There was a time when a console’s interface consisted of little more than a digital clock and a save data protocol, but the PlayStation 3 era changed all of that. Microsoft can be perhaps credited for the improvement, as the Xbox 360 deployed with a cavalcade of features as part of its classic ‘Blades’ hub – but Sony’s former flagship format evolved over time, too, implementing streaming services such as Netflix and more detailed profiles after the device’s launch.

With consumers now expecting much more from their systems, the PlayStation 4’s user interface has been a frequent topic of discussion leading up to the platform’s release. Lead architect Mark Cerny and countless other Sony executives have cited a desire to make the next generation console feel more alive, and it’s managed to achieve that by incorporating PlayStation Vita-esque game profiles, video sharing functionality, and more. But do you like it?

There are lots of improvements over the relative simplicity of the PS3. The award-winning XMB may have offered an intuitive means to access your content, but it slipped behind the Xbox 360 in terms of functionality. Issues such as the lack of cross-game chat have been addressed with the company’s latest console, and the restrictions on multitasking have been removed, too. It’s now possible to seamlessly jump between games and other applications such as the PlayStation Store.

But while the PS4 commands a significant hardware advantage over the upcoming Xbox One, we suspect that the latter’s interface will become one of Microsoft’s trump cards. Features such as ‘Snap’ – which allows you to divide your screen between apps – have been hardcoded into the Redmond-based outfit’s system, while voice controls through the Kinect camera have again been prioritised.

That’s not to overlook the strides that the Japanese giant has made, though. The manufacturer’s new user interface – or Connected User Experience if you want the full name – is split into three different sections, which allow you to access different parts of the console at all times. The top portion includes links to key system components such as the PlayStation Store and your friends list, while the middle section is stacked with apps.

However, it’s the bottom area that’s arguably the biggest improvement, allowing you to browse a social feed pertaining to your friends – and join livestreams of anything that your pal’s are playing – as well as obtain detailed information on each game. You can peruse Trophy progress – which is now sorted by rarity – as well as view screenshots and key information for a particular release. It’s heavily inspired by the LiveArea system from the Vita, but it's a massive step-up.

These new features have prevented some old favourites from making a return, though. While Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has hinted that they’ll get added in later down the line, the next generation console is missing functionality such as MP3 playback, DLNA support, and theme customisation. It’s certain that these will get added later, but if you’re moving from the PS3, you may already be yearning for these simple features – and pondering how they even got overlooked.

But now you’ve had a couple of days to play around with it, what are your thoughts on the PS4’s user interface? Are you finding it as fast and fluid as promised? Do you feel like you’ve got a grasp on all of the features? What do you think of the layout? Are there any missing functions that you wish would get added in? Do you think that the platform holder should have incorporated the ‘Snap’ technology found in the Xbox One? Share your hype and gripes in the comments section below.


What are your overall thoughts on the PS4’s user interface? (37 votes)

I love it – it’s fast, fluid, and gets me straight into my games

59%

It’s very basic, but I don’t have any major complaints

35%

I hate it – it’s clunky, overly simplistic, and poorly designed

5%

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What’s your favourite feature so far? (35 votes)

I really like the ability to broadcast and watch streams

9%

I enjoy perusing all of the information for each game

17%

The swift multitasking feature is at the top of my list

66%

I’m really enjoying the cross-game chat functionality

3%

The voice controls and facial recognition are super cool

6%

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What do you most want to be added next? (34 votes)

Please bring back MP3 support as soon as possible

26%

I’m missing the DLNA functionality at the moment

15%

I don’t like the blue, so customisation would be nice

26%

I’d just like it all to be stabilised, as it’s a bit clunky

32%

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