Seven Ways The PS4’s User Interface Makes Life Easier For Gamers

Last week, we got up close and personal with the PlayStation 4’s UI and controller. Here are seven inbuilt time-saving hacks that should make your gaming experience run more smoothly than the current generation of consoles.

During a PS4 media event held in Sydney last week, we spoke to Sony Computer Entertainment Australia’s marketing manager Patrick Lagana. Shamelessly putting him on the spot, we asked Patrick to name some of the ways that the PS4 interface would make life easier for gamers compared to the PlayStation 3. Here are some of the things he came up with:

Native apps

One annoyance of the previous console generation was the time it took to load up applications from the dashboard or home screen — jumping into your music or video service of choice typically took up to ten seconds. The PS4 is looking to erase the amount of thumb-twiddling you do via an integrated apps framework. Instead of being clumsily bolted on, each core launch application is built directly into the UI software, which should translate to a seamless user experience.

“We’ve integrated a lot of the features into the UI itself,” Lagana said. “A good example of that is Music Unlimited which has been built in as part of the overall system. This makes it a lot quicker to flick from one application to another, including your games library.”

Your Android/iOS device can be used as a keyboard

The PlayStation App is the Sony equivalent to Xbox SmartGlass — it’s a mobile application for Android and iOS devices that gives you remote access to your PSN account and can also be used as a second screen for select games. But arguably its most alluring function is the addition of a virtual keyboard.

“Instead of using the [DualShock 4] controller, you can access the PlayStation 4’s onscreen keyboard on your tablet or smartphone,” Lagana explained. “So you can use your fingers to type in any required details which makes life a bit easier. You can also use it to navigate the PS4 menu using the swipe features.”

PlayStation Vita remote play

As expected, Sony is attempting to flog its portable gaming console via integration with the PlayStation 4. Usually, these kind of features are a waste of time, but the ability to play your PS4 games remotely on the Vita is definitely intriguing.

“This is something that a lot of PlayStation gamers are excited about,” Lagana claimed. “It’s all very seamless. Once the devices are paired, you can continue to play the PlayStation 4 game on your Vita, which is handy if you get booted off the TV for whatever reason…It also works with pretty much all PS4 titles, with the exception of games that are reliant on the PS4 camera.”

Smarter downloads

Sometimes, little touches can make a huge difference; with the PlayStation 4, gamers can start playing PSN games before they finish downloading. This is especially handy for Aussies with slow internet connections.

“We know that games are getting bigger and bigger so the PlayStation 4 will allow you to start playing from a certain percentage point,” Lagana said. “The other feature I really like about downloads is that when you put the PS4 in standby mode it will continue to download in the background.”

Inbuilt headphone jack

Although it shares the same basic design principle as its ancestors, the PS4’s controller does come with a handful of new tricks. From a practical viewpoint, the most useful new addition is probably the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack in the bottom of the controller. This means you don’t have to invest in a pair of wireless headphones during those late-night gaming sessions. Huzzah!

Light bar

The DualShock 4’s ‘light bar’ might look like a purely aesthetic addition, but it is actually capable of improving the user experience in various ways. For example, in multiplayer games, each player is automatically assigned a different coloured light, which makes it easier to keep tabs of who owns each controller. It can also supply in-game information that would typically be found on a HUD display, such as a flashing or fading light when health is dangerously low.

“We’ve made [the light bar] a bit of a blank canvas for developers to use in the best way that they want. For example, in a wizard-style game you could have the colour change to denote different types of spells or potions.”

Share your game footage instantly

In the past, recording video game footage on your console involved a third-party device which could cost upwards of $100. The PS4’s ‘Share’ button is looking to change this: it allows you to record up to 15 minutes of gameplay at the press of a button. You can then make basic edits and upload it directly to various social networking sites.

What’s your take on the PlayStation 4? Do you think it trumps the Xbox One, or does Microsoft’s new console have more on the table? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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