Let's talk Playstation 5! (Play5tation?)

In my opinion, never buy at launch. Wait at least six months to a year for any hardware issues to surface, or even better, wait for the inevitable console revision. You’ll dodge a couple bullets and you’ll save cash. It’s a win no matter what.

First look at the PS5’s UI!

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Being able to load straight into levels/areas via the Cards interface seems like a potentially big deal feature.

That does look cool, although I’m worried it ends up being a feature like “Ready to Start” was this gen. Cool on paper, but devs half-assedly supporting it such that it’s effectively useless.

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UI looking pretty slick ngl…

I do hope devs make use of those activities cards, they seem like they could be hella convenient.

Small touches I really like:

  • Being able to dictate a message with your voice
  • The picture-in-picture stuff
  • Jumping from one game to another (without fully exiting out of the first game??)

So in the UI video when the party chat notification pop-up appears, they say “My friend could have done this from the Playstation App for mobile devices, from a PS4, or in this case, from a PS5”, so I’m taking that to be a soft ‘yes’?

I am also skeptical. It seems like a potentially really cool feature, but also one that will take some work and intentionality on the developer end to actually implement well, and I’m skeptical of that happening outside of first-party games long term.

The picture-in-picture stuff does seem pretty cool - is Snap gonna make a come-back on Xbox?! I would probably make some use of having a show on Netflix playing in the corner while playing some more mindless open world games though, so I’m definitely interested in that feature in particular. Also good to see the same sort of quick resume feature that Xbox has demonstrated should also work similarly on PS5.

The one thing I’d love to have with both of these new systems is for them to finally just allow Discord to be fully integrated instead of the existing party systems. The current party systems work just fine with playing with folks on the same system, but as cross-play hopefully becomes more of a thing, Discord integration of some kind would be great.

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Launching into parts of the game via Cards will probably get used often enough, the hint videos though are so superfluous that I would only expect to see them in first party games by Sony mandate. I’m reminded of the PS4 test case demos where a person uses the streaming feature to show someone how to do hilariously simple things in Knack. Their UIX designers have a noticeable misalignment with the reality of how people play games.

Just tell me if Shudder is available on PS5 and finally I won’t need any other device in my home to stream anything.

I like some of the new features, some of this stuff is very appealing to the completionist in me. Though I’m not really a fan of how this is designed. Why are the cards so big but the actual main PS5 menu so small? I get that it’s designed for 4k TVs but why is it so small??? It reminds me of when early Xbox 360 and PS3 games would have really small text because they didn’t consider that most people don’t have the big and brand new TVs yet. Except here they don’t even use the extra space they have here for anything!!

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Mad they didn’t show the media section, because I wanted to yell at them at how horrible it probably is. Remember a few years ago on PS4 when you could choose which streaming apps you wanted on the main menu? Now they hide them in the commercial section for all the other apps. And god forbid you want to use an app that isn’t giving Sony a bunch of money to be displayed prominently, then you have to go to the menu with all the apps, which is not sorted by installed (!?) and find the app and start it. This will knock one of the other apps of the “quick select” list of streaming apps. Reminder: previously you could start these apps from the main menu! It’s such a horrible, greedy design.

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This new frontend is primed to auto-download links to sales and promotions without your permission.

The Switch UI might be barebones, but it has the decency to keep ads contained in the lock screen.

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The current PS4 UI already does this, so no real change there.

I don’t like a lot of this. It’s a continuation of the theme of using the console to sell things to us (and encourage us to be unpaid marketers for Sony things) rather than to just make the console useful.

It sounds like they aren’t giving the user a lot of control over the things that appear in the most prominent part of the interface. This is design specifically tailored to keep people playing and buying. “Looks like I missed an objective, better go back and get it.” Which is hot garbage that I don’t want on my console.

Do not love how much screen space the social notifications take up. That is absolutely going to block things in game.

Similarly, on the “home screens” the things I want (games to play) are tiny. The things they want to sell me (marketing materials i.e. news) are huge.

And just as a giant related ugh. They put a mic on the controller? Oh my god. Be prepared for even worse background noise in ingame voice situations than today. I am pretty particular about audio, and this sort of thing (area mics vs dedicated headset mics with on off switches) is why I just can’t with so many online things.

Protip: Solo party chat when you’re online gaming alone is a huge benefit as it auto mutes randos.

This is a broader topic, but the ways in which system-level UIX bleed into the games themselves more and more with each generation is an issue that doesn’t get critically interrogated enough.

Achievements/trophies were an incredibly successful instance of system designers pushing an idea of what people value in games, that is entirely rooted in trying to drive user metrics without regard for how it psychologically influences play habits (there are already studies for this sort of thing outside of games). It was so successful that, while it wasn’t the sole contributor to this, it helped push games further towards this checklisting and carrot-on-stick reward mentality.

Cards warping you directly to the level or area you need to be in to make progress towards a certain goal, further reinforces this school of design where the literal time and space of a game world are pushed out of the way to facilitate this obsessive goal-oriented play. It’s hard to say right now how far they’ll go with this, my worst fear is that it becomes so pernicious that it starts to dismantle the idea of any verisimilitude in a game if it threatens the ability for a player to be right where they need to be to make further progress on the giant checklist that games already assume you’re engaged with.

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If games actually respected the time of people who want to 100% shit, those features would be neat, but like a lot of % completion integration now it comes off as inevitably cynical as fuck.

I’m ready for a whole gen of people yelling fruitlessly at companies for locking goals behind DLC and advertising it to you every time you hit the PS button. Just… just FOMO out the ass, all the time, even more than dystopian hell that theory already wrought.

The jump-to-thing feature seems like it’ll only be in Sony’s first-gen/sponsored games because who is going to put in the work to make sure things dont bug out for one console, and how do you balance that out for other platforms if you do? Extra UI and systems design for every project just to meet parity with one version would be both untennable and pointless.

I have my doubts how widely implemented this feature will end up being. It just seems too time consuming for most devs to even bother with or justify the cost in time and money it would cost to truly implement outside of a game with the size and scope of Sackboy. Also, it doesn’t look like a feature that is require for certification, unlike trophies/achievements, so devs really have no reason to put them in the game.

Devs could always reach out to content creators but it probably wouldn’t be worth it for either party. Like Destiny 2 could throw some Datto tutorials in the game whenever there’s a new exotic quest or whatever but Datto is probably better off having people click his links on YouTube.

Just a heads up, anyone on the lookout for PS5 accessories may be able to snag them a little early. I just got this email from Best Buy (and got another two emails for the playstation camera thingy and dualsense charging station)

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Oh dang, that’s awesome! I think they said that the controller will work on PS4 too. I might grab one for current gen in that case because the updates look pretty cool.