PlayStation 4 UI

Hungry for more PlayStation 4 news? Never fear, as a recent press event in New York City has revealed several details regarding the upcoming console. Most interesting were those pertaining to the machine's user interface. That's right, it's time to say goodbye to our beloved XMB and say hello to the next generation console's new hub.

Upon booting up your shiny state-of-the-art console, you'll be greeted by a login screen adorned with large high-quality images representing each of the player accounts. Temporary guest accounts are also supported and are automatically erased upon logging off. In addition, the system sports a nifty facial recognition login option, for those of you picking up the new PlayStation Eye. The camera will take three initial calibration shots of your handsome mug, which will – along with an upheld DualShock 4 – be used to recognise and log you in.

Switching between games and other apps will no longer be an irksome chore, with the home button now acting as a gateway between your active programs. Simply tap the button twice and it will return you to the last opened app. This handy feature will be most useful in allowing you to quickly check the Push Square review before deciding to buy a new game.

On the social side of things, Sony has made a whole host of changes to the party and messaging services. Parties can now include up to eight players and messaging is completely cross-platform, allowing you to also yell abuse at players on PlayStation Vitas as well as smartphone devices with the PlayStation App installed. And if typing messages with the thumb sticks or d-pad is too old fashioned, just use the DualShock 4's motion sensing capabilities to input them instead.

If streaming is more your style, the PS4 has you covered. Sony won't be enforcing any restrictions on the Twitch and Ustream services, and you'll also be able to control the stream format and broadcast quality. Additionally, the console itself will automatically record the last 15 minutes of gameplay, just in case you happen to pull off an incredible feat of gaming prowess while you're not recording.

Downloading games from the PlayStation Store has also been completely overhauled, with the most significant addition being the option to prioritise specific portions of a game's download. For instance, if you're more interested in Call of Duty: Ghosts' online multiplayer, you can grab that section of the game first and dive into the competitive fray while the campaign downloads in the background. Moreover, movies and music have been migrated to the cloud, so there's no need to worry about pesky downloads hogging that limited hard drive space.

While certainly not make or break, an unintuitive user interface can sour even the best of gaming experiences. It's encouraging, then, to see that Sony seems to have put a lot of thought into the PS4's UI. The social capabilities and enhanced navigation speak to the Japanese giant's considered approach. Do you like the sound of these new features? Are you going to miss the XMB? Get excited in the comments section below.

[source, via]