While June’s PlayStation 5 reveal event answered many of our biggest questions about Sony’s next-gen console, quite a few things remain a mystery. When will the console release? How much does it cost? Will it come in any other color scheme? No answers of yet.
Then there’s what the dashboard and UI of the PS5 is going to look like when players first power on the next-gen hardware. According to PlayStation VP of UX Design Matt MacLaurin, gamers should expect a redesign on that front. Fielding questions in a LinkedIn thread (via The Verge), MacLaurin said that the Sony team would talk more about the UI at a later date, but teased that “it’s a very interesting evolution of the OS; more subtle than flashy but no pixel is untouched.”
“As it’s UI it’s practical first, but it’s a whole new visual language and a complete rearchitecting of the user interface,” MacLaurin said of Sony’s work on the PS5 UI.
According to The Verge, Sony first teased the new PS5 UI during the reveal event in June. During the stream, the company showed a brief glimpse of how players will press the PS button on the controller to jump into the dashboard (similar to how the PS4 dashboard works):
The teaser doesn’t actually give us much of a look at the dashboard itself but does hint at the subtlety that MacLaurin mentions on LinkedIn. The UI will undoubtedly be just one of the ways the PS5 will try to differentiate itself from the Xbox Series X. The Verge reports that instead of launching a whole new UI, Microsoft will “optimize” the current Xbox One dashboard “but with some enhancements and updates made before the new console launch.”
Overall, Microsoft seems to be pushing familiarity and backward compatibility across its line of Xbox consoles over Sony’s more drastic approach to release a console that looks and feels different from its predecessors. We’ll have to wait and see which approach pays off in the end, although at least one analyst is already predicting that the PS5 will significantly outsell the Xbox Series X.
Whatever the case, players have certainly had strong opinions about the PS5’s design. Sony CEO Jim Ryan said that the goal was to design a console that looked at home in the modern living room.
“The PlayStation sits in the living area of most homes, and we kind of felt it would be nice to provide a design that would really grace most living areas,” Ryan said in an interview with the BBC. “That’s what we’ve tried to do. And, you know, we think we’ve been successful in that.”
He also told CNET that Sony tried to do “something that was bold and daring almost” that would be considered “forward-facing and future-facing, something for the 2020s.”