The PS4’s Interface Could Have Been Similar to the PS3, but Sony Opted for the Challenging Route

This week, during a keynote at Develop Conference Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House explained what determined the choice of the current interface of the PS4, which was pitched against another option much more similar to the PS3’s Cross Media Bar.

House mentioned that he was presented with two not too dissimilar but fairly distinct options, made by two competing teams. Initially, he wasn’t told that detail, but it became increasingly obvious as the presentation went on that each team was actually trying to advocate for its own solution.

One of the approaches was less challenging, a lot more similar to the PS3’s Cross Media Bar and not as innovative, while the other one had a lot of front-facing content.

House was concerned because when you think about the full life cycle of a platform you want to be able to have something that resonates with the core audience which is very comfortable with a lot of content and complexity being placed front and center in front of them, but you also have to think about the wider audience that you hope to reach during the course of the generation. Striking that balance was critical.

Yet, it became clear to him that the more complicated and challenging option was the one to go with, so he decided to go with that one, which then became the current UI of the PS4.

House explained that this kind of decision normally comes after a “listen first” approach. In a Japanese organization there’s on a cultural level a little more time and hesitancy taken in meetings before people really get to the point to actually stating their own view clearly and committing to it. So if he goes into a meeting with any sort of categorical judgement before taking his time to listen to everyone involved, he runs at a huge risk to prevent those positions from actually being expressed.

Yet, on the flip side, when push comes to shove a decision needs to be made, and when it’s made everyone needs to get on board. That’s exactly what happened with the PS4’s interface.

Join the Discussion

  • superkarma

    It’s a good thing he did. After awhile, I grew to hate the PS3 UI. The PS4 UI is definitely much nicer and much easier to navigate.

    I’m holding out hope they’ll eventually introduce a games folder. Once I start loading up my PS4 with a bunch of games (already starting to get there) I can see how it’ll be somewhat of a pain to scroll through the long list.

    • RaGing_Wild

      Use voice commands to navigate, that’s what I do.

  • I like the PS3’s User Interface much better over the PS4. More Customizable. etc. I don’t understand why people nit pick at User Interfaces. or why they complained about the PS3’s User interface, it was so much better then the 360’s? (of course that part is Opinion) but still why do people always make a big deal out of user interface? I guess people forget why they buy these consoles then.
    Consumer: “GIVE ME APPS! GIVE ME USER INTERFACES! LET IT COOK FOR ME! its a game console not some magical device from Sci Fi Fantasies that can do everything for you. Sony could be doing so much more with games instead of wasting vaueable resources into little things like Apps, User Interface, etc. I bought my PS4 because of 3 things
    1) To Play Video Games
    2) I Grew up with PlayStation
    3) I Enjoy Sony Exclusives the most over Microsoft or Nintendo’s Exclusives
    Sony should of just ignored the haters that complain and moan about Every little detail about a console because their is no pleasing them. They should of just gave a PS3 Interface it would of saved money and in turn gave them more money to use for games because thats what we bought it for right? Sony can do so much more if they stopped trying to be the best at everything because what made them the best is that they didn’t try so hard to be the best. PS1 and PS2 two of the greatest consoles of all time are perfect examples of this.

    • Not everyone that works at Sony works just on games in the playstation department. There are people who are responsible for firmware updates and improving the interface. You expect no change? You want to stick with the status quo? I don’t see any harm for people asking for improvements, new apps, customizations, or whatever. Its not hurting you and its not hurting Sony’s division that is responsible for it.

      • I just think if Sony just re used the Interface from the PS3 it wouldn’t make much a difference to anyone because its a interface, the Ps3 interface was just fine to use and just as easy as it is now. I don’t want new apps because its a gaming system. If i wanted apps and i said this millions of times i would just use my PC laptop, smart tv/internet tv, pc desktop, tablet or phone for that stuff? Or i would use a multimedia device. I buy game consoles strictly for gaming. All these apps like Crunchyroll i use on another device i don’t need all these apps that my phone, laptop or tablet can already do.

        if people are asking for improvements why not ask for more Resources and time to be put into securing Third Party Exclusives and returning PS Classics? instead of wasting time on such a lower scale issue such as User interface or apps?

        • Your being selfish. Not everyone wants what you want. If people want a certain app on PSN, why do you care? It is nice to have it all on one system. Its all about convenience and there is nothing wrong with that.

          As for resources? What resources are they giving up? They have people who’s job is to take care of the PSN. You think they should stop getting paid, we shouldn’t get firmware updates that improve PSN speed, fixes bugs, and continues to innovative and add features???

          • Then why get it on a gaming system? they can already get it on their laptop, their desktop, tablet, phone, apple tv, Fire TV, and soon PlayStation TV, etc.

            i’m not saying i don’t want features added, so long its gaming related i don’t care.

          • Personally I don’t want to watch tv on a desktop, tablet, phone, and such and its pointless to have a apple tv or fire tv if I can do it with a console. It would be wasting money.

          • their only 99.99 to get. Same with the upcoming PlayStation TV.

          • Money I can use to buy another game and have money left over to do whatever I want.

          • its not that hard to make up an extra $100 for games, if you spend it on a streaming multimedia device. it really isn’t.

          • Daniel Lawson

            so what you’re telling us is that you hate options and added features are something you hope sony gets away from?

          • no i like added features and updates so long it benefits PlayStation as a GAME CONSOLE! Multimedia for Sony can still be here just so long it is not being overdued. Crunchyroll, Netflix and Hulu are just fine for a game console. i don’t need VidZone, Sony Music, Sony Video, etc because i can just do all that straight from my phone, tablet, desktop, internet tv, streaming device, etc.

    • NeoTechni

      I love the XMB. Its the only good console ui

  • Jeff Maxwell

    Ive just thought that that PS4 UI follows the modern UI design by windows… press the options button it pops up the charms bar!! the main tiled section is like clicking on File in Office or any other program gives you a list of drop down stuff to do. The top section which starts from PS store side scrolls along to Power id hardly call a complex UI but is clean and functional like the modern UI and the recent activity is just Facebooks News Feed which I don’t like

    Now then I havnt got a clue what PS3 looked like but I think the designer of that UI definitely loves his windows so sony should be thanking MS for there OS design choice 😀

    • Goodgrief

      Can you be any more full of sh!t?? Take your head out of microsoft’s a-hole. The whole world does not revolve around microsoft.

      • Jeff Maxwell

        well its true, use windows 8 and use ps4 youll see

        • Creed

          Jeff you’re an idiot.

        • Not_true

          Most people don’t like the start screen, that’s why the start menu is coming back.

          • Daniel Lawson

            it never left… the way the folders are layed out are exactly the same down the those for the start button

    • Sony doesn’t have to thank Microsoft for nothing more than making boneheaded moves early on that Microsoft was forced to change. You want to admit you don’t know what PS3’s look like but want to comment as if you know? The new UI on the PS4 is somewhat like the XMB but with another role. That and XMB is nothing like what Microsoft has ever done. Microsoft makes things much more complex than they need to be. Microsoft’s older dashboards were much better than the cluttered one currently on XB1.

    • NeoTechni

      Its based off the XMB which came out before 360 and the ui you speak of

  • Rickowned

    I wish the vita had either the PS3 or PS4 UI and not some touch bubble crap
    I loved the PS3 UI, was well organized and got to knowing where everything was quickly. I will never understand the hate behind it O_o?

    • Kingdom17

      I don’t know why they changed it up so much, the PSP was a lot alike compared to the PS3 UI.

  • They Call Me Senpai

    Good, the PS4’s UI is absolutely perfect and a huge step up from the XMB, which was extremely easy to navigate and intuitive. All the PS4 UI needs are folders, MP3/MP4 support and game/download suspension.

    It’s far more intuitive and user-friendly than Windows, which is a cluttered mess. If Microsoft is smart, then they’d take notes and actually start improving their projects.

    • Jeff Maxwell

      windows is a little bit bigger than ps4 UI though

    • NeoTechni

      Ps4s ui is garbage. No folders or customization

      • Kingdom17

        I wouldn’t say its garbage, but I definitely agree that its needs some folders (Kinda like the Video folders that has stuff like Netflix) and some customization.

        • NeoTechni

          I woukd . it lacks tons of stuff the XMB does. It lacks all organization to the point where everything like settings are in different places than they were on PSP and ps3. The XMB was perfect, I’d pay to use it on ps4 and have paid to use it on my VitaTV. Its that superior

  • I always thought the XMB was great for the PSP since it was on a small screen. I feel there was too much unused real estate left over on the PS3 when displayed on tvs. I was a huge fan of Microsoft’s old style because everything jumped out but I can’t stand XB1’s new dashboard. Now only if we can folder for all those damn games extending out endlessly!

  • Dirkster_Dude

    The PS3 interface was crap. If it had been a Microsoft Windows product it would have been ME or Vista. They had almost nowhere to go but up.

    • Sly Cooper


      • Dirkster_Dude

        The point if you don’t get it is any company can build a crappy product. While the PS3 hardware was good the user interface software was crap. Fortunately, they seemed to have learned from there mistakes with the PS4.

        • Sly Cooper

          Now I gotcha

  • *Travis*

    PS4 has the best UI I have ever seen on a console. It’s so fast and smooth it’s amazing how fast things load and instantly open!. Going back to the PS3 feels so slow and buggy and I like the PS3 UI but compared to the PS4 it’s crap!.

  • Cassive

    If they ever kept that boring old UI, they would’ve got complaints on complaints, the new UI is laid out nicely but I don’t like the design itself, still looks a bit too PS3, it needs a little spruce up, so it’s a bit more like, iOS, futuristic, I’m having a hard time describing it but I like that Apple OS X and iOS style

    • Daniel Lawson

      iOS hasn’t really changed much in the years it’s been around UI wise

  • Rickowned

    lol some people.
    “Love the new ui but navigation is meh”


  • Porcu Peth

    other than the folder thing the PS4 UI is definitely better. and the folders can just be added in at some point

  • BlackestNight63

    They need to add themes into the mix. That blue background is a bit boring now.

  • NeoTechni

    Can you let us pick? The XMB is vastly superior by default, simply by having folders as I have a long list of like 30 games
    Plus themes and wallpapers

    • Kingdom17

      I actually like having all the games out of folders, but they are still under the games section so its separated from everything else unlike the PS4 UI.

      • NeoTechni

        I have too many games already to have one randomly rearranging huge list.
        I want organization. And no ones forcing folders on you.

        • Kingdom17


  • Cassive

    Imagine they really wanted to make it all about the games and didn’t even include a UI, like PS1 and PS2

  • megablast16

    I wasn’t sure at first but I’ve grown to like the PS4 UI, I’d still like games to have their own section though and not plonked among all the other apps. Actually I don’t even like games being called apps.

  • SunnyRivers

    It is better to have something and not need it then to need it and not have it. Allow all Apps and features Sony. For those who don’t want that, as long as it does not interfere with how Great the Games are then then disregard them. Simple as that.

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