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This leaked PS5 feature could change the way you play games

Published Jul 28th, 2020 5:05PM EDT
PS5 Software
Image: Sony

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  • The PS5 price and release date aren’t the only secrets left. Sony hasn’t unveiled the operating system, user interface, or new software features for the console.
  • A now-deleted article briefly listed one of the new PS5 features that hasn’t been announced.
  • ”Activities” will act as a direct link to in-game events that will get players right into the action from the main screen of the console without having to start the game and load up a specific mode or mission.

The PlayStation 5 has technically been unveiled, but Sony didn’t quite reveal all of its secrets. Not only are the price and release date still a mystery, but the features of the console are unknown as well. We still haven’t seen the new PlayStation operating system, but a significant software feature of the PS5 has leaked ahead of time. It’s called “Activities,” and it lets players jump into games at a specific moment without having to boot the game up first.

The feature was discussed in an article about the upcoming racing game WRC 9 on the Spanish blog Game Reactor, where the interviewee accidentally spoiled Activities. The post was quickly deleted, and there’s no trace of it at the time of writing. But the internet doesn’t forget, and the article was referenced on Reddit and Twitter.

The article is mostly about the upcoming World Rally Championship game, but the Activities feature is referenced in a paragraph as “an instant deep-link to specific races directly from the console’s menu.”

This functionality could work similarly in other games, allowing players to jump to the desired content instantly. PS5 lead designer Mark Cerny hinted at the Activities feature during an interview with Wired that detailed some of the features of the console. Sony revealed at the time that the PS5 would let gamers install specific parts of the game first in order to play the part of the game they want to play as quickly as possible (emphasis ours):

Regardless of what parts of a game you choose to install and play, you’ll be able to stay abreast of it via a completely revamped user interface. The PS4’s bare-bones home screen at times feels frozen in amber; you can see what your friends have recently done or even what game title they might be playing at the moment, but without launching an individual title there’s no way to tell what single-player missions you could do or what multiplayer matches you can join. The PS5 will change that. “Even though it will be fairly fast to boot games, we don’t want the player to have to boot the game, see what’s up, boot the game, see what’s up,” Cerny says. “Multiplayer game servers will provide the console with the set of joinable activities in real time. Single-player games will provide information like what missions you could do and what rewards you might receive for completing them — and all of those choices will be visible in the UI. As a player you just jump right into whatever you like.”

Cerny did mention activities as events that are “joinable in real-time” and told Wired that all of these shortcuts will be visible in the UI. But without any news about the PS5 OS and user interface, we had forgotten about this. The new Game Reactor report brings the feature back to the forefront and gives it an official name.

If I were to speculate, I’d say that Activities could tie into the rumored PlayStation assistant as well, and a mobile companion app could tell PS5 owners when to join a specific gaming session with their friends, whether it’s a multiplayer event or some sort of single-player mission. You can read an archived version of the WRC 9 article here.

With July almost over, we’d expect Sony to showcase the PS5 OS, user interface, and software features soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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