Sony has revealed the new controller for its forthcoming PlayStation 5 console. Named DualSense, the pad is a major departure from the DualShock series in design terms, with a two-tone body and chunkier form-factor breaking away from the slimmer look of the past two decades.
The key new addition is haptic feedback – replacing the rumble feature of previous controllers– providing levels of resistance to player movement by simulating, for example, the slow grittiness of driving through mud in an offroad racing game. The two triggers will also feature adaptive feedback in the trigger buttons, so players can feel the tension and release when, say, firing an arrow from a bow.
Certain elements, such as the DualShock 4’s central touchpad, have been retained, although the light bar, which was previously on the front panel of the pad, is now on the face. A mic has also been added so that players are able to chat to friends without having to plug in a headset. The power cable now uses a USB-C port.
“Our goal with DualSense is to give gamers the feeling of being transported into the game world as soon as they open the box,” said senior vice president of platform planning and management, Hideaki Nishino, in the announcement blogpost. “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!”
Finally, the DualShock 4’s share button, which allowed PlayStation 4 owners to quickly post screenshots and videos of their games, has been retained, but is now called the create button. “We’re once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves,” wrote Nishino. “We’ll have more details on this feature as we get closer to launch.”
The announcement of the controller comes just after a lengthy online presentation by PlayStation 5 system architect, Mark Cerny, in which he revealed the console’s technical specifications and reiterated Sony’s desire to find new ways to immerse players in game worlds. It seems the use of haptic feedback in the DualSense controller is designed to accompany the console’s Tempest 3D sound engine, providing clearer, more definitive, placement of in-game audio.
The look of the PlayStation 5 itself is yet to be revealed, although the new controller suggests a likely move away from the black box design of the PS4. The machine is still slated for a winter 2020 release, similar to the Xbox Series X console from Microsoft. However, both consoles may face manufacturing difficulties due to coronavirus lockdowns in China, where components are made.