of the next-gen system software, but without really going into too much detail ahead of its reveal.
He describes it as “A little more pragmatice, but a 100% overhaul of PS4 UI and some very different new concepts.” This includes “Largely cleaning up core functionality, but some key new bets that you’ll see soon,” though that still means there’s “a whole new visual language and a complete rearchitecting of the user interface.”
Most important for a lot of PS4 fans (and fans hoping that the PS5 doesn’t just sound of fans) is that the “experience goals measured in milliseconds across the entire UI.”
The PlayStation 4’s interface has stuck with the system throughout its lifetime, picking up additional functionality, but remaining fundamentally the same throughout. That, however, has gone hand in hand with the hardware to sometimes be quite burdensome to the console experience. In particular when a game is active in the background, simply returning to the home screen will spin up the PS4’s cooling fans a significant amount, while core functions like diving down into a game’s details will take several moments to load.
The PlayStation 5’s excess of new power and SSD would speed this up dramatically all on its own, but that also gives room for new concepts to be explored.
One of these could be a PlayStation Assist AI feature, which was revealed via a patent – then again, there was also a patent for a weird robot friend that we really hope doesn’t get turned into reality – but we can almost assuredly expect Sony to bring more interconnectivity and online features to the system software.