Sony has just unveiled the new PS5 controller. The DualSense gamepad is the PlayStation 5’s replacement for the DualShock series, and the first official PlayStation controller since the original to go by a different name.
Revealed via a blog post, its sleek look in alabaster white gives us an idea of what the PS5 console itself might look like. For starters, the predominantly white casing heavily implies the PS5’s “standard” look is going to be at least partially white, as opposed to the black consoles of the past three generations. In a reversal of the previous three consoles, we’ll probably get a limited edition “classic” black PS5, instead of a white one.
The DualSense’s curved handles are, it must be said, a bit reminiscent of the Xbox controller. This could also mean the newest iteration of the PlayStation will take on some of the curves of the original PS3 and Xbox 360, in order to keep the design between controller and console consistent.
The design has been heavily discussed on social media already, with those that love (and hate) the design making their own... unique renders and modifications:
#PS5 pic.twitter.com/FIXlAgwUESApril 8, 2020
Moving away from the controller’s looks, there’s loads of cold hard facts about the gamepad’s hardware to enjoy. For starters, one of the first features mentioned is that much-touted “haptic feedback”, which adjust the difficulty of pulling the triggers depending on the in-game task.
Senior Vice President Hideaki Nishino uses the example of driving through mud, with the controller reproducing a “slow grittiness” as the trigger becomes more resistant. We imagine this will affect all manner of previously simple tasks, as drawing a bowstring in Tomb Raider becomes exponentially more difficult than pulling a trigger, reproducing the difference in skill level required to operate different weapon set.
Elsewhere, the controller has been made lighter and the rechargeable battery will be able to go for longer, and the Share button, which Microsoft has kept, has been scrapped in favour of a “Create” button. No details have been released on the Create functionality, but it sounds like a logical extension of the Share function with additional sophistication. Perhaps you’ll be able to edit and upload short clips on the fly before immediately diving back into the game.
A built-in microphone completes the new features, allowing you to chat to your contacts without a headset. However, Nishino does caveat here: “But of course, if you are planning to chat for a longer period, it’s good to have that headset handy”. We can fathom the battery will drain using the mic and speaker for prolonged periods.
As for the rest, it’s all familiar territory. The classic square-circle-triangle-x array, two joysticks, a d-pad and four rear triggers all complete the controller. The long-rumoured back buttons, attached to the DualShock 4 via a new add-on, don’t feature.
Nishino says “Our goal with DualSense is to give gamers the feeling of being transported into the game world as soon as they open the box. We want gamers to feel like the controller is an extension of themselves when they’re playing – so much so that they forget that it’s even in their hands!”
And that, essentially, is what a gamepad should be. It’s a gamer’s main way of interacting with the world, so by making this another way to evoke a sense of immersion, the PS5 may have an advantage that trumps even the PC master race.