Okay, Sony, PS5 Really Needs Folders Now That PlayStation Plus Has Dramatically Expanded

My PlayStation 5 is a mess, and I bet yours is too. The longstanding lack of organization in the user interface 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 taking up space on your home screen, with virtually nonexistent sorting options to manage them. At this point, there’s no putting it off anymore. The PS5 needs folders.

The PlayStation 5 interface has never exactly been elegant, subscribing to the school of UI design that shows you the 10 Most Recent Things and then dumps everything else into a More Stuff compartment. So it was a mild annoyance for anyone fastidious enough to care about organization, but it never felt strictly necessary until now.

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Now Playing: Introducing The All-New PlayStation Plus | PS5 & PS4 Games

Take the PlayStation Plus Extra tier, which entitles you to the Game Catalog library of hundreds of games. Even having only upgraded for the kitty cat with a backpack game, I found plenty of other games that piqued my interest, at least to download and try out. But each one pushed my other games over one slot and into the gutter, out of sight and out of mind. Those ten spots on the Home page quickly became prime real estate, precious commodities that are worth their weight in gold.

The Premium tier is even more of a hassle. That level grants you access to the PlayStation Classics catalog, a vast library of older games, including ones from the PS1 and PSP era. But those early games are also remarkably tiny, which means you can fit many more of them on your PS5. The glut just gets worse and worse, and there’s no effective way to sort them.

Sony has made some moves to help the problem, including a “Keep in Home” toggle that you can turn on for any individual game, up to five games in total. Even then, this feature seems half-baked. New downloads and playing other games still push your pinned icons down a slot. This means that even the games you have specifically chosen to be your special, always-accessible favorites will slowly drift toward the back of the line. This feature keeps those games out of the gutter, but they aren’t kept in a convenient spot either.

Nintendo Switch faced a similar problem with its own classics libraries. We’ve been very vocal 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 absolutely right was to sort its classics libraries in a way that’s simple and easy to understand. 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 within their own bespoke applications, with the full libraries sorted under them. It’s not as versatile or handy as the ability to make your own folders, but it at least keeps the 100+ NES and SNES games from clogging up the home screen.

Similarly, at minimum, sorting PS1, PSP, and PS2 classics into their own dedicated folders would prevent some of the home-bloat. Even better, though, would be the ability to create our own folders and sort them however we’d like. Instead of being locked into a few dedicated folders for particular Classics titles, we could create a folder for live and multiplayer games, another for our queue of single-player campaigns we want to finish, another for those New Game Plus versions we plan to get back to someday. Or we could organize them by genre or vibes or any number of other things.

We know that Sony knows how to make folders. The PS4 and PS5 interfaces are just stripped-down versions of the PS3’s XrossMediaBar. By default that interface organized its icons into different types of media–games, videos, audio, and so on. Within those categories, though, you could create individual folders. Even the Vita, with its bizarre bubble UI, let you create folder bubbles. The PS4 and PS5 row-interface is a step back by comparison, removing the ability to organize your games or media as you’d like.

None of this was unanticipated. The system has needed folders from the start, for the sake of simplicity and customization. With the new Plus tier levels, though, that need is becoming a critical absence, making the system harder to use and discouraging players from taking advantage of all that the new tiers have to offer.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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