After the PS5 reveal event in June, we finally saw what both next-gen consoles look like on the outside. As the months went on, fans turned their attention inwards as they asked questions about the software components of the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X, specifically the UI and UX.
Getting UI right is crucial to a console's success, as it's the first thing a prospective player will see when the console boots up. Both Microsoft and Sony have had to perfect their UI as to get the slight edge over their competition as the console war heats up before the November releases.
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Read on to find out all we know about the UI for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
What will the PS5s UI look like?
After months of being left in the dark, Sony finally treated us to a deep dive into the PS5's new User Interface in mid-October.
The new UI lines up with information from Matt MacLaurin, PlayStation's VP of UI Design, who stated on his LinkedIn page that the PS5's UI will be a "100 percent overhaul of the PS4 UI."
While somewhat hyperbolic, the PS5's UI marks a shift away from the PS4, shifting the focus more onto the games. When you press the PS Home button, instead of returning to a blank home screen, it will first load up the Control Centre screen.
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This hub allows for players to jump into certain sections of a game to complete specific missions or challenges as they please. This transition is almost instant thanks to the PS5's custom SSD.
Aside from jumping between sections, the Control Centre screen also offers players suggestions and video hints for when they are stuck attempting to complete challenges or aspects of the game if the developer so chooses to make them.
The actual Home Screen has also seen an overhaul, with a focus on seamless transitions between both games and applications - including the PS Store, which is now inbuilt into the UI.
If you're wanting a summary of the PS5's UI ethos, look no further than the PlayStation Blog, which states: "We believe the less time you spend waiting to interact with the system, the more time you will have to spend playing games."
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What will the Xbox Series X's UI look like?
The Xbox Series X's UI marks a less drastic change from the Xbox One UI, which already saw an overhaul earlier this year in preparation for the Series X's launch.
Indeed, the Xbox Series X's UI can essentially be accessed already on the Xbox One, as Xbox continues to make the transition between current and next-gen even simpler.
Indeed, in a recent blog post, Microsoft announced its intention to streamline the UI between each device.
"All the ways you use Xbox should feel inviting and familiar, whether you are on the couch relaxing or streaming your favorite game on the go," stated Jonathan Hildebrandt, the Principal Program Manager of Xbox Experiences.
Explaining these changes, Hildenbrandt said this streamlining of the UI was "to better match our other experiences on the PC and mobile devices. This includes some changes to our tile shape, fonts, and focus indicator across the experience."
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Aside from this, Xbox released a video focused on the Xbox Experience, detailing the quality of life improvements made to the Series X's UX.
By utilising Quick Resume and Xbox Velocity Architecture, the Xbox Series X's "Home now launches over 15% faster when you boot your Xbox, and is almost a third faster to load when returning from a game," according to Jonathan Hildebrandt, the Principal Program Manager at Xbox Experience
Aspects of the UX including Home, Xbox Store, and the Guide have also been made more efficient, with Chris Novak, Xbox's Head of Research & Design expressing they have "reduc[ed] the footprint to maximise the console horsepower available to games", fitting these aspects "in almost 40% less memory."
As part of the 'Xbox Experience' that now spans across all digital devices, Xbox is further implementing support with its mobile app to allow you to share your clips and screenshots from your phone.
"Now, when you capture on the console, it's sent to your phone to share instantly, making it easier to get that moment to your friends and ensuring that you're not standing around in the middle of some match trying to type a message on a virtual keyboard," explained Novak.
You can watch the full Xbox Experience video here:
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Xbox Series X vs PS5: Which UI is better?
The strategy of the UI departments at Xbox and PlayStation couldn't be more different.
Xbox appear to have adopted a conservative strategy for the next-gen console, hoping to create a seamless transition between the Xbox One and Xbox Series X that won't see players jump ship to PlayStation.
PlayStation has instead opted for a more radical overhaul of its UI, mirroring its intention of separating the next-generation of consoles from the current-gen.
So, which is better? Based on the views of each UI breakdown, the PlayStation UI video has amassed a whopping 6.7m views in under 24 hours, while Xbox's most recent UI video has just 286,000 views.
Ultimately, much like the design of the console, it's very subjective. If you don't like change, then sticking with the Xbox and its more familiar User Interface will be particularly helpful in the transition, especially if you still in intend to use your Xbox One.
However, if you'd prefer to separate your new console from the old to somewhat justifying the £450/$499 you just spent, a new UI might help in doing this.
There is one element, however, where the PS5 objectively outshines the Xbox Series X. With 4K becoming more prominent as we move into the next-gen of gaming, many Xbox fans may be disappointed to know that the Xbox's dashboard runs at just 1080p, while the PS5 runs natively in 4K.
Of course, the Xbox can still play games in 4K, meaning this isn't exactly a deal-breaker, unless you really care about 4K gaming.
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