The PlayStation 5 reveals just keep coming at the moment and, after earlier news on backwards compatibility and the hardware itself, we have finally been introduced to the new console's user experience in PlayStation's latest State of Play video feature.
With an 11 minute look at the main home screen, complete with game activity hubs and a fully integrated store, as well as the PS button's Control Centre with the new ways we will be accessing and sharing content, there is plenty to take in. In short, the new experience looks well thought out and ready to deliver some of the more common habits of gamers with an all round slicker and easier process; features like the picture-in-picture video guides and screen sharing capabilities look particularly interesting for example, and are designed to keep you in the game instead of leaving it to use another device.
It will feature official news and also trending media...
But what about those Create features that virtual photographers have been itching to see since the DualSense™ controller was given the newly named Create button? Well, after weeks of hope that we might see something special like a set of integrated photo mode tools, and my recent interpretation of how the revealed button shortcuts may suggest a broadly similar experience to that of the outgoing SHARE menu, we finally have something tangible to look at, so let's dig into what we now know.
Firstly, here's a recap of what Sid Shuman had to say when revealing the Create menu while playing Destruction AllStars in the second half of the showcase...
PS5 is always capturing recent gameplay, but when you compose a shot, even using an in-game photo mode, you can capture a high-quality screenshot here. This optimises capturing the moment, letting you review and choose to share later on. I should mention, screenshots and video can be captured at up to 4k on the PS5 console.
Sid Shuman - PlayStation State of Play
Ok, so 4K screenshots are nothing new and it may even be disappointing that there is no provision to go higher, but videos can now be captured in up to 4k resolution, surpassing the 720p and 1080p limits of the PS4 and PS4 Pro, so that's good...hold on though, what was that?
"Even using in-game photo mode"...
Subtle though it may be, that's a line that stands out a bit. The inflection on in-game could definitely be taken to imply that there is some other photo mode implementation here, one that is separate to the tools found within games themselves, but I think it is more likely that what Sid really intended was to differentiate the in-game composition from the system level capture and share process. Even without camera tools, there are certainly some interesting elements on show though.
The official Create menu may be a little underwhelming in terms of design inspiration, it actually reminds me very much of Sony's camera interface on their Xperia smartphones, but simplicity is often a strength when it comes to something that will be used over and over.
The UI shows 5 main actions here. Over on the right we have a pair of symbols for what look like Broadcast and general capture / share settings, much like those already found on the PS4, while centrally we see some fairly obvious icons for taking a screenshot and recording video. Next to them though, is what looks like a history button. Exactly how this works is not shown, but could we be looking at a capture buffer, taking advantage of the console's ongoing recording to allow the user to roll back time to an earlier moment?
From here, the reveal breaks away to the home screen itself and highlights the Explore section. Akin to PS4's What's New, this area will feature official news and also trending media shared by the community. From the preview, this appears to be mainly "popular videos", but let's hope that virtual photography gets some recognition in there too. There is more to UGC than YouTube and Twitch after all.
The sharing of captured content seems to be pretty much as you would expect, with the Recently created card providing the ability to share directly to external social media or to party groups on the PSN. Blink and you'll miss it though, is mention of perhaps one of the Create button's biggest features.
"From here we can do quick edits"
Sid Shuman - PlayStation State of Play
Yes, the PS5 will include a set of tools to edit your captures before sharing them. Although absolutely no details are given about what these editing tools will include (there always has to be something left to wait for it seems), I would expect a typical selection of image enhancements and video editing features. Taking the PS4's freely downloadable software utility, SHAREfactory as a benchmark, the edit options behind the Create button could in fact be surprisingly robust. We may not be seeing everything from the virtual photographer's wish list but, with an enhanced suite of creative options, the PS5 may help users to create unique content directly on their console, ready to conveniently share with the world.
If you haven't already, check out the State of Play presentation below and let me know in the comments or on Twitter what you think of the new user interface. Otherwise, put yourself into rest mode and enjoy the wait.