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What Should Sony Do With The DualShock On PS4?

Amid more rumours, we look at the options and probabilities.

Since the original PlayStation, the DualShock controller (or, at least its previous incarnations and names) has been the iconic standard bearer for generations of consoles and gamers. Its shape, form and function legendary, perfect for almost any type of game.

It has, of course, evolved. Analog sticks punctuated the sleek design during its first run, and since then there’s been analog buttons, reversed triggers and – famously – vibration. But one thing has remained largely constant throughout: its recognisable physical characteristics.

This design is much loved but might a casual-friendly refresh be in order?
This, naturally, has led to a sense of familiarity with PlayStation gamers consciously attached to a brand – it’s meant that those that just want to play FIFA each year don’t have to bend their fingers around anything alien (so to speak) and the core gamer that plays everything instantly feels at home.

It works, because it’s a great design.

When Sony first showed off the PlayStation 3, the hardware designers went off on a couple of crazy tangents with the control, the infamous boomerang shape quickly (and widely) derided by most, and ultimately reversed by SCEI back to the shape we know and love. Minus, of course, vibration, although that was to follow.

With the advent of the PlayStation 4, are we as gamers hoping Sony sticks to their principles, or tweaks and remixes the classic controller?

Familiarity is a warming, comfortable feeling. Imagine picking up a PS4 on launch night and just being able to dive right in, your fingers and thumbs instantly locking into place. That’s a positive – we like that sensation and it means we can just focus on the games.

But there’s a certain appeal of the new, the unfamiliar. Most other consoles change their input devices, Nintendo perhaps most famously. Is there merit in opening the same PS4 box and finding something new, something exciting to fit between your palms?

Yes, and it’s likely this’ll be the case.

Nobody wants this, of course, but some new innovations might be good.
Now, nobody’s expecting a boomerang again. Sony won’t deviate that far but they may well bring new elements in. Rumours over the last few weeks have suggesting biometric sensors on the palm grips, for starters, although that’s unlikely to result in the overall form shifting too much from what we’re familiar with.

And something we’ve looked at in the past – a touch screen – has today reared its rumour shaped head. We’ve mentioned that we’d like something in the centre of the Dual Shock 4, a small touch pad that’ll let you swing a bat, throw a shuriken or aim a football at a goal. Again, it won’t change the shape, but it does present some interesting gameplay possibilities.

A literal touch screen though? One with actual visuals on it? That seems too much of a stretch. What’s more likely is complete Move integration, somehow – Sony aren’t likely to want to throw away years of technical experimentation and research, and they’re unlikely to throw in a traditional Move wand, too.

Our guesses are simply that – but it’s our hopes that Sony don’t go too far down the route of the unfamiliar but bundle in enough tweaks that mean there’s something new to play with. A Vita-esque touch pad ticks that box, but we’d also like to see Move incorporated too, the mechanics that could open up are limitless.

But this has to be a controller for the masses, too, and that’s the balancing act Sony need to get right. We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime, what would you like to see them do with the beloved DualShock you know and love?

  1. leeroye
    Since: May 2012

    Indent the top of the analogue sticks and proper R2 and L2 triggers, thats all it needs. I really hope they dont go sticking a screen on the controller, its not needed.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 19:45.
  2. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    I’m definitely in the keep it the same camp, I think adding touch panels etc.. would end up with you having to look down at the pad and distracting from the game.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 20:03.
  3. blast71
    Since: May 2012

    Just 1 single thing to make it perfect : a cock ring! So i can REALLY make the most of the vibrations – OH YES!!!!!

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 20:14.
  4. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    The current pad is fine for me. My choice weapon. Other than that, maybe…. Offer an updated version. Offer three sizes to cater for all gamers. Simples.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 20:49.
  5. OnlineAssassin77
    Since: Jun 2012

    Make it look like and feel like the DS3 would be the way to go.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 21:47.
  6. sshaunss
    Since: Aug 2009

    Keep the controller the same and sell the ps4 in two types of bundles with and without controllers so people have a choice of a cheaper package and be able to use there old controllers.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 21:53.
  7. Michael
    Team TSA: Development
    Since: Forever

    I’m waiting for the killer new feature so I can start my new web site.

    Comment posted on 18/01/2013 at 22:51.
  8. Galgomite
    Since: Oct 2010

    I think PS4 will aim to cost Sony $300 or less per console at launch (and I’m talking today’s even-weaker-than-2006-dollars). While I’m sure Sony will have a few enticing tricks up their sleeve, they won’t pay for additional LCD displays or cameras in the box. My sage prediction: They’ll release the oft-reported dual shock controller that breaks in two, with sensors on either shoulder that are promising but don’t end up doing much. However, you’ll be able to attach the controller halves to either side of PS4 branded tablets and phones for remote play in your home. Then, in 2015 or so, you’ll be able to subscribe to PS Plus+, which lets you stream your gaming library OnLive-style on any mobile device or Android set-top box.
    Making baseless predictions is awesome!

    Comment posted on 19/01/2013 at 05:39.
  9. Manorhowze
    Driving God
    Since: Dec 2008

    Ergonomically keep it the same for me but new features would be nice. As long as they both work and are well supported.

    Comment posted on 19/01/2013 at 09:58.
  10. hol
    Since: Oct 2009

    Leave it as it is but add a touch pad on the back of the pad, behind the PS button, like the panel on the Vita.

    Comment posted on 19/01/2013 at 10:08.
    • OnlineAssassin77
      Since: Jun 2012

      I wouldn’t be keen if they did this unless you could turn the touch pad off because with the vita kept catching it when I didn’t want to.

      Comment posted on 20/01/2013 at 11:45.

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