Yesterday a photo appeared of a prototype PlayStation 4 controller attached to a development kit. Without ceremony or much explanation, too, which has meant plenty of people have had plenty of guesses as to what’s what – well, we reckon we’ve probably got it just about right, although we’d be happy to take on board any suggestions you may have.
A – the triggers: L1, L2, R1 and R2 – these have been redesigned so they’re concave, meaning they’re easier to grip and use for longer periods of time. They’re still analog, of course.
B – this is a Move-compatible light strip, and wraps around the back of the controller in a smooth curve. It’ll change colours, like the ball on the end of the PS3’s move controller, to get the best possible contrast for the camera. Of which, we reckon, there’ll be two, on an external Kinect-like array. Having Move built-in is a great idea for Sony, meaning developers can target the tech knowing everyone has it as standard.
C, D – either side of the touch pad are two buttons – these are select and start. In the centre of C and D is the touch pad which we’re informed is two-point multi-touch and is also pushable as an extra button. Hopefully the touch pad is as responsive as the PS Vita’s, which does offer some interesting control options even though it’s hidden away on the back.
E – the d-pad on the prototype looks like it’s using the one from the Vita – clickable and highly responsive, and generally considered to be the best digital pad for years. If this is retained in the final version, we’ll be happy.
F – the face buttons, highly likely to be digital and not analog for the PS4.
G – newly tweaked analog sticks with a central divot recess, again, like the triggers, designed to make it easier to play for longer periods of time without your thumbs slipping off. Hopefully there’s a little more resistance in there too.
H – the PS button. Whether or not this is also the ‘share’ feature we don’t know yet. The PS4’s operating system is likely to be much richer than the PS3’s XMB, so hopefully the PS button opens up much more in the way of in-game options. Rumours suggest that the PS4 will continuously record what’s happening on screen, and then let you share content to (we assume) Bigfest.
I – this looks like a speaker – but could also double as a microphone. The Wii and Wii U are both capable of sending discrete sounds to the controller, so hopefully Sony have found a decent use for this feature on the PS4.
J – this is an odd one. Our best guess is either some kind of NFC (near field communication) device or, more simply, a headphone jack. The prototype charges from the top but given that the final controllers will be wireless and charged over USB 3 (which the dev kit clearly offers) it could charge from anywhere. It might even just be a simple debug button for the dev kit controller.
Size-wise it appears to be about the same (if not a tiny bit larger) but hopefully won’t be much heavier than the DualShock 3. It’s looking good, either way. It’s clear that there’s a few styling issues but these things always look a little unfinished, and hopefully we’ll see the very final version next week in New York when Sony are expected to demo the PS4 in full.