Sony has officially announced the DualSense controller, the next-gen gamepad we’ll be using with the PlayStation 5, when the console releases in late 2020.
And while the PS5 controller’s unique look has split fan opinion, the announcement gave us a handful of details about interesting features the gamepad offers, including haptic feedback, a built-in microphone and a new ‘Create’ button.
But what we’re more interested in is what Sony didn’t tell us. The DualSense PS5 controller is the first major hint we’ve had of what the PS5 will look like – and other potential PS5 features that Sony may have hidden up its sleeve.
So, we’ve put together a list of the biggest PS5 design clues we’ve spotted from the DualSense controller announcemnet, including what the PlayStaton 5 could look like and Sony’s potential priorities next generation.
A black and white color scheme
What’s immediately striking about the DualSense controller is its new design; and, in particular, its color scheme. Apart from the gray original PlayStation, Sony has always opted to make the standard PlayStation editions matte black – offering color variations and designs at a later date.
However, the DualSense is two-tone white and black. The gamepad is primarily white, with black triggers, L1 and R1 buttons, analog sticks and a black underbelly.
To date, PlayStation controllers have always matched their console counterparts – it would be odd for this not to be the case. This suggests that we could see a two-tone white and black PlayStation 5 console, similar to the controller, with the console itself boasting a primarily white design with black lining or sections.
Alternatively, Sony may offer two color variations on the PS5 from launch – a black version and a white version. However, this doesn’t seem likely.
Sony’s going futuristic
Not only is the DualSense controller’s color scheme different from what we’ve seen in previous PlayStation gamepads, but its overall shape and design is also a huge departure.
Sony has gone futuristic with the DualSense’s design – with fans even comparing the controller to famous film droids and robots – suggesting that we’ll see something similar in the design of the PS5 console.
While we know that the PS5 won’t look anything like the dev kits we’ve seen so far, the alien-futuristic design may be in the right vein. The controller is white (as we’ve discussed) but looks pretty simple and sleek. With a boomerang-like rounded shape, no definition in the button colors, and a blue light on either side of the touchpad, it looks like Sony is aiming for a minimalistic, futuristic design for the PS5.
As we pointed out with the color scheme, PlayStation controllers often match their counterpart consoles, so we can expect a similar minimalist design for the PS5 – likely with blue lighting, slightly rounded edges and little definition when it comes to buttons and ports.
More focus on creation
Sony has done away with the DualShock 4 controller’s ‘Share’ button for the DualSense. Instead, the button has been replaced by a new ‘Create’ button.
“With Create, we’re once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves,” Sony said in its announcement.
While the company says it isn’t revealing further details until closer to launch, we’ve got a couple of ideas about what it could be for. We know that Sony loves photo modes in its games, which is unsurprising given how gorgeous PlayStation exclusives tend to be, but it’s possible that this button could be an extension of that, allowing players further control over photo modes and videos, so they can more easily share their adventures.
However, it’s also possible that Sony may be following Microsoft’s footsteps in becoming more streamer-friendly, with the ‘Create’ button jumping to content creation options that may be used by streamers. But we’re not sure they would put this kind of option right on the controller unless the company is doing a big push into content creation – which we doubt is the case.
A mature, bolder look
Over the years, PlayStation has grown alongside its community. Where once the company focused on being “family-friendly”, PlayStation has matured and tends to focus on an older audience than the likes of Nintendo.
With the specs of its next-gen consoles likely comparable with a gaming PC, in the first instance Sony is likely to target older players who want to see what modern games tech can do and are happy to spend big to get it – and the DualSense’s look suggests the console’s design will reflect that.
With each iteration, PlayStation consoles’ design has become more mature and bold – and the PS5 could be the most mature yet. A sleek and futuristic design would help the PS5 be seen no longer as a toy, but as a gaming machine – the epitome of modern design.
More focus on multiplayer games
Sony may have said its going to continue its focus on narrative-led single-player games, but it looks like the company is also aiming to improve multiplayer experiences.
The DualSense has both an audio jack and a built-in microphones, which should allow PS5 users to communicate (and play) with friends more easily. We also know that the PS5 will support the launch of direct gameplay, which will allow players to jump into a game’s matchmaking from their home screen, without having to boot up the entire game.
A USB-C port
It’s a small detail but we know now that the DualSense controller will charge via a USB-C port. But that also means that you may be able to charge other devices, such as your phone, from your PS5 console. It’s the little things.
Haptic feedback will set it apart from Xbox
One of the DualSense controller’s key features is haptic feedback, which will provide “powerful sensations” when you play games. When you drive through mud, the controller will mimic the sluggishness of the vehicle through touch. The DualSense also has adaptive triggers, which means you should feel the tension as you draw a bow and arrow.
It seems that this feature is something Sony thinks will set the PS5 apart from the Xbox Series X – and it’s probably right.
“Based on our discussions with developers, we concluded that the sense of touch within gameplay, much like audio, hasn’t been a big focus for many games,” Sony said in the controller announcement.
While the Xbox One controller does have haptic feedback to some degree, the company hasn’t done much to utilize this, which only a handful of games actually using the feature well.
From what we know so far, the Xbox Series X controller doesn’t appear to have haptic feedback – not that Microsoft has revealed anyway.