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.

43 Comments

  1. 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

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

  3. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

  4. 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 ;)

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

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

  5. 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.

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

    • I’m sure you are. =)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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…

    • Maybe it pops up?

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

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

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

    • 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) ;-)

  10. 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.

    • 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.

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

      • 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! :)

    • 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)

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