The PS5’s built-in Activities feature can be accessed with a push of a button, giving players actionable steps towards a platinum trophy in every game.
But according to a new VICE report, a leaked document from 2019 suggests the Activities feature gave players an official guide without needing to watch a walkthrough and collect trends on popular games. The information would then be used to track how players spent their time online. But Sony discovered offline single player games were making the rounds for players. Factors from finding free time to pausing a game and finding help were just a few traits that factored into the Activities UI. Players were also cited to have forgotten their missions when they booted up a game again or hesitated to share a game’s achievements without spoilers.
Much of these details were also collected in over 3,000 surveys. Specific traits including work-life balance or taking a break from multiplayer modes also suggested single player modes were played at a much slower pace. For players, it meant investing more time towards completing a particular quest and squeezing in another mission across the day. Some longer, tedious fetch quests could be measured using the PS5 Activity feature and let players decide if the achievement was worth chasing. Games including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales for instance already use the Activity menu to prioritize easier to more complicated trophies on the road for a full 100% platinum completion.
This created a higher interest for players to dive back into lengthier single player experiences, particularly open world games which offered a slew of side quests and other tedious steps. The study also found some players were overwhelmed by a variety of trophies, while the Activity feature could give players a direction of where to start. Activities could start with a nearby side quest or highly accomplishable task before moving up to lengthier quests which can be picked up in later sessions.
In designing the Activity menu’s usefulness, Sony continued to discuss their “Universal Data System” which would point players to trophy-based quests depending on when or where they progressed in a game. The Activity feature could even tell when a game is completed and reorganize itself for players via. Chapter Select. This was described as “a unit of gameplay inherent to the game structure.” Its most interesting example came from new PS5 owners 100-percenting Astro’s Playroom, which served as a tutorial and one of the first games to use the new Activity app. Naturally, players could instantly access a leaderboard and global record for timed courses.
Sony’s leaked report sheds more light into their next generation console’s UI. Its native features including Activities spot popular game modes, time invested in a mission and even scores to determine steps towards Platinum for games.