Sony have revealed the PS5 controller the DualSense and it has been a big surprise. There was an expectation that it would receive an incremental update to the DualShock 4 when in fact it has a brand-new form factor and a surprising colour scheme.
Out of nowhere on the PlayStation Blog Sony revealed the full details of the new DualSense controller it was a post by Hideaki Nishino the senior vice president for platform planning and management. Sony said is that it has begun sending out versions of this controller to developers and so this post was, most likely, a way to ensure it controls the information to the public so that it wasn’t leaked by an excited developer before the official reveal.
Let us look at the DualSense’s key features. The biggest change is the shape it's a radical shift from the DualShocks which all share a common ancestry. If you look at the very first one that came with the PS1 all the way to the DualShock 4 on the PS4 they have an angular shape with somewhat pointy grips for the handles and circles surrounding the thumbsticks that extend out of the main body of the controller.
So with the DualSense what you can see immediately is that it is more curved it has a more all-in-one design and it's very similar in some ways to the Xbox One and other controllers and it's a dramatic departure to do something so different from what has come before. Of course there are comments that Sony is emulating the design of the Xbox One controller but what it is obviously going for is something that's going to have improved ergonomics, more comfortable to hold and perhaps this less angular more curved way is naturally a better fit for the hand.
Additionally the left and the right thumbsticks they're in exactly the same place and there was a push by some people to have the offsets stick design that the Microsoft has. Whilst some gamers regard the Xbox One controller as more comfortable, it is not necessarily the case that it's the thumbsticks that make it more comfortable, maybe it's just a more ergonomic design. Sony said this at the launch of the PS4 that there is nothing more intrinsically more comfortable about having offset thumbsticks and so that's why they've retained their original thumbstick positioning.
What is the most immediately obvious difference is the coloir now unlike previous DualShock controllers which have been all black. This sports a two-tone design so if you have a look at the grips the top half it's all white and the buttons in the thumb sticks they're black so immediately you see that striking difference there. On top of that the buttons whereas previously the shape buttons they all had the colours of the shape the square, the triangle, the circle, the cross! They all normally have the PlayStation colours with them and now here they are all clear and you have this translucent plastic and it has been compared to the buttons on the PS Vita and for this particular controller you
can understand why they've done it because those colours they would have stood out and it would not have been a good match.
I know some people feel that perhaps with QTEs it might make it more difficult but that shouldn't really be a problem once you become familiar with a game. So I think the change with
the colour being the first standard controller to come in the box with a different colour scheme this is why there has been a bit of pushback from some of the fandom and I can understand why. A number of creative people making these designs or they've taken that DualSense controller and they've customised it with their own colour schemes and they've created a whole series of variants, some of which are quite beautiful.
Some of the other main differences with the DualSense compared to the DS4 are the L1 and R1 buttons are taller so there's more to touch. The L1 and L2 buttons and the R1 and R2 buttons now don't have a plastic barrier between them they run on straight to each other and so that should make it easier to move your fingers when going from one to the other. Additionally the thumbsticks have a textured grip on the DualShock for its smoother and the touchpad is a different shape on the DS4 it's more rectangular with this it has more of a curved shape on the sides.
The Share/Create and Options buttons now have icons on them and not text and
there's a reason for that I'll come back to later... The PlayStation button previously had circular button with a PS logo printed on it and now it is actually the button is the PS logo.
Features under the hood which you can't see but they have been mentioned previously in the Wired article; the first one is the haptic feedback which gives a profound sense of rumble it's a really advanced type so if you are driving in a car racing game you will be able to feel the difference from going from the track to the side of the track and you'll actually be able to feel that coming through in the controllers.
Additionally, there are the adaptive triggers in the L2 and R2 buttons now these are comparable to those in the Xbox One controller and that you can feel more resistance or tension in the buttons and also for example if you are holding a bow and arrow and if you pull the bow you can feel that sense of tension.
There is a big change with the lightbar, it was introduced with the DualShock 4 and was criticised because it was a draw on the on the battery power it would make the controller run out of power more quickly then it would otherwise without. The lightbar was at the back of the DS4 it's now been moved to the side of the touchpad. One complaint when using it was if you're playing in a dark room you could see the light reflecting off the TV and that could be distracting now it's been moved from the back and it is simply a line on either side of the touchpad and in this way the player can actually see the colours of the light bar but it may have repercussions with PSVR. This is because the lightbar was used with some PSVR games to track the position of the DualShock 4 and without it it will not be able to do that. Sony have gone on record to say that PSVR is compatible with a PS5 so the removal of the lightbar from the back signify something that if and when PSVR 2 is released then definitely Sony will be releasing its own bespoke VR controller for it that perhaps has the grip detection features available with PC VR.
The other new feature that it will have is a built-in microphone array a set of microphones that will be a built-in thatwill enable you to voice chat directly through the controller without needing a separate external headset and this can be really beneficial because I don't know if you've played multiplayer games online and you've been in a lobby and there hasn't really been anybody speaking and that makes it feel a bit vacant a bit empty but with a microphone wherever everybody is guaranteed a microphone it means that there will be more lively conversations or conversations and that can all be done through the microphone.
What Sony have gone on to say in the article is that the ideal way of voice chat is definitely with a separate bespoke microphone and it will have voice canceling technology so if you are in a room and you have got a noisy background somebody in the background your mum or your wife shouting at you to come and have your dinner then the voice canceling in the in the controller should hopefully soften their volume so that anybody listening will not have to endure all that. And the other feature that it could be used with is if you recall there has previously being a patent for AI some sort of AI interface with the PS5 some sort of artificial intelligence control maybe it is simply going to be something like the use of Alexa who knows but if there is that technology built into the PS5 then this microphone will give you that easy access straight through the controller additionally, there is a headphone jack built-in.
The Share button has morphed to become the Create button, or perhaps it's called the Share & Create button. What Nishino said about that new Share button is: "you'll notice there is no longer a Share button as we had with DualShock 4 don't worry it's not going away in fact we built upon the success of our industry first Share button to bring you a new Create button feature we've created where once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world or just to enjoy for themselves we'll have more details on this feature as we get closer to launch.”
So what this extra feature is is not clear it may be related to the Game Slice patent that was revealed previously and this depicted a way for people to make mini level segments from the games they're playing so that they could share it with their friends to play now it sounds like a cool feature but Sony went to all this trouble to innovate and create a brand new Share button which they launched with the DualShock 4 and it became so successful that even the competition understood the importance of it and imitated it both Nintendo and now Microsoft who are now introducing the Share button with the Series X. So it seems a bit silly to rebrand it completely, so hopefully hopefully they stick to the Share button name and they just say that it allows you to create as well.
The DualSense uses a rechargeable battery just like the DualShock 3 & 4 however now it uses the more standard USB-C charge cable that you get with most Android phones.
At the end of the blog post PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said: "DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5. The new controller along with the many innovative features in PS5 will be transformative for games continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play now and in the future".
I'm actually really interested to hear this and find out what exactly it means. Microsoft have said first-party games for the Xbox Series X will be compatible with Xbox One so they are taking a more iterative approach between the two generations. Sony has repeatedly said that it believes in console generations. So what does this mean? In practical terms Sony introduced the Share button and this was definitely an innovative feature that became a part of mainstream gaming introducing streaming to everybody so hopefully what Ryan is referencing is not something gimmicky but a feature that is used and will be retain for the PS6 generation - we will find out what that means exactly.
Overall I'd say that the DualSense reveal has been a big win for Sony coming off the back of the Deep Dive this has been a lot more well-received. There's been a lot of coverage and the fact that it is so different, if you look at the Series X controller which was essentially a refined version of the Xbox One controller this is a surprise! and it looks good, it looks different, it looks like it could actually be improving the whole gameplay experience and the comfort levels. To have something new that makes this whole look forward to the next generation that much more exciting and I'm definitely looking forward to what Sony's going to reveal next for the PlayStation 5!
The DualSense controller for PlayStation 5