The DualShock 4 is (almost) here
At Sonys PS4-centric press conference today, Mark Cerny unveiled the final version of the controller for the PlayStation 4. Turns out, while some of the functionality appears to be the same as last weeks leaked photos of a dev kit controller, this true DualShock 4 is much sleeker and sexier than previously advertised.
Weve pored over the details that Sony has announced for the DualShock 4, and weve (figuratively) broken down the new controller piece by piece to figure out what it does. Read on for the first details
The Share button could change everything
So, turns out those little black buttons at the top of the DualShock 4 arent the Start and Select buttons. One of those buttons is the Option button, which combines the functionality of Start and Select into one input. The other is the Share button, which stands to completely change the way you spread game content to your buddies.
With a press of this button, you can--on the fly--capture screens or video from the game youre playing, then upload them online. Judging from the new partnerships with Gaikai, youll also be able to upload your finest moments to Facebook, or stream them on Ustream, using this one simple button.
The analog sticks are concave
It seems that Sony has ditched the typical design of its PS2 and PS3 analog sticks, and is modifying their design to be concave. Its difficult to tell at a glance, but it appears that the analog sticks are also further apart in comparison to the PS3 controller. Thats good news for gamers with large hands and/or thumbs.
Other players can take the wheel
Amazingly, the PS4 controller will allow you to take over your friends controller remotely, using Gaikai technology. Say, for instance, youre stuck in a tricky segment of a level, and your friend online can easily clear it. Theoretically, youll now be able to temporarily lend them your controller inputs, so that they can take control and clear the segment for you without even being present.
The light bar will enhance your experience
The suspected motion-sensing bar at the top of the controller also lights up with three color LEDS, and though weve only seen it in a blue glow flavor thus far, Mark Cerny announced that the controller will help identify players. We interpret this as color coding for controllers in multiplayer. Imagine how simpler it will be to say Im blue, youre red instead of Im Player 3, youre Player 4 during intense party gaming. According to a Sony press release sent out after the show, it will also convey "useful information," like blinking when you're low on health.
The DualShock 4 has a built-in touchpad
That spiffy-looking rectangle in the middle of the controller isnt a screen--its a touchpad. During a real-time run through the Unreal 4 tech demo, Mark Cerny stated that he could move the camera using the touchpad. Surely there will be more functions for the touchpad, similar to the inventive ways developers use the PS Vitas back touchpad.
The shoulder buttons look pretty much the same
Youll be happy to know that the DualShock 4 has the familiar number of shoulder buttons: two on each side, four total. These look to be a bit more compact in size, with a sort of gradual triangular edge (similar to the general shape of a 360 controller). In another nod to Microsoft's controller, the shoulder buttons have a slight outward curve for an easier grip.
It comes with a motion-sensing peripheral
That light bar at the top of the controller has a functionality we expected: motion controls. But it wouldnt work without a receiver--which is why it requires the PlayStation 4 Eye, a stereo/camera combo that you hook up to your TV. Cerny stated that when these two interact, the PS4 will be able to track 3D movement with an accurate sense of depth. With two cameras and four microphones inside, it sounds like the PS4 Eye can match (if not outperform) the Kinect's capabilities.
The d-pad isnt different
Luckily, the leaked screens of the PS4 controller werent the final product. The easiest way to tell is the new d-pad, which retains the classic segmented-cross design that the DualShock series has always had. If it aint broke, dont fix it.
The face buttons are pleasantly familiar
Nothing too fancy here. The PlayStations classic four button layout of Square, Triangle, Circle, and uhX is back, and looks perfectly preserved. It seems the embossed cross behind the four buttons has spread: Instead of being restrained to a mere cross, it now covers the entirely of the d-pad and button faces.
More rumble capabilities
Mark Cerny stated that this new controller also enabled new possibilities for controller rumble. Were not quite sure what that means, but wed hazard a guess that it will allow for better fidelity in rumble vibrations, so that theres a better range between light shaking and full-on controller seizure.
The Move controller is back
As we saw in the demo for Media Molecules Puppeteer, it seems that the Move is back for the PS4. No details were provided regarding upgraded tech, but we imagine the new Kinect-like device could play some part in enhancing the accuracy of the Move controller.
It has a headphone jack
As of right now, the best options for easy-access audio in controllers are on the Wii U gamepad and Vita, which allow you to plug any 3.5mm headphones into your controller for instant audio gratification. It looks like the PS4 controller is the best of both worlds, offering a 3.5mm plug built right into the controller. Sony will also be bundling a Mono headset with the PS4, so you can get your chat on.
It has a built-in speaker
The original Wii controller included the interesting innovation of plopping a speaker right into your hand, though it wasnt utilized for much beyond auxiliary sound effects. The PS4 controller has what looks to be a speaker on its face, which has subsequently bumped the PS button to be nestled in between the analog sticks. Our hope is that this is a combined hub for a miniature speaker and a sensitive microphone, eliminating the need for a headset if you want to chat online.
It's got a better grip
The DualShock 4 seems to be taking after the 360's, offering something more substantial to grip during marathon gaming compared to its PS3 predecessor. Not only that--it now has a textured underbelly, to ensure that it won't slip out of your hands if you suffer from sweaty palms and/or you're extremely nervous while playing a survival horror game.
See something we didnt?
Those are the bits and pieces we noticed during Sonys press conference. Did you spot a crucial piece of controller information? Let us know in the comments, and our crack team of controller sleuths will investigate.