Why Sony’s New Handheld Has A New Way Of Interacting With You

Why Sony’s New Handheld Has A New Way Of Interacting With You

As we saw when the product was first unveiled, Sony’s upcoming NGP won’t be using the company’s trademark “XMB” user interface. It’ll be using something new. Why is that, Sony?

According to Sony Computer Entertainment worldwide studios boss Shuhei Yoshida, it’s partly because of “social networking”.

“[A]fundamental point was our desire to make this device very social network orientated: there are lots of fun games on Facebook, for example”, he tells Edge magazine.

“We wanted to integrate the social networking factor, the potential for friends to join in, interact at any moment. We wanted the entire screen to be part of that experience.”

Right. The other reason, of course, is because the NGP, unlike Sony’s last two gaming devices, has a touch-screen, meaning the XMB – which was designed to make using a menu with a controller simple – surplus to requirements.

While this new UI is likely easier to use, it also looks like a hat full of assholes compared to the sleek, minimal XMB. Hopefully by the time the NGP launches Sony will have figured out a way to marry touch-screen functionality with something that’s at least a little easier on the eyes.

Sony NGP: XMB dropped for ‘social networking factor’ [Edge Magazine, via CVG]


  • So, wait… That WASN’T just a random image thrown on there by some cretin who spent 5 minutes in photoshop? One of the great things about Sony has always been their sense of design. Too bad.

    If the internet had remained (demographically) as it was, populated mostly by greasy nerds and people playing UT99, shit would be much better in general.

    • Not UI design though. XMB looks clean but have you tried using it for a media center? Boderline unusable if your list has more than about 20 items or a folder hierarchy more than 2 deep.

      • no reason to think this will be any different.

        most likely it will keep the same folder hierachy. Since this is a Social Networking change not an improved media centre change.

        And while i’ve never run into this issue on the PSP on the PS3 i really want something like XBMC on it. because it makes everything so much nicer especially the ability to hide it once it’s watched.

  • how about squares? squares because the screen is orthogonal. squares full of colors slightly separated by a thin black line in a grid is a tried and true formula in web design and cell phone interfaces.

    i agree, what were they thinking?

  • It does indeed look like a hat full of assholes. I was a fan of the XMB. It was functional, easy to remember clean. This… this looks like my floor when I get home from work and just dump clothes everywhere and then I can never find anything and then I have to do a giant clean up and I still cannot find anything and I’m running late for work and then I buckle and wind up just having to buy more socks at target in bare feet on the way to work because no matter how hard I look they are never where I left them and when I put them on my feet are filthy from walking around in a shopping center and even though no one else can see my feet or the filth on them I can feel it seeping into new socks which were bought with the money earned from working purely for work creating a nonstop financial loop of buying socks. And I blame UIs like this.

  • Not too fond of the hex grid layout or colour scheme, but the large targets make a lot more sense for a touch interface.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they change the styling, and have only been working on the interaction design up to this point.

  • I also have a sneaking suspicion that the ngp is actually running some form of android. Thats what I thought when I first saw the interface, plus the fact the sony is working with android on their new xperia phone. And the fact that basically they will be making all [well, most likely “select” models which they see fit] android phones capable of running their new playstation software for android.

    • I thought (hoped?) that too when I first saw it, then quickly resolved that it would never happen due to the potential for piracy/modification on an Android system (source code is freely available, people know how it works already) – then they said the new Xperia would use a Playstation Android app.

      …still, some silly variation could be possible.

  • I think if they had made the xmb as quick & rsponsive to scroll through as the winphone7 interface it would have worked great

  • “[A] fundamental point was our desire to make this device very social network orientated:”

    i’m guessing this means they’re bringing playstation home to the PSP

  • Always liked the XMB.
    This better not be the final design, because it’s dreadful. At least throw away the bubbles and just make them like the Android or iOS app images. Just not this.

  • Well the XMB looked pretty but was the absolute worst when it came to usability.
    If you just wanted to press ‘play game’ then it was easy and getting to PSN wasn’t so bad, anything beyond that was a giant mess of back and forth, sometimes right and x do the same thing, sometimes you can only use one or the other to proceed, sometimes right will pick a new category instead of going into what you have highlighted (same with O/left).
    To set up a bluetooth headset you had to go into 3 different menus, 2 under accesories, 1 under sound settings, to set up a music playlist was an absolute joke.

    I guess what I’m saying is if this this is usable it’s not so bad, I’d rather usable than pretty.

    Of course this is mostly irrelevant as I will likely never buy a sony handheld.

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