Dear Sony, Here’s Our PlayStation 5 Wishlist

Dear Sony, Here’s Our PlayStation 5 Wishlist
Photo: Sony

The PlayStation 5 is officially out. It’s a tremendous boon for progress, a near-universal step above its predecessor, the PlayStation 4 (well, if you can look past the performance issues of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate). Still, the new user interface could use some improvements. Seeing as it’s the season for making wishlists, we at Kotaku thought to run down all the potential features the PS5 could benefit from seeing implemented.

Will the following list sound like a bunch of complaints about the world’s most minor inconveniences? Probably. But if new consoles are all about improvements over their predecessors in all regards — including, yes, those marginal quality-of-life features — the PS5 falls short in a few areas. Here’s what we’d love to see added at some point in the coming months and years:

A Game Library In Which You Can Access All Functions For All Games

Clicking the Options button while highlighting a game’s icon on the main screen will pull up a list of functions. (Depending on whether or not you’re accessing a PS4 or PS5 game, you’ll get a different list, a mild irritant we’ll get to in a bit.) If you click Options while highlighting that very same game in the game library, you’ll get a shorter list. Notably, the “check for update” function is missing from icons in the library view.

This may sound like a non-issue, but consider the PS5’s main screen. At the moment, the bar of games is limited to eight icons, ordered by those you most recently booted up. In other words, if you want to check, say, The Division 2 for an update, but it’s the ninth most recent game you’ve played, you’ll have to boot up the game — which will add its icon to your home screen — just to check it.

Turning automatic downloads on is an effective workaround for this very specific problem. But why inconvenience users with such an arbitrary distinction? There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to access any and all useful functions for a given game no matter where you access the options, whether that’s in the library or the main screen.

A Customisable Icon Bar

While we’re at it, we’d love to be able to personalise the home screen’s icon bar. Let us keep 10, 12, 15, or, what the hell, why not, 150 games on there! The PS4 allowed you to extend the length of that main icon bar. It’d be awesome if the PS5 could, too.

An Easier Media Gallery Shortcut

If the Media Gallery is one of those eight most recent “games” you’ve opened, it’ll show up on your home screen. If not, you have to go digging. (It’s in your game library, at the bottom of your installed list.) Sure, there are various shortcuts for accessing the Media Gallery, including one in which you tap the PS button and click on any recent screenshots that pop up. It’d still be nice to stick the Media Gallery to the home screen permanently.


Writes Kotaku’s Ethan Gach: “Folders are great. They keep things organised, help you find what you want quickly, and give you a greater sense of customizability and control. I’ve been shuffling virtual folders since my family first got a PC back in 1996. Decades later it beggars belief that Sony’s “next-gen” gaming computer doesn’t have them. The PS4 didn’t launch with folders either, but once they arrived nearly three years later they became a wonderful tool for simplifying the console’s home screen. Media streaming apps in one, JRPGs in another, and of course the all important “backlog” folder for all of those games you swear you’ll one day get around to finishing. I’ve forgotten 90% of the games I have on PS4, and folders are the only thing that make navigating the library section manageable. I’m not sure why that slate was wiped clean on PS5, but I hope it gets them faster than the PS4 did.”

Custom Backgrounds And Themes

Even the Explore icon comes with a splash image of a popular game. (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku) Even the Explore icon comes with a splash image of a popular game. (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku)

Right now, the PS5 doesn’t support custom backgrounds. As things currently stand, if you hover over a general icon — say, the game library — you’ll see the type of ethereal, glittery background you’d find in an Apple Store. Hover over any given game, and you’ll get a splash image for that game, complete with some relevant theme music. The music is, we’ll admit, a lovely touch. But it’s worth trading for the ability to customise backgrounds, which allowed for a whole lot of personalisation in the PS4 era. RIP to the transcendent Firewatch theme. For now.

Patch Notes

Kotaku’s Zack Zweizen: “A weird favourite feature found on the PS4 was every game having easy-to-access patch notes and logs of what updates each game had received. This wasn’t widely celebrated by Sony, but it was handy and a feature that the Xbox One never got. It wasn’t always useful, with some publishers just posting a URL to the most recent patch notes for a game. But often it could be a quick and easy way to see, right on your console, what had changed in a game after installing an update. Some games, like GTA Online, even cataloged past updates, letting you scroll through and see a nice summarized history of each previous patch.

“All that is gone on the PS5. Well, mostly gone. PS4 games still support the feature, I assume for legacy compatibility reasons, but no PS5 games support it. Not even PS5 versions of PS4 games. With more games going on for years, with numerous updates every few months, the patch notes feature has become more useful. But it’s now gone on PS5 and that stinks. And the fact PS4 games still have these notes on PS5 is annoying itself, as it seems we are losing this feature, even though it is very possible to implement on the new console.”

Clear, Accurate Download Sizes

The PS5 isn’t terribly transparent about the download sizes for games in your library. For one thing, if you click “download” on a game in your library, the system will just start downloading it, with no obvious indication of how large the download is. To see that, you have to click on the icon, click on the three-little-dot button next to “download,” and click on “see product.” Three clicks! Just to see how much space it’ll take up.

The amount of screens you have to click through to find this info... (Fuchsia circle ours.) (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku) The amount of screens you have to click through to find this info… (Fuchsia circle ours.) (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku)

Beyond that, the PS5 is apparently saddled with the same — or a similar — download issue that plagued the PS4. Say you go to download a 40GB game (Doom Eternal, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, pick one — all games are around 40GB these days, it’s the rule). You might need more than 40GB of available free space; otherwise, the system won’t commence the download, and will tell you to clear up some more space — usually beyond the file size on the tin. (On that note, as you download more games, you might notice the “other” category in your Storage menu slowly balloon. Kotaku has asked Sony to clarify what occupies this “other” category.”)

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At the end of the day, all we ask is for the system to quickly, clearly, and accurately tell us up front how much free space we actually need to download the games we want to play.

A More Expedient Method For Powering Down

Turning off the PS5 isn’t a pain, per se. It’s just not as easy as turning off a PS4. When you hold down the PS button — as years of muscle memory may have you do — nothing will happen. To turn off your system, or put it into rest mode, you have to simply press the PS button, which will pull up the control centre, and then tab your way over to the power switch. How convenient would it be to be able to access that by just holding down the PS button?

The Ability To Go Straight To Home

Hitting the PS button on the PS4 would take you directly to your home screen. Hitting it on PS5 will not. Instead, that button pulls up the control centre, a long string of icons that represent various system-level functions. Yes, one of those functions takes you to the home screen, but to even get to the icon bar, you have to flick the thumbstick down; above the control centre, you’ll see a series of cards that may include news about a recently played game or hints about a currently open game.

In other words, there’s no one-button shortcut that takes you directly to the home menu. That’d be no issue at all were there an easy way to use the Switcher — another function in the control centre — to tab between a decent crop of games. At the moment, there isn’t. Speaking of…

An Expanded Switcher List

In our testing, we’ve found that the Switcher function only lists two or three games at once, depending on whether or not you currently have a game running. It’ll further list a media app or two, too. In the event a one-click pathway to the home screen can’t exist, an expanded Switcher — one that shows maybe five or six icons, or even allows you to scroll through a lengthier list — would be terrific.

Quick Resume, Or Something Like It

Quick Resume is one of the major features Microsoft touted for the Xbox Series X and S. The pitch: It allows your console to keep several games suspended at once, so you can resume (heh) each one wherever you left off. The reality: It’s a fickle feature. There’s also the added issue wherein you never know which games are currently Quick Resumed; you can’t summon a menu to tell you, so sometimes games will close without warning.

The PS5’s Switcher function kind of acts like the menu we’d love to see on the Xbox Series X or S. Of course, the PS5 doesn’t support Quick Resume whatsoever; you can only have one game open at any time. If only these two powerhouses could team up on this one…

Smart Delivery, Or Something Like It

Plenty of games are coming out on both the PS4 and PS5. (See: Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Watch Dogs: Legion, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and some other games that don’t have colons in the title.) The way the PS5 is set up, it’s all too easy to accidentally play the PS4 version of a game. In some instances, as with the new Call of Duty, the PS4 version may even install by default. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up playing the last-gen version, missing out on all the bells and whistles and ray-traced Reagan wrinkles.

In most cases, a sharp eye can pick up on the difference between the PS4 and the PS5 version. (On the main screen, you’ll see “PS4” written next to the title.) The point is that you shouldn’t need a sharp eye. For games that support free cross-gen upgrades, the system should automatically download the most cutting-edge version of those games, as the new Xbox consoles do with Smart Delivery.

Consistently Transferrable Trophies

In Ghostrunner, I genuinely haven't earned any Trophies. Borderlands 3, on the other hand... (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku) In Ghostrunner, I genuinely haven’t earned any Trophies. Borderlands 3, on the other hand… (Screenshot: Sony / Kotaku)

For the time being, Trophies don’t seem to split between generations. Let’s suppose you earned two gold, five silver, and 30 bronze Trophies in Borderlands 3 on PS4. Then you got your hands on a PS5 and downloaded the shinier, smoother PS5 version of Borderlands 3. Your Trophies won’t transfer between versions. You’ll have to start from scratch. They’re apparently not retroactive, either. For instance, Borderlands 3 has a Trophy — albeit a bronze one — that requires you to only reach level 2. When loading up the PS5 game with a level 53 Gunner, that achievement remained frustratingly locked (alongside all the rest).

We’ve found the same issue with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The way it stands, if you want to pick up a PS5 game where you left off on PS4, you’ll have to give up or restart your Trophy progress. (On the flip side, you could, in theory, reap two platinums off one game. On second thought, maybe we keep this one the way it is.)

P.T., But Playable

Hey, it’s possible!

More on the PS5:

PlayStation 5: The Kotaku Review

I’m sitting at my desk, staring at the PlayStation 5 looming over my media stand — “entertainment centre” is a little too grandiose for the small piece of Target furniture that holds all my gaming stuff — and wondering how the hell I’m going to review this thing. How would my boss, whose various PlayStation 4 reviews I’ve skimmed several times so as to glean some insight into what I should cover, review this thing? How can anyone, at this very moment in time, review this thing?

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Two Weeks With My PS5

I’ve had a PS5 for a couple of weeks and my feelings about it keep changing.

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How To Move Your PS4 Stuff To Your PS5

The PlayStation 5 promises the future, but that doesn’t mean you need to let go of the past. After all, we’re talking about seven years of hard-earned memories: beloved games, hard-earned save data, and sweet, sweet, Trophies. The bad news is that, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to move your screenshots and captured videos from PS4 to PS5. The good news is that moving pretty much everything else isn’t an uphill battle, not like it is for most intergenerational transfers. The process just requires some patience.

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  • Dropping the patch notes is a bummer – even if they were occasionally just a link to an external site, sometimes if they were reasonably detailed they’d reinvigorate my interest in a particular game, if I saw a change that interested me. Hope they come back.

  • Well, the chance to actually buy one would be high on my list. Big W pre-orders came and went within seconds (literally) today. They were available for less than one minute despite having not advertised a “go-live” time.

  • Storing PS5 games on an external drive?

    The weird issue where you need more space than the download size is going to get very annoying when you have to delete and re-download another game to do it!

    • XBox has archiving for current gen games so you can store them while you’re not playing them but think you will play them some time in the future. That seems pretty must-have for PS5.

  • VRR,
    HDR to be toggled off when not running a game (OLED owner burn in risk reduction – hey, Sony sells OLED’s, saving its own behind here),
    Remember last chosen Library option (A-Z please, I very rarely use last played).
    Ability to put the Library as the first rather than last icon
    Default to Installed rather than All for the Library (If I’m here, I probably want to play a game, not download it).
    An option to sort by PS2 games (why the hell is PS3 in the menu filters when you can’t play PS3 on PS5).
    I’m sure I’m missing a few things, but these are the first ones that come to mind.

  • How about the ability to back up PS5 game saves to USB? It’s baffling that that feature is available for PS4 games on PS5 but not PS5 games.

    Also game archiving for PS5 games seems pretty essential.

  • Even the new, redesigned PS Store in the app / website doesn’t show the download size of games. Some bizarre choices were made in this redesign.

  • Other the ability to transfer games to whatever drive I want, my two biggest issues… is the way the library handles ps4 and PS5 games on the same tile, especially on the home screen. If i have installed the PS5 version, dont keep prompting me to download the Ps4 (I havent worked out what makes the home tiles change their default version.A warning if I am about to open a game, when I already have one playing (also we need a visually clue to what game we ARE running, when I the home page.

    The other thing, is how long it takes to read trophies, in the new formation. You used to see a lot of the list and read most of the writing, all at once. Now you have to go into each tile just to see what you need to do.

  • I’d like a “I’m buying this game physically” option on the PS store, so when the game goes live at midnight or whatever, it downloads the required day one patch. Then when I get home from work, I pop the disc in and im good to go.

    • It baffles me that hasn’t been a feature for a very long time already.

      They all have SO much fucking control over game ownership, user identification via login, purchase verification, the list goes on.

      When such a service can actively close your game without warning if your internet connection drops out (Ubisoft are real good at this I’ve recently learned, those fucks) there’s basically no reason to not let anyone install the game before release or physical purchase… And just let their system do the checks IT ALWAYS DOES ANYWAY when trying to launch a game even if a disc is present or a digital purchase has been made.

      It’s basically no different to borrowing the game off a friend, or borrowing their login just to download it before you buy a physical copy. Hell, in my experience you only even need them to login to start the download… And after that pausing/resuming it can be controlled regardless of who’s logged in.

    • I’d like a “let me buy the downloadable version of the game instead of a physical disc from the store option”.

      Let JB sell me the downloadable version for the $79.95 they are selling the disc version, still cheaper than the PS store

  • Split audio when using mic headphones.
    On PS4 I could have chat come to my earpiece and keep system sounds through my home theatre.
    At the moment it directs all audio output to my earpiece the moment I plug it in, and I can’t seem to find the option to stop that…

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