I’ve had a PS4 exactly three days now. The first day was a bit of a wash, since the servers were swamped and no one could do anything. Day 2 went much better, because I actually had games to play. So now, I’m at a point where I’m getting used to the fact that the PS4 isn’t my PS3. I’ve already had to put my Dualshock 3 and Dualshock 4 controller on opposite sides of the TV, because I kept grabbing the PS3 controller and wondering why it wasn’t turning the PS4 on.
But it isn’t just about keeping the two controllers straight and keeping track of that PS4 headset Sony included with the system. (Cat almost stole it, but I caught him in the act.) It’s about getting used to the PS4 GUI. I’m more comfortable with the old school PS3, and even PSP, interfaces. I liked the XMB, and I enjoyed customizing my PS3 backgrounds. I wasn’t sure I’d dig the PS4 GUI.
I wish I could say I immediately experienced a complete 180 once I turned on my PS4 for the first time, but there was an adjustment period. I’m getting used the PS4 GUI, and even though there is a bit of information overload, I can honestly say I’m liking how fast and responsive it is.
For example, this is what you see when you first turn on the PS4.
There are shades of the XMB here, with icons for the PlayStation Store, Notifications, Friends List, Messages, Party Chat, User Profile, Trophies, Settings, and Power appearing in a line. Each time the system powers on and connects to the PlayStation Network, the PS4 GUI also shows a list of some of the most recent notifications. It’s reassuring
However, it can quickly get complicated. Pressing down on the DualShock 4 will take a user to an array of PS4 GUI icons. The first of which is a What’s New section, filled with updates from Sony, the player, and people on the player’s friends list.
As you can see, it’s an array of updates and advertisements. Personally, I don’t care about any of them. I suppose its interesting to see which games my friends are playing, and what trophies they’ve earned, but I’d honestly rather have the ability to customize my background or have a dynamic theme.
Pressing right when in this section of the PS4 GUI allows people to browse the various games and applications installed on the system. In my case, I see Warframe first, then an icon that holds a collective of TV & Video applications, and this is followed by Trine 2: Complete Story, Resogun, Contrast, Sound Shapes, The Playroom, Video Unlimited – My Videos, Music Unlimited, Live from PlayStation, the Internet Browser, and my Library. Unfortunately, there’s no way to move or rearrange these icons that I can see. And, even though I never intend to use The Playroom, Video Unlimited or Music Unlimited, I can not delete these applications from the PS4. However, other applications can be deleted by pressing the Options button on the DualShock 4 while their icon is highlighted. Pressing down on the DualShock 4 while any of these game or application icons is highlighted brings up a specific page that provides an overview saying how large the game is, showing off various media and information about the game, detailing your recent activity, and suggesting related games.
The Library is the last icon in that PS4 GUI list, and it’s an interesting one. It’s a list of all games and applications a user has installed on the system. Here’s a look at what’s on the PS4 I’m using.
Unfortunately, the list isn’t alphabetical. However, clicking one of the respective icons takes users to a page with information on the game, recent activity, and other games related to it.
As I mentioned earlier, the PS4 GUI is very responsive. Clicking any icon immediately takes a player from one game, app, or area to another, with no delays. Everything’s very smooth, and if someone doesn’t care for the system music or sound effects, they can be turned off in the settings.
I honestly have to say that the more I use the PS4, the more I like the layout. I’m even drawing near to admitting that I prefer the PS4 GUI to the PS3 XMB. It’s still very close, and I do like seeing every list in front of me on the PS3, but the tidiness of the PS4 is winning me over.