Even as the Xbox Series X has been winging its way across the world and into the hands of creators for weeks now, Sony’s PS5 has proven far more elusive. We’ve had a single preview event with some Japanese Youtubers, a couple of showcases and, last week, a new teardown showing off the insides of the new machine. But while seeing the hardware is exciting, there’s still one big thing we haven’t seen yet, and that’s the UI.
People speculated that we’d get to see the UI at that Japanese Youtube event, but we had no such luck. Sony has promised a brand-new UI for the PS5, saying that there would be “no pixel untouched”, and according the Verge, said it would be showing it off “soon”, back in June. We even saw a small—very small-teaser.
We also know that we’re getting new features like the ability to jump into multiplayer activities right from the dashboard, quick resume features and the new “create” button, an evolution of the “share” button that seems interesting but, like the rest of the UI, remains a bit of a mystery.
One explanation here is the obvious one: that we haven’t seen the UI yet because it isn’t done yet. This doesn’t feel like the craziest guess in the world to me, nor necessarily the end of the world. It’s possible that the software here is just coming in kind of hot, either due to the major work-from-home transition of 2020, run of the mill development problems, or some combination of the two. If this were true, it would in no way mean it wouldn’t be ready for launch, just that things are moving sort of quickly here in the homestretch.
It would seem possible, however, that some sort of delay for the UI may have kept Sony from a more robust preview program of the sort that Microsoft has been running with Xbox Series X. As I mentioned earlier, there is already a ton of Series X out in the wild, and that means that my social media feed has been crammed full of backwards compatibility videos for Microsoft’s console for a few weeks now. It’s the sort of thing which will likely come out in the wash over the next few months, but is hard to interpret as anything but a positive outcome for Microsoft.