My PlayStation 5 is a mess, and I bet yours is too. The long-standing lack of organization in the UI has been suddenly and dramatically exacerbated by the arrival of the new PlayStation Plus Tiers, which offer hundreds of games at your fingertips. This means many more icons take up space on your home screen, with virtually non-existent sorting options to manage them. At this point, there is no more postponing. The PS5 needs folders.
The PlayStation 5 interface has never been exactly sleek, subscribing to the UI design school that shows you the 10 newest things and then dumps everything else into a More Stuff bucket. So it was a slight annoyance for anyone picky enough to care about organization, but it had never been strictly necessary until now.
Grab the PlayStation Plus Extra tier, which entitles you to the Game Catalog library of hundreds of games. Even having only upgraded for kitty cat with a backpack game, I found plenty of other games that piqued my interest, at least to download and try. But each pushed my other games over a slot and into the gutter, out of sight and out of mind. These ten spots on the homepage have quickly become prime real estate, valuable commodities that are worth their weight in gold.
The Premium level is even more complicated. This tier gives you access to the PlayStation Classics catalog, an extensive library of older games, including those from the PS1 and PSP era. But those early games are also remarkably small, meaning you can fit a lot more of them on your PS5. The glut is only getting worse and there is no effective way to sort them out.
Sony has taken steps to address the issue, including a “Keep in Home” toggle that you can enable for any individual game, up to five games in total. Even then, this feature feels half-baked. New downloads and playing other games always push your pinned icons into a slot. This means that even the games you’ve specifically chosen to be your special, always-accessible favorites will slowly drift down the line. This feature keeps those games out of the gutter, but they also aren’t kept in a convenient place.
Nintendo Switch ran into a similar problem with its own Classics libraries. We’ve made it very clear that the Switch needs folders, and Nintendo completely missed the mark when it introduced an ostensibly folder-like feature earlier this year. But one thing Nintendo did perfectly was to sort out its classic libraries in a simple and easy-to-understand way. The NES and Super NES libraries included in the Switch Online service, and now the Genesis and N64 libraries included in the expansion pack, are contained in their own bespoke apps, with the complete libraries sorted below them. It’s not as versatile or convenient as the ability to create your own folders, but it does at least keep the 100+ NES and SNES games from cluttering up the home screen.
Likewise, at a minimum, sorting the classic PS1, PSP, and PS2 into their own dedicated folders would prevent some of the bloat at home. Even better, however, would be the ability to create our own folders and sort them as we wish. Instead of being locked into a few folders dedicated to particular Classics titles, we could create a folder for live and multiplayer games, another for our queue of single-player campaigns we want to complete, another for New Game Plus versions that we plan to get back to someday. Or we could organize them by genre or mood or a number of other things.
We know that Sony knows how to create folders. The PS4 and PS5 interfaces are just lite versions of the PS3’s XrossMediaBar. By default, this interface has organized its icons into different media types: games, videos, audio, etc. Within these categories, however, you can create individual folders. Even the Vita, with its weird bubble UI, lets you bubble up folders. The PS4 and PS5 row interface is a step backwards by comparison, removing the ability to arrange your games or media however you want.
None of this was unexpected. The system needed folders from the start, for simplicity and customization. With the new Plus tier tiers, however, that need becomes a critical absence, making the system harder to use and discouraging players from taking advantage of everything the new tiers have to offer.
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