Sony reveals first look at PlayStation 5 'DualSense' controller - here's how it works

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 1:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 2:46 pm

A couple of weeks ago, Sony promised gamers the first look at their new PlayStation 5 console.

But fans were disappointed when the big 'reveal' came in the form of system architect Mark Cerny delivering a lengthy, technical presentation filled with jargon.

There was no surprise announcement of a big new game. Not even a hint of what the console itself might look like.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But in a move to appease fans, Sony have revealed what the controller for their next PlayStation console will look like, as well as revealing some of the new features that will come built in.

Here's everything you need to know about it:

What is the DualSense controller?

"We wanted everyone in the PlayStation community to get a first look at the DualSense wireless controller," said Sony in a blog post announcing the new controller's arrival, "and hear our vision for how the new controller will captivate more of your senses as you interact with the virtual worlds in PS5 games."

Long time PlayStation fans will notice one key difference already: this isn't a 'DualShock' controller.

Sony's gaming controllers have been going under that name for 30 years now; it appears as if the name change has been taken to highlight the new controller's focus on immersion through.

"We concluded that the sense of touch within gameplay... hasn’t been a big focus for many games," say Sony.

"We had a great opportunity with PS5 to innovate by offering game creators the ability to explore how they can heighten that feeling of immersion."

Plus, the softer name will likely appeal to a much wider audience, and Sony will be hoping even non-gamers can be enticed into splashing out on a new console.

What new features does the controller have?

It's not just the console that's getting a technical upgrade, the PS5's controllers will also be seeing a wealth of new features.

"We decided to keep much of what gamers love about DualShock 4 [the PlayStation 4's controller] intact," say Sony, "while also adding new functionality and refining the design."

Perhaps the biggest is the introduction of "haptic feedback", which takes the rumble feature now commonplace in video game controllers and takes it to the next level.

Rather than just vibrating at different intensities to simulate in-game impacts, haptic feedback now allows developers to programme distinct, tactile feelings into their games.

Haptic feedback "adds a variety of powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play," say Sony, "such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud."

It seems to be a feature hard to put into words - it'll likely be a case of experiencing it for yourself).

Coupled with the controller's adjustable resistance triggers - which allow you to "truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow" - even the PS5's controller will be immersive.

Alongside that, the controller will charge through a USB-C cable, has an improved built-in speaker, and a larger battery.

Why the change in design?

Throughout 30 years of console history, PlayStation controllers have been iterated on for each new machine, but never have they seen a redesign as radical as this.

The DualSense "builds off of the current generation, while taking into account the new features" according to Sony.

"We had to consider how the [new] components would fit into the hardware, without giving it a bulky feeling."

One of Sony's big challenges was making the controller "feel smaller than it really looks," and lessening the weight of the controller as much as possible.