PS4 controller - what's new, what's different, what's the same?

  • Posted February 24th, 2013 at 23:06 EDT by Kyle Prahl

(continued from previous page) ...it for most in-game functions, while the things we associate with 'Select'--opening a map, viewing multiplayer stats--will be incorporated elsewhere.

The touch pad

Does it have a name? Frankly, we don't know, but it doesn't really need one. The function of DualShock 4's most obvious addition is... well, obvious. With a touch pad at the controller's center, you can expect to see a more diverse array of gaming experiences on PS4: the kind of stuff formerly relegated to smartphones (and PS Vita!). However, it's important to note that DualShock 4's touch pad is NOT a touch screen; you won't be scrolling and swiping through menus unless those menus and objects are "activated" for it. Therefore, it's hard to pin down how exactly the touch pad will impact your PlayStation experience moving forward. Will the touch pad (and the fact it can be pressed like a button) fall by the wayside? I hope not, since it seems partially responsible for DualShock 4's increased size.

 

L1 and R1, L2 and R2

Like with its analog sticks, the DualShock 4 seems to take a page from the Xbox 360 controller with regards to L2 and R2. The PS3 triggers were praised for their sensitivity and smooth action, but often maligned for the inward curvature that made finger-slippage common. Now, L2 and R2 are concave, pointing outward away from the controller base and forming a natural indentation in which to rest your pointer fingers. This should make everything from first-person-shooters to driving games feel natural and easier to control. Meanwhile, "don't fix what ain't broke" sums up L1 and R1, which have been made bigger, but not much else. It's possible that L1 and R1 now feel more like "bumpers" than analog triggers, but without confirmation, this seems doubtful: the height of each trigger (the space between its surface and the controller base) looks the same as, if not slightly more than, previous iterations.

The light bar

Sony has been pretty vague on the light bar's purpose thus far. Early speculation (on leaked prototype photos) placed the light bar as a replacement for a Move controller. Now, after witnessing Media Molecule's intriguing PS4 Move demo, we know that PlayStation Move is alive and well. So, where does that leave the light bar? According to Sony Worldwide Studios Prez Shuhei Yoshida, the light will change colors to identify players and signal various in-game happenings - for example, when your character takes damage. In addition, the new PlayStation Camera will use it to determine your controller's spatial position, and distance from the console, in three dimensions. Sound familiar?

Yes, the difference and dynamic between the DualShock 4's light bar and your PlayStation Move controller are far from clear, but several months stand between us and PS4's November release - I'm sure Sony will have plenty to share before then.

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Now that you've had a closer look at DualShock 4, give us your thoughts in the comments below and in our forums. Is DualShock 4 a natural evolution you can't wait to hold, or an abomination of everything PlayStation stands for? Are you appalled at my hyperbole? Sound off!

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