We know all there is to know about the PlayStation 5, including price and release date for the standard and Digital Edition models, but what about the DualSense controller?
What’s so special about the joypad that accompanies the PS5 that Sony has decided to ditch its traditional DualShock naming convention?
We hope to explain all here.
Essentially, while it may not look look it from an initial glance, the DualSense controller is based on the PS4’s DualShock 4 – easily the best controller in PlayStation’s history so far.
Yes, the colour has changed – to a two-tone design – and the bulk is seemingly increased and rounded off a little (to, almost, Xbox-form), but the thumbsticks are in the same position and there is still a touchpanel at the top. A lightbar returns too, albeit either side of the touchpanel rather than on the top.
What this means for PSVR owners, we’re not so sure. SIE has said in the past that PSVR will be supported by PS5, with older headsets backward compatible, but with no top lightbar on the controller, it not likely it will work with the camera. Could it be that there are plans to switch to full motion sensing instead? We shall see.
While we are awaiting the PS5 and DualSense controller to come into the Pocket-lint test labs, some more specific aspects of the design have popped up in leaked images online. For example, The buttons seem to be covered in clear plastic, which is not that apparent in the official shots [as above].
We also like that the back of the controller grips are covered in tiny triangle, square, circle and cross patterns. Not essential but a nice touch.
And the images show that the contoller will be charged through USB-C.
One new feature added to the DualSense controller is haptic feedback. Instead of just the plain old rumble pack found in controllers across many generations of gaming, the DualSense will give a player tangible feedback to better immerse him or her in a game.
As Sony said on its blog, it “adds a variety of powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play, such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud”.
Thomas Was Alone developer, Mike Bithell, went one further, having played with the controller himself: “You’re going to love what they’re doing with the controller on PS5 as well, with the DualSense stuff,” he said to the Play, Watch, Listen podcast.
“Haptic… the raindrops thing; I’ve had some demos, they’re very good […] you’re gonna have some fun and games with that.”
This hinted that even the slightest in-game effects could give players more precise feedback through the controller.
Along with haptic feedback, the new controller adopts adaptive triggers for the L2 and R2 buttons.
These also introduce content-related feedback and finer control, such as when you are pulling the trigger of a gun on screen, or pulling back a bow to fire off an arrow.
Another biggy for the PlayStation team was to improve the battery life in the latest controller. That’s perhaps one of the DualShock 4’s main caveats and it’s great to hear it is being addressed.
There is no word yet on how large the battery is, or how long it might last, but the slightly bulkier design of the new controller is partly as a result of cramming in a bigger battery. And that’s great to hear.
No “Share” button
As previously rumoured, the Share button has gone. However, it has been replaced with a new “Create” button feature.
It launches a new Creation Studio tool that allows players much more control over their screengrabs and captured videos, than currently possible on the PS4.
One thing that will please multiplayer/social gamers no end is the new facility to chat in-game and with other players without the need for a headset – especially for short periods and when voice audio quality isn’t that important.
The DualSense will come with its own microphone array built into the controller. We wonder if this might also be a signal that the console could be compatible with voice assistants in the future, such as Alexa or Google Assistant? Maybe even its own voice recognition system (better than the one Sony has dabbled with before)?
One of they key things to know about DualSense is that it marks a fairly significant step forward, which means backward compatibility is a slight issue. Sony recently confirmed that you won’t be able to play PS5 games using your old PS4’s DualShock 4 controllers, for example, although they will work on some backward-compatible PS4 games running on the new console.
Additionally, we don’t expect the DualSense to work on a PS4. Sorry.
While you naturally get one in the box with the PS5, you’ll also be able to purchase a second DualSense for $69.99 / £59.99. That’s a small bump over the cost of a DualShock 4, but that seems to be the order of the day with next-gen accessories and games (many titles cost around £70, for example).
We’ll update when we find out anything more about the controller’s more intricate features, but in the meantime you can find out much more about the PlayStation 5 here.