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PS5 Promises Massive UI Innovation, While Xbox Series X Drags Its Feet

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:00 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:00 PM
  • Sony is aiming for ‘100% overhaul of PS4 UI’ for the PS5.
  • Rival Microsoft is sticking to a unified dashboard with a few choice improvements to the Xbox One UI.
  • Microsoft may very well hand the PS5 yet another easy win by focusing on optimization over innovation.

After unveiling a frustratingly short sneak peek during last week’s PS5 showcase, Sony has teased more about the PS5’s user interface (UI). The next-gen console’s UI is in for a ground-up overhaul and will introduce new concepts that could surprise PlayStation fans.

Xbox Series X Hands PS5 Easy UI Win As Sony Confirms' 100% Overhaul'
Sony offered a short tease of the PS5’s UI last week. | Source: PlayStation/YouTube

‘100% Overhaul’ For PS5 UI

These new clues come from PlayStation’s VP of UX design Matt MacLaurin, who’s impromptu Q&A on LinkedIn has caused quite a stir.

Responding to questions, MacLaurin noted that Sony is orchestrating a ‘100% overhaul of the PS4 UI’ :

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.

According to the VP, Sony will offer a more detailed look at the UI soon as well as a full breakdown of how the changes came about post-launch.

Microsoft Has a Different Strategy

This strategy contrasts starkly to how Microsoft is approaching the UI for rival Xbox Series X console.

Microsoft is introducing small changes and improvements to the Xbox One UI . By and large, it’s sticking with what’s already there  to unify the dashboard across all its consoles. When we load up the Series X for the first time later this year, little will be different other than loading speeds.

Xbox Series X Hands PS5 Easy UI Win As Sony Confirms' 100% Overhaul'
Microsoft is sticking to the overall look and feel of the existing Xbox dashboard. | Source: Microsoft

Xbox fans leveled considerable criticism at the perceived sub-par features  and the, at times, perplexing layout of the UI. Prompted by this backlash, Microsoft has steadily improved the interface over time , but it still lacks the fluidity and effortless simplicity of Sony’s existing PS4 OS.

With that in mind, one would expect Microsoft to redesign the whole thing for the Xbox Series X.

Instead, we’re talking optimization rather than an innovative redesign to match the next-gen leap of the hardware. Familiarity is key here. Microsoft wants to ease the transition to the next-gen as much as possible.

Microsoft will take the safe route with UI. | Source: Microsoft

It’s a baffling strategy. Hopefully, Microsoft still has a few UI surprises to reveal. They might offer enough to convince would-be Series X owners that a repeat of the initially terrible Xbox One UI isn’t in the cards.

If not, Microsoft will hand the PS5 yet another easy win.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.