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Brief Published: 26 Oct 2020

PlayStation Unveils Game-Changing User Interface

Sony's reveal of its new PlayStation 5 user interface promises an overhaul of social and second-screen gaming.

At the core of this shift is the roll-out of modular 'Cards' – tiles running along the bottom of the redesigned control centre screen that let players interact with each of their games and the wider PlayStation content ecosystem. Here, users can access news from Sony, community content, and their own screen captures for social sharing, all without interrupting the flow of their gameplay.

Meanwhile, 'Activities' cards for each game let players jump directly into levels to complete unfinished tasks and unlock achievements, and the system also offers each player a personalised estimate of how long this will take them. With the popularity of hugely complex open-world games, this will make it much easier to schedule sessions. PlayStation Plus subscribers will also have access to a 'Game Help' card, a screen-in-screen players' guide featuring tips and videos.

Community connections will sit at the centre of the player experience. Players can live stream their friends' gameplay on cards as they play, even from other games. This makes it easy to join multiplayer sessions in the moment, and will surely power some innovative gaming mechanics from savvy developers. Social sharing has also been streamlined. And PlayStation has also added a feature that tracks where players are in story-driven games, so they can filter out content shared by friends who are ahead of them – tackling the issue of spoilers.

All of this makes for a much more personal experience, where players can access information and social channels without interrupting their gameplay, and share their activities without ruining others' experiences. An ideal ecosystem for user-generated content and small peer communities, as we explore in depth in Mobilising Online Microcultures.

For more on the latest developments in gaming, check out Gamescom 2020.

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