Sony has taken the wraps off the controller that will be bundled with the upcoming PlayStation 5. Gone is the DualShock branding and we get to witness the birth of the DualSense series. While Sony says that it has built off the current generation, elsewhere in its blog post it asserts that the DualSense marks a "radical departure" from what went before.
The most significant changes to the next gen PlayStation controller design, in my view, are as follows:
- Adaptive triggers are being introduced into the L2 and R2 buttons of the DualSense controller. These add what you might call pressure sensitivity to the trigger mechanism. Sony gives an example of the possible use of adaptive triggers - in feeling the resistance of drawing a bow string before firing an arrow. I hope this isn't going to be a new source of RSI.
- Haptic feedback has been added to the controller. This 'refined rumble' tactile feedback will add a greater variety of powerful sensations as you play your games.
- The old Share Button has been replaced by a Create Button. Sony is simply widening the scope of the social button's capabilities and renaming it appropriately. It teases that it will provide "pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content," and then share or save it.
- A built-in microphone array is present in DualSense. This enables players to converse with others without using a headset, good for quick unplanned chats or casual gaming.
Other changes that Sony has delivered include the immediately obvious design changes. Normally Sony goes for a single colour controller as standard but now it is going to progress with dual-tone designs. Furthermore the lightbar is now split to feature either side of the touch pad. The Sony blog talks a lot about design decisions to make the controller a great fit of hands large and small. Only your own personal hands-on experience can verify this.
Sony adds that, despite the additions in features, the rechargeable battery life of the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller will remain "strong" without adding significant weight to the device.
There has been no mention made about backward compatibility, PC or cross device compatibility, or pricing - so far.
Jim Ryan, President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment, provided the following statement about the new DualSense controller:
"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. To the PlayStation community, I truly want to thank you for sharing this exciting journey with us as we head toward PS5’s launch in Holiday 2020. We look forward to sharing more information about PS5, including the console design, in the coming months."