The contest between consoles and gaming PC is waged on many fronts and one of the things that consoles always boast of, and something that Valve’s Steam Machine practically conceded, is being a dedicated gaming machine. You start it up and are immediately dumped into a gaming hub, no fussing with an operating system or dealing with notifications from this or that software. There are still a few more layers in between players and their games but the PlayStation 5 might be doing away with at least one such layer, dumping gamers right in the middle of their game.
When a user boots up a console, they’re first taken to the console’s home screen, an inescapable part of console gaming life since the market graduated from cartridges and discs. But even after selecting a game, players will first find themselves in the game’s own startup screen, from which they’ll have to navigate through options and information before finally jumping where they left off in the game.
The PS5 will short-circuit part of that process with a feature called “Activities”. When it was first mentioned last year, it was a mysterious functionality with little information. Now thanks to an accidentally published article, we at least have a clue what it all means.
Activities will apparently let developers deeplink to specific parts of the game. Just like deeplinking into specific sections of a website from Google Search results or a part of a mobile app from icon shortcuts, this would let players jump immediately into a section or part of the game, at least a part that the developer has intentionally exposed to Activities.
How this will work in practice is still part of the ongoing mystery, though the article mentions being able to select specific races from World Rally Championship (WRC 9) right from the PS5’s menu. Other possible scenarios include seeing activities players can join in a multi-player game or missions they can immediately jump into in a single-player campaign, hopefully without breaking the flow of the narrative.