Sony took its sweet time, but here it is: the PlayStation 5's user interface. In an 11-minute video, Sony finally shows off the dashboard that gamers will be navigating when the next-gen console launches on November 12. The interface is very well thought out and combines aspects from the PS3's Cross Media Bar (XMB) with the PS4's interface for a UI that's more functional.
Sony says the UI was built from the ground up for a 4K experience. (Hint: get a 4K TV or text may potentially be tough to see on anything less.) Starting from what Sony calls "rest mode," users log into their account and PlayStation Network and immediately see the "control center."
At a glance — Control center is accessed with a press of the PlayStation button on the new DualSense controller and displays your content and a menu of icons on the bottom for accessing your trophies, friends list, notifications, system settings, etc.
Front and center is a row Sony's calling "cards" that display different things. For example, a news card shows information like new trailers on games you're following. There's also a card for recently captured media content for screenshots and videos. Then, there are "activities" cards, which show you the games you've suspended (thanks to the PS5's super-fast flash storage and RAM) and let you resume playing immediately with a button press. Activity cards also show your progress in a game with percentages so you know exactly how far along you are. (I know mine is going to be a constant reminder of all the games I start and never finish.)
Control center is not to be confused with the PS5's home screen, which Sony doesn't get to until about 8:32 in its lengthy UI tour. Here you'll find an interface not too dissimilar to the PS4's. There's a games tab for games and a media tab for media stuff like DVDs and Blu-ray playback, (obviously not available on the PS5 Digital Edition which doesn't have an optical drive) and access to streaming music and video services.
The rival team — Sony wasn't the only one sharing its next-gen console interface. Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series S / X's dashboard as well.
Unlike Sony, Microsoft's strategy with Xbox is different. Instead of pushing gamers to buy its new consoles, Microsoft is promoting the Xbox as more of a platform that you can play games on any device of your choosing rather than only a new box.
This is why current Xbox One users can try out the Xbox Series S / X's user interface after a software update right now. Whether you're playing on an Xbox One, Xbox One S / X, Android via xCloud, or PC, Microsoft wants the Xbox platform to be the same across all devices.
War is coming — The next-gen console war starts when the Xbox Series S / X launch on November 10 and the PlayStation 5 is released on November 12. Both consoles have been sold out since they went up for pre-order last month. Expect the consoles to be in short supply at any physical retailers on launch days.