Alex Birlo on April 8, 2020

The New PlayStation 5 Controller

Sony had yesterday announced the new controller for the PlayStation 5. They did so unexpectedly through a simple post over on the PlayStation Blog. Let us take a look at the new features and design.

“Captivate More of Your Senses”

That is the new philosophy behind the controller. As Sony ships, the final versions of the controllers to its game developers, they share with us the design and the ideas behind it.

“The features of DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.” Sais the blog post in its opening paragraph. And so it seems that the main theme of the new PlayStation will be immersion and even the controller is introducing new functions to further reinforce this idea.

The announcement tells us the story of how the development team set out to improve on all the functions of the older “DualShock 4” while introducing new functionality to immerse the player and create a feeling of greater interaction with the game.

That is all well and dandy but what about the actual changes?

Haptic What? Adaptive Who?

The two most interesting new features for me are the “Haptic Feedback” and the “Adaptive Triggers”.

From what they explained it seems that the idea behind “Haptic Feedback” is a new vibration system that enables greater variety in how intense the vibration can be. Which means that now when you drive a car, in-game, you will feel the difference between varied types of roads. Or the impact form different sources on screen will lead to richer differences in the vibration you feel through the controller.

Which also justifies the drastic change in size and shape of the controller. Since it houses this new system they also had to work on the weight and battery life. Thus changes in the controller’s design are not only for “Fresh design” purposes but also functional.

Next, the “Adaptive Triggers” are also adding a new dimension to the controller’s feedback. The triggers are now capable of altering their tension response when you press them. Depending on, for example, the kind of weapon your character is wielding in the game, the feeling of pressure applied to press a trigger on the controller will change and vary. An example they gave was drawing a bow and feeling how the tension in the trigger changes as you approach full-draw on the bow.

This is not a totally new concept, as similar things were attempted in third-party controllers and in “Pro versions” of the regular controllers in the past. But never the less it is interesting to see how this is going to be a default feature of the default version of the next-gen controllers.

The New Controller as a New Gaming Tool

The rest of the changes play into the rebranding that Sony decided on for the new controller.

It is no longer the “DualShock” it is now the “DualSense”, by simply changing the name the company makes a statement and demonstrates its new approach to design and functionality. The focus is shifted towards creating a sensitive and convenient gaming “tool”.

Now the controller not only has a built-in speaker, but also a built-in microphone with a “push-to-talk” button. This makes communication during games easier and more accessible than ever – since now you do not even have to necessarily own or connect a headset for that. But it also drastically increases the relevance of the “mute” option in games (LOL).

The “Share Button” is still there and retains all of its handy record and screenshot functions. But now it is called the “Create Button” and hints at totally new features that will be available through its menu. But at this time we can only speculate what can it do, as Sony will reveal more about this in the coming months.


The announcement ends in a quote of Jim Ryan the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment:

“DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5. The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games – continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future.”

Until I have the controller in my hands, nothing can be said for certain. Though one thing is sure – it is definitely a new controller. Sony this generation are definitely planning to put up a good fight against its increasingly strengthening competition and it definitely gets me excited!

Is anyone else worried about how dirty the white controller will possibly get or is it just me?


The official PlayStation Blog announcement: