Get a first look at the PlayStation 5 user experience – Activities, Trophy tracking, Parties, Create & more revealed

Sony have finally taken the wraps off the PlayStation UI and user experience, presenting an 11 minute video that dives into the various new features, the new visual design and other facets of the next-gen console’s system software.

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An overhauled Control Center is designed so that you can access pretty much every single function of the console by simply pressing the PlayStation button on the DualSense controller, overlaying the menu on top of whatever game you’re currently playing.

This seems to be where you’ll actually start your gaming experience when turning on the PlayStation 5, with the game you were previously playing resuming in the background and with the control centre  at the bottom of the screen.

This will also present to you the new feature called Activities. These are part of the on-screen cards in the Control Centre that present you new stories related to your games, let you get at a recent screenshot and so on. The Activities cards will tap into the game your playing to highlight things that you might have missed, trophy progression, and let you instantly jump into levels or challenges. Some of these Activity cards can be put into a picture-in-picture mode or side-by-side view, so you can keep tabs on how you’re getting on, or provide hints and tips on how to find a particular secret without having to search yourself on YouTube.

The video also confirms the changed model for parties on PlayStation, as persistent spaces where users can connect. This was implemented on PlayStation 4 in system software update 8.00 yesterday, which also gives new user reporting functionality. This seems to be a shift in philosophy closer to the persistence of Discord.

Parties can be used similar to other cards, so if one person decides to share their screen, their gameplay can be overlaid or snapped to the side of your game.

The new Create button pops up a new capture overlay when trying to snap a screenshot, letting you see the game run in the background as you take multiple snaps that you can review later. Screenshots and video can now be captured at up to 4K.

All games have their own hubs on the main menu, presenting Activities to you that could be a challenge, multiplayer playlist, trophy to hunt, and more, as outlined above. Some of these features will also apply to PS4 games played on PS5.

An Explore tab is the equivalent of What’s New on PS4, and will only be in testing at the launch of the PS5, while Media apps will have their own section, that will be revealed at another time. The PlayStation Store is integrated into the system’s main menu.

Other things confirmed are that the PS5 supports voice dictation through the DualSense controller’s built in microphone, there will be automated spoiler warnings for users who don’t own a game that view user content shared to them, external sharing will be possible, but so will sharing to Parties which (again) are no longer just about voice chats.

Source: PS Blog

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11 Comments

  1. Well, that’s… different?

    Not sure what to make of it all. Probably something you need to get your hands on to see if it’s a good thing or if it’s just a load of nonsense getting in the way of actually just playing the games.

    And why would you ever want to watch someone playing a completely different game to the one you’re playing in a tiny window?

    I think it’s aimed at young people who are easily distracted and don’t actually play games anyway.

    I’m also looking forward to lots of messages that say something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike what they were supposed to say with voice dictation.

    Not sure how great it’s going to work on a non-4K screen. Might be too cluttered there.

    On the plus side, it’s bloody fast. Looks significantly faster than the Series X at suspending and switching games. The XSX seems to take about 15 seconds, which is still fast, but the PS5 looks even faster.

    So not entirely convinced by that UI, but I suspect most of it can be safely ignored, and it looks like the potential for lots of annoying things popping up from your friends every 30 seconds.

    • I know a lot of people used the app snapping feature in the Xbox One’s early days to watch TV while grinding in Destiny or similar. I’m not sold on the particular use case they demoed, but it could have other inventive uses.

      I timed loading Destruction All Stars at 10 seconds, but that’s to the main menu as opposed to quick resume, I think. We don’t see them return to Sackboy, and the initial resume at the start of the video seems equivalent to resuming on PS4 launch.

      • Yeah, they suspended Sackboy and loaded that other game from the start. Would loading a suspended game take less time? At start up, the game is going to be doing all sorts of things. Switching to a suspended game just needs to load the saved memory image.

        If the PS5 SSD can read at 5.5GB/s (without the compression), that’s about 3 seconds to load the suspended game (if it’s using all 16GB of memory). Writing the game that’s being suspended might take a bit longer.

        In theory, it shouldn’t take much more than 7 or 8 seconds to suspend one game and unsuspend another. And if the SSD is about twice as fast as the one in the XSX, that fits with the videos showing it takes about 15 seconds on the XSX.

        What are we all going to do with those extra 7 seconds?? ;)

      • It’s all an unknown. It’s quite variable on XSX, and a freshly loaded game with splash screens is not comparable.

  2. It’s new, and I like that. I’m sure I’ll get used to it when I get hands-on. Being able to share your screen like a Zoom call is pretty slick.

  3. Probably just caught on the hype train but I like it. Interesting to see various patents from the last year or two come to life. I seem to remember it was going to have a voice assistant too to help you through games at one point. I hope this is a well adopted feature from the devs side rather than just on launch games sony has forced to include it. Imagine the new Horizon zero dawn with the ability to jump straight into a quest or a Gran Turismo race without the faff of the menus. fingers crossed.
    I’m still wondering if we’ll be able to cross play with ps4? The updates to party chat etc. on ps4 this last week makes me think they are prepping for it. Has anyone seen anything official.

    • Cross play between PS4 and PS5 games is probably down to the developer. It’s certainly not something Sony are preventing. I guess there could be cases where it’s not possible, but I can’t see that happening for cross-gen games for a while.

      Bungie just said Destiny 2 supports cross-play. But that’s a game that’s going on for years. Could the PS5 version eventually move so far ahead they turn off the PS4 servers? But for now, it’s happening.

  4. Looks fairly minimal – at least once he finally showed the home screen. Game-switching seemed pretty fast too but i would expect different games to have different load times.

    • just to add, a video doesn’t really give us a proper ‘feel’ for the UI.

  5. This is the only thing I’ve seen so far to get me even a little excited for the new console and it’s now a bit late to think about pre ordering. Perhaps a blessing in disguise?

    Initially I was thinking of waiting a year to get it, to try to ensure some significant price drops in games and in hope that most early teething problems are sorted. Now I think I’ll pick it up within the first 3 months, stock permitting.

  6. Just finally seen this now, and I’m more confused than anything else. But I’m an older gen myself, so I’m very unlikely to ever watch a movie and play a game at the same time.
    I’ll probably waste more time searching for features than I save by faster loading times. But I hope that’s only the case at the beginning, and I’ll adapt and learn to ignore the clutter. Let’s see at November 19th, today one month to go…

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