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That PS4 DualShock 4 Controller - Explored In Full

New analogs, new triggers, new buttons. Let's have a look.

ps4 controller

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.

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43 Comments
  1. teflon
    Community Team
    Since: May 2009

    It’ll be a shame if they go back to analogue buttons. I realise nobody actually used them, but I’m used to that slightly spongey feeling now.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:34.
    • ron_mcphatty
      Member
      Since: Sep 2008

      Yep it’s definitely a step back, I don’t know why it’s so rarely used as it was brilliantly applied for Gran Turismo 4. Actually, that’s the only game I can think of where you had to use it so maybe it won’t be missed? The Vita’s buttons do feel really nice.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:12.
  2. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    It looks a mess. Trying to jam too much on one controller.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:34.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      I totally agree with this. It looks horrible, I don’t like the newly designed analogue sticks either. Its a total mess and looks massive and bulky. I know its not final but it if its anything like this then its a put off for me.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:40.
    • teflon
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      At the moment it’s just missing biometric sensors and a holographic projector.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:43.
  3. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    Interesting breakdown.

    But early though- after all, remember the boomerang reveal?

    I do hope those sticks change back to the usual Playstation style though. Much prefer the DS3 to the 360 controller.

    Also, no sacrificing vibration again!

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:37.
    • OnlineAssassin77
      Member
      Since: Jun 2012

      I prefer the dual shock 3 over the 360 controller but I think I prefer the 360 analog sticks not the placement of them just the dip and stiffness of them the ds3 sticks feel a little slack at times especially on fps games.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:10.
      • Dom El
        Member
        Since: Mar 2012

        Same for me, always felt that the analogue’s were a bit too spongey on the Dualshock – these look much better, though whether they’ll feel better is the key thing.

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:47.
  4. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    My excitement is growing. Said it before and I’ll say it again, when they open up the official PS4 release website, I’ll be on it more than some of the “other” sites I frequent on the net ;)

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:38.
    • bacon_nuts
      Member
      Since: Mar 2011

      I remember the ps3 white room website, went on it more than anything else at the time…

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:20.
      • kjkg
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        That’s the one! It was awesome. Had every games own section. I remember the Motorstorm screenshots being amazing.

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:38.
  5. Jas-n
    Since: Aug 2008

    Why would the face buttons become digital might be better to make them more sensitive, appearing more analogue?

    I tend to use the analogue buttons, especially with Gran Tursimo. I’m skilled like that.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:39.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      me too, I use the buttons for varied power etc, I can’t see why they would get rid of them.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:42.
    • Alex C
      One for all.
      Since: Forever

      I’m sure you are. =)

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:42.
  6. cam the man
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Although I Like the look and features of the controller I think it’ll be difficult using all of the touch pad when holding it properly without nudging the analogue sticks.
    I hope it’s the same size as DS3 as it’s just right for me.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:43.
  7. Joshua Hood
    Small briefcase w*nker
    Since: Forever

    See, I don’t really ‘get’ the Move strip. The controller already has the usual SIXAXIS stuff, so the only real advantage to having Move also built in would be to track the controller itself. However, moving the controller round much in any direction would obscure the light strip from the camera – that’s why the regular Move controller has the giant orb almost detached at the top, so it can be tracked from almost any angle. Hmmmm.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:47.
    • jimmy-google
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      It could be used to work out where each gamer is in a room rather than actually being used for motion, not sure what that information would be used for. Maybe for picking out sounds/voices for each player if the controller only has a speaker built in.

      I’d expect the actual bar might end up being a small circle rather than anything too big.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:58.
    • DirtyHabit
      Member
      Since: Forever

      Yeah. I don’t get the move strip either. a, beacause of what Joshua says and b, because the controller shape doesn’t exactly invite one handed use. So 2 handed is going to limit movement too, surely.

      Also the ‘concave triggers’ is even more seculative than the rest of the article as you cant even see the triggers’ shape…

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:49.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      Maybe it pops up?

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 16:15.
  8. Starman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    So many features that won’t be used by the vast majority of games.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 13:56.
    • jimmy-google
      Member
      Since: Feb 2009

      Prototypes always put in loads more than the final product so that ideas can be tested.

      Even when Sony release consoles they tend to put more ports etc.. than end up being needed and then drop them in later models if appropriate.

      Remember the serial port on the PS1 and the i-link port on the PS2.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:00.
      • Starman
        Member
        Since: Jul 2011

        Hopefully the touch pad is removed then. Without it it would be a lot better proportioned. I think there would be far too many accidental button/pad presses, and reaching across to use the touch pad isn’t intuitive on the vita & I don’t think it would be on that either.

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:21.
      • DirtyHabit
        Member
        Since: Forever

        And the USB ports on the front of the PS3. Oh wait…

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:39.
  9. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    It’ll be interesting playing Sports Champions with one of those.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:00.
    • seedaripper1973
      Member
      Since: Forever

      It ipossible though using one arm of the controller and the R1 and R2 buttons (the same for the other side)… But what about the fucking tv man..THE FUCKIN TV! (wrist strap wise) ;-)

      Comment posted on 16/02/2013 at 18:24.
  10. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    I don’t like the touchpad being on the front, it’s stupid. The whole point behind (gettit?) the Vita’s rear touchpad is that you can use it with the fingers you’re only using to support the device. Having it on the front means you have to remove one or more fingers from the sticks, buttons or d-pad to use it.

    The sticks seem horrible. I have some clip-on tops for my DS3 that makes it feel a bit like that, and they are painful to use.

    I’m not sure how developers are to use the move-integration, unless it’s for some AR functionality where the game wants to know where the player is.

    The facebuttons should remain analouge as they have a great feel to them, far better than any digital.

    I despise the thought of a speaker on the controller, as the Wiimotes left me with a bad impression. Why would I wan certain sounds to be played with crappy quality compared to the rest? It also leeches bandwidth. A microphone I can get behind, but surely it would pick up a whole lot of noise from the buttons, sticks and fingers moving about?

    I hope that’s a headset-jack on the bottom as it would be a great feature.

    Despite my negativity, I’m actually quite excited, but I hope the final product is very different.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:04.
    • TSBonyman
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      I reckon the touchpad will be better suited to using your thumbs – i’ve become used to using the clip-on txt pad in that position.

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:05.
      • Kennykazey
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        That’s the problem though. The thumbs are already busy with the sticks and buttons.

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 16:37.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        I’m guessing it’ll be unlikely that we’ll have to use the face buttons at the same time as the touchpad, and it’s not dfficult to reach the Start./Select/PS buttons as it is on the DS3. Of course, we won’t really know for sure until we get our hands on one! :)

        Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 21:00.
    • seedaripper1973
      Member
      Since: Forever

      Bear in mind nobody has seen the back yet, for all we know the front is a Capacitive one touch srcreen (for bat life, friends lists etc) and there is a rear touchpad (like the Vita)

      Comment posted on 16/02/2013 at 18:20.

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