For those of you who missed the press conference, Sony has released a video showcasing the PlayStation 4 user-interface, but stay with us to have a closer look.
Sony gave us a live demo of how the PS4 UI will work with Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida behind the controller. Though short, Yoshida’s demo gave us our first glimpse of how the system will work in our living rooms and revealed quite a fair amount. Let’s have a look at what we have here.
After booting up the console, you’ll be met with a screen asking you which user you wish to sign in to. It’s pretty standard but you’ll notice changes such as having your own personal profile picture like you would on Facebook or Twitter instead of a PSN avatar.
Much like the PlayStation Vita, when you select a games home page on the PlayStation 4 you’ll be met with everything related to that specific game. In this instance we first see categories for an Overview, Recent Activity and Related Items, the latter having developer diaries and trailers displayed for instance.
When on a games homepage, we see a new feature which allows us to look at our trophy count and progress as well as who’s playing the same game as us.
This UI bears resemblance to both the current XMB model with the PlayStation 3 with the compartmentalised one-by-one look (see above), but it’s also taking some influence from the current Xbox 360/Xbox One dashboard with multiple things on the screen in varying sizes.
You’ll also notice theme music returning for the game homepages like we already see on the PlayStation 3.
In addition to a varied games menu, PlayStation 4 will also have a toolbar which can be used to quickly access other features of the system such as the PlayStation Store, Trophies and Settings. It retains the quick and responsive nature of the PlayStation 3′s XMB UI which can allow users to access features within seconds.
It may be old, but it still works a treat.
One of the biggest features of the PS4 is the ability to stream your gameplay experiences and in turn view what others are playing at any given time. This feature’s called “Live from PlayStation” and the example given by Shuhei Yoshida was watching a friend play a multiplayer match from Killzone Shadow Fall but just before that we see a menu of games which are being played by our friends.
The games are displayed in a grid formation similar to that of the PlayStation Store setup with screenshots from the game with descriptions underneath them and statistics on who’s playing what and how many ratings or likes a game has.
Joining a game
After navigating the menu to see what his friends are playing and viewing a match, the Sony Worldwide Studios boss then decided to delve into a Killzone Shadow Fall multiplayer match. When viewing a game being played, you have an option to comment on the game or you can jump straight into that very game and play alongside or against your friends.
Joining a match looks to be quick and responsive with Yoshida being entered in after waiting for just a few seconds. When you join, it looks as if the game enters you based on what kind of match you’re in or as the last character class you played as.
Upload and share
After playing a match in Killzone Shadow Fall for a minute or so, Yoshida then demoed the process for uploading and sharing his gameplay experience. Players can use the “Share” button the DualShock 4.
When uploading, players have the option to share a video, upload a screenshot or start recording new gameplay.
Typing on the PlayStation 4
As his demo came to an end, Yoshida then demonstrated how you would enter text for a message on the PS4. What we have is very similar to the current PS3 method; you’re given a selection of letters, numbers and characters and you select what you want to type by moving the analog sticks to the letters or digits you want to use or as in Yoshida’s case, you can use pre-selected words.
Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 use this method of text entry and it can be very cumbersome as we all know but you’ll notice how PlayStation Move functionality was used to select words quicker by point the cursor to what you want to type. However, it wasn’t clear whether you need the PlayStation Eye for this (which doesn’t come with the system) or if this will be available to the DualShock’s Lightbar which sits at the front of the controller.
So there’s our analysis of the PlayStation 4′s interface. Rather than an overhaul from the current XMB, this is more of an upgrade which makes sense considering the well aged consistency of the XMB which actually first came into use on the PlayStation Portable in 2005. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just upgrade it.
So what do you guys think of the PS4 interface? Is it set to fix some of the problems of the XMB? More importantly, do you like how it looks? Let us know and join the discussion.
George Sinclair is the Chief News Editor for Analog Addiction, the home of the latest news, reviews and previews. You can find George on Twitter but you should be sure to follow the OFFICIAL Analog Addiction Twitter as well!