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PS4’s 4.0 firmware aims to fix the user interface

As the PlayStation 4’s third anniversary nears, the folks at Sony are hard at work developing a major new firmware release focused on cleaning up the user interface. Codenamed “Shingen,” this 4.0 update will begin closed beta testing in the near future. While we won’t get to see every nook and cranny just yet, the PlayStation team has given us a glimpse at the changes we can expect later this year.

Over at the PlayStation Blog, Sony’s John Koller outlined a handful of Shingen’s improvements. First off, he explains that the system’s main interface is getting a facelift. We’ll see new backgrounds, updated icons, and redesigned notifications. This isn’t the complete overhaul many of us have been hoping for, but we won’t turn our noses up at this so-called “fresh coat of paint.”

New Quick Menu

Next, Sony plans on revising the Quick Menu — the simplified interface that comes up when you press and hold the PS button. The Quick Menu will no longer completely obscure gameplay, and we’ll have easy access to our party, friends, groups, and communities. Even better, the menu is customizable, so you’ll only have to see the options that matter most to you.

Similarly, the Share menu will no longer take over your entire screen when you bring it up. In addition to the new look, it will now automatically default to your most recent social network. If you exclusively use Facebook or Twitter to distribute your media, the sharing process will be a little bit faster now. And since Twitter now supports videos up to 140 seconds long, the 10 second limit for that service on PS4 is no more.

On the trophy front, these little awards are becoming a lot more user friendly. Ever get frustrated by all of those hidden trophies? You can now choose to view the name and details of hidden trophies — even if you haven’t earned them yet. And if you’re offline when you view your collection, you’ll now be able to view everything without having to connect to PSN.

User profiles are getting some attention with this update as well. We’ll be allowed to add a custom background image — not entirely unlike the banners we saw years ago on the PlayStation Vita. Shingen also makes it easier to compare your trophy progress with friends, so the hyper-competitive among us will undoubtedly be thrilled.

Most importantly, the library navigation is getting a big update. Not only are folders and new sorting options on the table, but you’ll be able to browse through your installed games and apps — not just a giant list of everything attached to your account. Considering that the current library setup is one of our biggest pet peeves, we’re practically doing handstands over here.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a solid idea of when the public will benefit from all of these improvements. However, Koller promises that more features and a release date will be announced in the “coming weeks,” so hopefully our wait won’t be too severe, especially given the PS4 Neo could debut as early as September 7th.

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