Controllers are part of the identity of a console game, and in designing it, each manufacturer takes a different approach. Microsoft hasn’t changed its form much after The Duke’s era, while Nintendo continues to experiment with each generation of hardware. Meanwhile, DualShock which was a secondary peripheral was adopted to accompany PlayStation 2 to Sony’s current-gen products.
Seeing the gamers’ positive response to DualShock, many people (including me) assume that the ‘offspring’ will also accompany the PlayStation 5. This assumption is both right and wrong. Just now Sony unveiled the successor of DualShock 4. There the manufacturer still retains the favorite elements of gamers, but do not forget to include a row of new technology and package everything in a futuristic-themed design. Interestingly, the controller no longer carries the title ‘DualShock’. Sony named it DualSense.
Senior vice president Hideaki Nishino explained that as the name implies, through DualSense, the team tried to put forward an aspect that is rarely noticed by game developers and peripheral designers: the sensation of touch. That’s why they bothered developing haptic feedback technology to replace the vibration method in DualShock which is starting to age.
Furthermore, Sony immersed the adaptive trigger system in L2 and R2 so that the actions you take in the game (such as pulling the bowstring or pressing the accelerator) feel more realistic. In order to maximize this effect, manufacturers helped modify the angle of the trigger button, now it is more tilted.
In terms of appearance, DualSense is more contained than DualShock 4 – so it’s a bit like the Xbox One controller. Unusually, gamepad presents two colors. In this initial version, white seemed to dominate the DualSense surface, decorated with black on the ‘inside’. The lines and grip plates are made diagonally and this is what highlights the futuristic impression. Sony moved the light bar from the front to the side of the touchpad, then changed the PS button to a cut-out style following the logo.
In addition to the body, the monochromatic theme is also implemented on the action buttons (with triangles, squares, crosses and circles). The colors are replaced by gray. Sony also expanded the function of the Share button, and gave it a new term: Create. The manufacturer hasn’t explained in detail the new features there, only explaining that this button will ‘give players a new way to create and share content’.
As a complement, Sony embedded a built-in microphone array (the first time available in their controller) and upgraded the battery section, ensuring longer durability but also lighter. Beyond that, the manufacturer still retains the button layout and symmetrical analog stick placement typical of DualShock.
“DualSense marks a radical change from the controller we offered before and represents a leap to the next generation,” said SIE CEO Jim Ryan. “Together with the innovative features in PlayStation 5, this brand-new peripheral will transform the way we enjoy the game – a form of our mission to continue to push the boundaries of play.”