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Polygonal Slant | December 17, 2017

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New PS4 User Interface | What Sony Playstation Learned from Microsoft.

New PS4 User Interface | What Sony Playstation Learned from Microsoft.
Imad Khan

Learning from the Competition: The New Playstation 4 User-Interface.

With new consoles incoming, we must bid adieu to the interfaces of yonder. Recall that at one point all games were released on cartridge, and now we have transitioned to discs. This current generation brought with it what no previous generation had, robust user interface. Last generation, the most the user was given in terms of UI was the logo splash and some settings. This generation we’ve seen UI’s evolve. Most notably on the Xbox 360, which incorporated a more fluid and intuitive way of navigating through a digital space. Since the launch of the Playstation 3, there has been minimal change to the Xross Media Bar, also known as the XMB. With the onset of the Playstation 4, Sony is trying to remedy the more archaic interface with something more user friendly, and is taking a few ques from Microsoft to boot.

New PS4 User Interface

The Playstation 3’s XMB cannot compare to Microsoft’s Metro Design.

Many Sony fans would argue that the XMB on the Playstation 3 works just fine, and I would agree with them. I would point out, however, that it works fine in the same vein that the UI on Windows 98 worked just fine. It was a simple layout with an array of folders that would open up into sub folders to find a specific setting. The issue is that its very elementary in its implementation; if a layman were to make a user interface for a device, most probably that person would opt for folders with sub-folders. With the onset of Windows 8, we have seen that there are more intuitive ways of organizing a space. On Windows 8 you are asked to open the Games tile which presents all of your content cleanly, highlighting important information, such as friends lists and achievements, all relevant to your interests.

Comparison to Xbox 360 and PS3

Clean Presentation: Sony’s PS4 Takes Inspiration from Microsoft’s Live Tiles.

From what we can see from the new PS4 UI, Sony is definitely following what Microsoft is doing. They are highlighting key pieces of information that will help the user find what they are looking for more efficiently. This is definitely a right move for Sony for it allows them to appeal to a larger base and attract those who are technology averse. My mother, for example, can easily understand how my Windows Phone works, but has difficulty navigating her Android Phone. This is mainly because things seem random and abstract on her Android phone, while on Windows Phone things are very clean and relevant information is put to the forefront. Also note, Sony is starting to move away from the rounded edges found on the PS Vita‘s UI for the clean square tiles found on Windows 8 and Windows Phone. It will be interesting to see how similar the next Xbox’s UI will look in contrast to the PS4‘s.