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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. Temascos
    Member
    Since: Jan 2013

    Hopefully that design will be worked on a bit, for some reason the grips don’t look quite as big as the DS3’s which I’m comfortable with. And as some people are saying, why have Move functionality when Sixaxis is already there? Will those controller splitting rumours turn out to be true?

    Don’t like the idea of the microphone either, seems a little off putting to me. See how it goes though, maybe and hopefully Sony will blow my mind. :)

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:30.
  2. Peter Chapman
    Team TSA: Editor
    Since: Forever

    Digital buttons will hopefully make construction much cheaper. Or, more accurately, slightly offset the cost of the touchpad and Move strip!
    The analogues sticks are so subjective. I think the DS3 ones are great for driving games because they’re light and have a large range of motion – two things that make them less useful for twitch shooters. It’s impossible to get it perfect for every usage case, perhaps they could market two types – loose and stiff, so people can choose a preference.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 14:32.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      I know what the ladies would choose… EYOOO!!! >_>

      Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:41.
  3. BrendanCalls
    Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc - YOHIMBÉ!!!
    Since: Forever

    I think it looks fine all apart from that raised area at the top to house the Move light. its moved the L & R buttons and it looks wierd.
    If I had my way, I’d just sack the Move off, take it as a loss and let Microsoft and Ninetendo fight it our for the casual market, while Sony focus on being the console for the hobbiests.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:01.
  4. CR8ZYH0RSE
    Member
    Since: Sep 2012

    I believe the blue strip on top is for checking if there’s horsemeat in your meals.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:29.
  5. Dom El
    Member
    Since: Mar 2012

    I like the potential speaker/mic in the centre, it’s one of the things I’ve always liked about the Wii/Wii U and if done properly really adds to the experience (done improperly it’s horribly jarring but hey-ho!).

    Not sure about the touchpad. Unless it’s going to have some kind of display on it that we haven’t seen yet I just don’t get the application of it when you’re already pressing a batch of buttons on the front of the controller…

    Only five days now till we find out either way!

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 15:53.
  6. Forrest_01
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Looks utterly disgusting & seems to include everything that i hate from this gen (movement & touchscreen at least).

    Yet another reason not to bother with PS4.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 16:54.
  7. hiab-x
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    Just looking at the touchpad aspect is making me imagine that Killzone Mercenary may well make a logical port over to the new system.

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 17:11.
  8. dave87fez
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Swallowing my pride and asking the question that everyone else seems to know the answer to…

    What are you all talking about regarding digital and analogue buttons? Buttons are buttons to me!

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 20:07.
    • a inferior race
      I'm special
      Since: Jul 2009

      Analogue are pressure sensitive, where as digital are pressed or not pressed.

      Comment posted on 16/02/2013 at 09:29.
  9. MDL199
    Member
    Since: Nov 2012

    I’m so relieved they have kept the basic design and just enhanced it. Evolution not revolution is the right way to go. So excited now!!!

    Comment posted on 15/02/2013 at 21:14.
  10. deadwelsh
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    If those move lights are staying, then fight night will be on my pre order list if well integrated to use the pads as gloves. For the rest of the games there would have to be more lights on the rest of the pad for when the bar is obscured form the ps4 view. I played High velocity bowling and the sixaxis is all over the place, this feature would help with even the aftertouch in that game, or how straight you throw the ball.

    It looks ugly, not sure how i feel about the touch pad i think the rear of the pad would be better, my only thinking for having it there will be as a mini screen which adapts to the game maybe, say a fuel light in gran turismo, or compass in MGS? Also the digital buttons is a poor move imo, i like holding my gun in aim whilst moving ready to fire in mgs4, that wont be able to happen with digis like that :(

    keen to try out the vita pad, not used one yet, the click sounds interesting. Microphone and headphone jack, sounds a bit of trying to please all, a strategy that rarely works, also what is the price of a replacement going to be? its still £40 for a DS3, although i have had the pads last longer than the console on 2 occasions! (so far…) – stick, meh, i’ll get used to them

    Comment posted on 16/02/2013 at 00:17.