PlayStation 4’s new beta software reduces clutter, improves multitasking

August 30, 2016

The beta for PlayStation 4’s 4.00 operating system
arrives tomorrow for those enrolled, and Sony wants to give everyone a preview of what it brings to the table. The most noteworthy features are improved library organization, as well as UI tweaks that mean the Share and Quick Menus don’t drop you out of the gaming action.

Folders are new in PS4 v 4.00, letting you group together content both in your library and on the launcher bar. This should make for a much better, cleaner experience for players who take the time to sort their stuff, since right now, it’s sometimes hard to find what you’re looking for, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.

Library content is now also easier to navigate, thanks to the addition of a Purchased Content tab, which gives you a look at everything you’ve ever bought with your PlayStation ID. The main library tab now only shows stuff you currently have downloaded to your PS4, which is hugely helpful for players with lots of content. Added sort options now also let you rank items by the date you purchased, and by their current install status, and you can now search with keywords.

As mentioned, there are also UI tweaks, including changes to the overall look and feel of system elements like icons and notifications. The Quick Menu and the Share Menus also now overlay on just a portion of the display, meaning you don’t actually have to jump out of your game to access them (they currently take over the UI entirely).

I’ve been using my PS4 a lot after a lengthy absence thanks to the launch of No Man’s Sky, and I can see how all of these changes would be useful. They all make the PS4 more like an actual computer, and less like a console from the early era of modern computing, which is what PlayStation’s UX has always felt like to me.

The Beta rolls out to testers tomorrow, and people who can get it will be told how via email. The rest of us will have to wait a while for access, but it sounds like it’ll be worth the wait.

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