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Sony Considered The Xbox Layout And A Touch Screen For The PS4's DualShock 4

And plenty of other crazy ideas.

Sony tested quite a few designs for the PS4 controller, including one which resembled the Xbox stick layout, with one stick in place of the digital pad. Naturally, it was familiarity that won over – two sticks and face buttons are a DualShock staple, but there were many “out there” ideas as they brainstormed.

Speaking to VentureBeat in an exclusive interview, product planning manager Toshimasa Aoki said “we were thinking of drastically changing the controller” from the beginning, and they made more than twenty prototypes – some which were round, some without buttons and “all this crazy stuff”.

A lot of the ideas took inspiration from other places, including Microsoft’s Xbox stick layout: “we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top. Especially from the shooter teams — we got feedback that that’s what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters”.

They even moved the sticks so that it was similar to the Wii U’s Pro Controller and GamePad, with the sticks above the buttons, and their prototype was actually quite similar to the Pro layout, so much that they were surprised when it was revealed – “When Nintendo came out with that, we were like, ‘Wow, that’s just like our prototype!’ That surprised us. But yeah, we decided that it just wouldn’t work.”

It seems the developers had a role in the layout too, with Tommy de Roos of Guerrilla Games saying “we tried to push the things we really wanted forward. Every studio pushed for their own thing. We pushed for the headphone jack.” while confirming that DriveClub developers wanted better gyro controls.

They would only decide on something if the majority of developers agreed, realising that they had to create a controller to work over a multitude of genres and control schemes. They even tried out a touch screen, but developers and teams “to have the consumers concentrated on the big picture that they show”.

That touch screen might have even replaced the face buttons, but that was quickly rejected with a huge majority vote. But no, the current touch pad works and “developers love the touchpad, but only as the secondary input”.

Source: VentureBeat

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  1. OnlineAssassinOA
    Since: Jun 2012

    Glad they didn’t change it up drastically by shifting things all over the place,and kept the overall design but with improved sticks and triggers,liked the stiffness of the 360 controllers sticks but more of a fan of the dualshocks layout,can’t wait to get my hands on the DS4 next month :)

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 02:53.
    Since: Sep 2012

    They were right to reject the touch screen as that would of took some of the focus away from the tv.It reads very similar to the process of the Vita with the many prototypes they designed and made.From what i’ve seen so far they were right to stick with this design.

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 03:18.
    • OnlineAssassinOA
      Since: Jun 2012

      Yes a controller with no physical buttons would be a bit bobboar in my opinion.

      Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 04:02.
  3. Thechunkymunky
    Since: Oct 2009

    Question to 360 gamers: What makes the stick layout so good for FPS games? I just can’t figure out why it would make that much difference. =)

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 06:40.
    • a inferior race
      I'm special
      Since: Jul 2009

      For me it’s the concave stick

      Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 07:30.
  4. Kevling
    Since: Dec 2008

    Sorry to be a pedant, but the interview doesn’t say they considered the xbox layout (asymmetrical sticks), it says “we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top”

    So they considered having BOTH sticks at the top, so the left stick was in the same place as on Xbox.

    That’s as much the xbox layout as the current layout is (after all, the right sticks are in the same place)

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 07:52.
    • BryOnRye
      Since: Jan 2009

      If you read the original article it states that they tried many stick layouts including the staggered xbox layout.

      Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 08:08.
      • Kevling
        Since: Dec 2008

        Ah silly me. Fancy me assuming something specifically mentioned in the headline of an article would include the most relevant quote ;)

        Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 21:43.
  5. lambchop
    Since: Aug 2013

    I’m glad they kept the classic Dual Shock layout. I just don’t really get the Xbox asymmetrical layout unless it’s all you’ve really known.

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 08:51.
    • jimmy-google
      Since: Feb 2009

      I just don’t get it at all. Totally unnatural and uncomfortable to have your hands in two different positions, especially for any length of time. The symmetry makes it far more comfortable and a more natural for in your hands

      Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 09:19.
      • stonyk
        Since: Dec 2009

        Have to admit I do prefer the 360 controller over the PS3, however not enough to decide which console to use. In my memory the most comfortable controller was the N64, but that design is probably obsolete now.

        Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 09:34.
  6. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    I bet nobody suggested the 360’s crappy d-pad though.

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 09:11.
    • three_leg_jake
      Since: Aug 2011


      Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 09:17.
  7. cam the man
    Since: May 2009

    Never tried the Wii U but I can see that having a touch screen could be a distraction from what’s going on in game.
    I’m glad they didn’t move the position of the left stick, I like it where it is.

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 13:27.
  8. Steelhead
    Since: Oct 2013

    Glad sony didnt change things around too much but I still dont like the look of the dualshock 4. I wish they had kept the pad closer to the DS3.

    Comment posted on 23/10/2013 at 16:25.

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