The PS5 won't have this PS4 feature at launch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Just after the official look of the PS5 was revealed, Matt MacLaurin, vice president of UX design at Sony, stated that the PS5 would be “customizable in ways previous gens weren’t.”

He was presumably referring to the face plates, which we now know are removable, but in one respect it looks like the PS5 will actually be less customizable than the PS4. It doesn’t look like it’s keeping themes, and – at launch at least – every PS5 will have the same UI design.

As explained in the tweet above, that doesn’t mean you’re looking at a dull black screen. Rather, when you hover over a game, the splash screen of the title will fill the UI, so it could be worse.

There’s been no official explanation for the lack of themes, but it likely comes down to the change in UI where it simply wouldn’t fit in the same way, nice as it would be to see classic themes in 4K. While the PS5 interface will certainly look familiar to anybody who has spent the last seven years playing PS4 titles, there are enough differences to ensure that old themes wouldn’t make the journey across without substantial modifications.

Of course, just because there are no themes at launch doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Indeed, custom themes weren’t a thing for PS4 until the 2.0 update dropped in October 2014 – almost a full year after the console launched. 

It would be surprising if Sony didn’t have something up its sleeve further down the road, especially when paid themes are a nice little side earner for developers and publishers. Even free themes given away with PS Plus are a quality of life extra to make the subscription seem more worthwhile.

Still, it’s a bit disappointing that everyone will have the same home screen at launch. That’s especially true when the console itself is only available in white at the time of writing. And while an enterprising third party did come up with custom plates to rectify that, it has since been shut down by Sony.  

Hopefully that’s a sign that the company has its own first-party PS5 plates in the works. The mock up of a custom Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS5 is a license to print money if ever we saw one. 

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.