Sony has continued the trickle of information on its upcoming PlayStation 5 (PS5) by revealing the bold new controller, which it’s calling the DualSense. Pretty sure we’ve seen the USS Enterprise fight one of these things in Star Trek. Bad jokes aside, it’s certainly a striking design and a serious departure from the traditional design of the DualShock series of controllers that has accompanied PlayStation consoles since 1997. The PS5 is sure to be one of the best video game consoles when it launches later this year, but the controller reveal has proved divisive among fans.
The new shape of the DualSense controller is the first thing people will notice, as it leaves behind the iconic profile of the DualShock series in favor of something more akin to the Xbox One controller, or even the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. Unlike the Xbox controller though, the DualSense keeps the in-line analogue sticks as opposed to the offset sticks that Microsoft’s controller features.
The trackpad and light bar have both returned too, though the light bar now surrounds the trackpad instead of being on the top of the gamepad.
But the most striking change is the new two-tone color look that the DualSense is rocking, which is already dividing opinions online. There are numerous tweets flying around after the announcement poking a little lighthearted fun at the DualSense’s design.
The PS5 DualSense Controller Looks Like Teeth of a Carnivore pic.twitter.com/rSDj1HURH1April 8, 2020
We have to say though, we’re big fans of the new look. It has a sleek, futuristic vibe to it. We’re also more excited to see the actual console now too, given that consoles and controllers usually have a unified aesthetic. Does this mean we’re getting a two-tone PS5? We'll have to wait and see, but we're excited, especially after Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X and it looked like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bring back weird-looking consoles!
What’s new with the DualSense controller?
Along with the sci-fi aesthetic that makes the DualSense look like a Star Trek prop, there have been a number of changes to the controllers functionality when compared with the current DualShock 4, the controller for the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
The biggest addition is haptic feedback, which is a sort of intelligent rumble feature that can simulate various tactile experiences. The example Sony gives is of the “slow grittiness of driving a car through mud”, which could be simulated by a slow rumble interspersed with more powerful jolts to simulate hitting tougher areas or debris.
Alongside the haptic feedback is the addition of adaptive triggers, which can become easier or more difficult to press down to simulate exertion. So if you’re pulling back a bow string in a game, the triggers could become tougher to depress to simulate the force of the string on your fingers. It’s all very nerdy sounding, but it really does help to immerse you in the game's world. The Xbox One controller currently has these features and they’re great… when developers choose to make use of them. Hopefully now both major consoles have them, developers will consider the features worth the effort of using.
In other news, the share button has been renamed the create button. *Waits for applause*. Yeah we don’t care either, it’ll be functionally the same so this is just a rebranding of a button.
There’s also a built-in microphone on the controller now, which will let players chat to each other online without a headset. It’s a welcome addition to be sure, we just hope it’s turned off by default lest we be stuck listening to couple’s arguing and kids screaming in the background while we’re playing online.
Looking to the future
In a statement given on the PlayStation blog alongside the reveal, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment 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. 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.”
Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are slated to release later on this year, so it's going to another console war come the holiday season. We now know the specs for both machines and so far its difficult to tell who has the upper hand, but both look like fantastic machines. It's going to be an exciting time to be a gamer this holiday season.