I have a PlayStation 5, and I love it. I enjoyed playing new-gen games like Astro’s Playroom and Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, and I’ve also had fun revisiting various PS4 games with improved performance. I say all of that because I want to make this clear: I think the PS5 is a huge success is almost every way. However, after spending several months with the console, a variety of minor frustrations have piled up regarding its interface and functionality. None of them are make-or-break issues, but these are a few small changes Sony could implement for the PS5 that would make a big difference in convenience.
Ditch (or at least move) the Explore tab
When you first boot up your PS5, what do you see? Unless you’re quick-resuming directly into a suspended game, you see an obnoxious takeover ad that stems from the Explore tab (which is the default position). I understand that this is sponsored content; you don’t need to tell me, “Sony needs to put those there because publishers pay for that slot.” Regardless of the reason behind it, the practice feels invasive and scummy – especially since you cannot avoid it. I already paid $500 dollars for this new system, and I’d appreciate not being immediately greeted by irrelevant promotions and stupid “related” videos that literally no one wants to watch.
On PlayStation 4, I often checked out my download/upload activity. For example, I could just open up a menu and see what updates had been installed recently. The PS5 has a similar menu, but there’s a trick: You can only access it when your system is actively downloading or uploading. At that point, it appears in the quick-select menu when you press the PS button. But as soon as the activity is finished, the menu option goes away. It isn’t even simply grayed out – it completely disappears. Why restrict players’ access to this data?
Audio routing options
The PS5 makes you choose whether you want to route your audio to your HDMI or your headphones. That doesn’t seem like a big deal at first … but it’s a headache for many streamers, which is undeniably an important subset of PS5 users. You need to route to HDMI if you want your audience to actually hear the game … but that means you can’t hear it through your headphones while you’re playing. Certain hardware workarounds fix the issue, but it would be better if Sony just allowed players to route audio to both headphones and HDMI simultaneously.
Single-step power settings
In the early days of the PS4, you just needed to hold the PS button down, then select your shutdown option. Later in the lifecycle, Sony added another “power” menu to that process. Even though it just involves a few more button presses, it feels like a much bigger hassle. Instead of reverting back to the streamlined process, the PS5 retains the extra effort; you have to press the PS button, then scroll over to the power menu, and then choose your shutdown option. Also, while we’re on the subject: Please make the PS button a normal button, and not a weird logo-shaped thing that feels wrong and broken every time people try to press it.
Bring back themes
I miss the custom themes. Like the wallpaper on your computer or phone, it allowed you to personalize your experience on the PS3 and PS4. This wasn’t always just an image in the background; the dynamic themes were especially cool, with unique menus and sound effects linked to great games or design concepts. Anyway, PS5 doesn’t have them. Instead, as you scroll through the games in your navigation bar, each one has a sort of individual wallpaper that appears, but it feels more like you’re looking at product pages than any artful celebration of the content.
I know many people out there are still trying to buy a PS5, and I recognize that I’m pretty fortunate to have one. But once PS5s are more plentiful and the novelty of next-gen diminishes, Sony is going to have a bunch of new console owners to keep happy. Ironing out seemingly minor issues like these can have big impact on building long-term satisfaction. Is there anything you’d like to see addressed with the PS5 interface? Share your suggestions in the comments below!
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