October 11, 2012
In an effort to update its often-criticized PlayStation Network GUI design, Sony recently revealed planned improvements for the service at a press event in England. With a complete overhaul to include music, video and greatly enhanced navigation, the new design appears to be a significant improvement over the old system, though it may look a bit familiar to Xbox 360 users.
According to Eurogamer, the new store looks particularly clean and elegant, with easier-to-read text, larger images reminiscent of the Modern UI look that Microsoft has recently implemented on the Xbox and a completely overhauled search feature. These changes not only bring the design a much-needed breath of fresh air, but solve many issues users had in the past with the PlayStation Network.
The overhauled search feature may be the most important change Sony has implemented. According to the news source, the old search functioned poorly, with little to no sorting features and the inability to intelligently recognize spelling errors in search parameters. The update corrects these issues, providing users with type of game, price, release date and play type, as well as intuitive searching that will bring up games based on common abbreviations.
With the improved graphical user interface design, the PlayStation Network may be taking a page from the Xbox 360's book, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. When Microsoft updated the Xbox dashboard to the Modern UI style, it greatly improved the functionality and navigation and went a long way to focus on the games that users play, and not the product. According to Elliott Dumville, Sony's game store development manager, Sony had a similar idea in mind.
"Everyone is trying to solve the same kind of problems, but each ecosystem is different," Dumville told the news source. "We have a sense of PlayStation values that we want to be true to, and we need to deliver on that as well as solving interface issues."
While the update focuses on the PlayStation Network retail platform, these enhancements could spread to other parts of the system in the near future. The update is being released October 23 for North American PlayStation 3 owners and October 17 in Europe.