Report: Sony ditching DualShock for next console

PlayStation maker's next controller could include touch screen, biometric sensors

The DualShock form factor has been a Sony standard since the days of the original PlayStation, but it seems Sony is looking to move beyond its iconic controller. Citing a senior developer working on a Sony game and a second source with ties to the hardware maker, CVG is reporting that the controller for Sony's next console will mark a departure from the DualShock design.

According to the senior developer, Sony has been testing versions of its new controller with biometric sensors built into the hand grips, as well as an LCD touch screen. The site's non-development source said Sony was "trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita" with its next-gen controller.

Sony tried unsuccessfully to move away from the DualShock before. When it first unveiled the PlayStation 3 at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony showed the console with a boomerang-shaped pad. By the time E3 2006 rolled around, Sony had decided to instead launch the system with the SixAxis pad. The SixAxis borrowed the form factor of the DualShock and added wireless and tilt-sensing functions, but removed its predecessors' vibration features. The rumble would eventually be added back in to the controller when it was re-released as the DualShock 3.

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Latest comments (15)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
Perhaps they are going to bring the boomerang/banana controller back with a cell phone sized LCD screen placed on top.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 18th January 2013 11:44pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
If you know the game is trying to manipulate your levels of tension based on biometric readouts, will you still be affected? Will average heart rate replace metacritic?
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
Pretty much anything would be an improvement. It's the main reason my PS3 has never been anything more than a Blu Ray/Netflix player, apart from a few exclusives where I had no choice. I've never found a way to hold that thing comfortably.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dave Herod on 19th January 2013 12:52am

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Justin Trautmann Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology, Hillsborough Community College5 years ago
Sony has a lot more work to do than just on their controller - but this is a real nice step forward. I always felt like the Dual Shock 2 was just waiting to be twisted the wrong way and snap in half. It also had the angles and comfortablility of the original NES controller. Hip and nostalgic? Sure - but if I wanted to relive the '80s I would just queue up some Poison and Rick James on my iTunes.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
Its about time they had a shakeup.

Even Ouya with the touch pad presents an interesting idea. LCD sounds good, with multi-touch. Some kind of 'vitality sensor' built into the control could be interesting for guaging player's emotions or reactions.
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Jeremy Gifford5 years ago
Having an LCD screen on a controller sounds cool but in reality I'd rather make due with a passive controller. A screen on a controller is ultimately a gimmick, usefulness really limited to the novelty of it. More drain on battery life, weight, and (the big one for me) cost. Controllers are already $50 a pop; do you really want to pay $100 for one and $400 for a set? Oh by the way, what happens when those friends of yours rage out and throw the controller against the wall?
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Rodney Smith Developer 5 years ago
That's really going to screw up my muscle memory!
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Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London5 years ago
"Hell... it's about time."
- Tychus Findlay
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
I really hope this isn't true, the last thing we need is an entire generation of consoles built around expensive, gimmicky touch screen and motion controllers.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago

Whatever is coming should be an OPTION, not a mandate. Leave us old farts alone who WANT analog controls, ditch the motion sensors because everyone looks like a dope tilting a controller around like a hot pretzel glued to their hands and hey, small LCD/LED/OLED screens are harder to read for some of us older farts who still game.

That and hell, speaking of control options with small screens, why not just get it over with and sync the Vita up as a potential controller option for those of us who have one? As it is, that next controller will be seen as "copying" Nintendo by a few too many analysts even if it's more or less a budget-priced Vita reworking...

...which by the way might be an idea: a Vita-like "shell" that's basically a screen, controllers and all onboard storage (NO stupid memory cards!) so players can download and take content with them outside the home (as in take that, Nintendo). Ditch the bottom touch screen (or make it take up less space), add bigger analog sticks and shoulder buttons, price it at around (eek) $80 or so and that's that.

Or maybe not - we shall see.

@Dave Herod: come on, now - with all the third party options for PS3 pads that are designed differently that the stock DS3, you can't find ONE that will work for you?
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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek5 years ago
Even if they don't really like the idea, their hand might be forced by nintendo. While the WiiU isn't the same breakthrough success as the original Wii, they surely won't risk going up against a novel input scheme with their traditional controllers again. It hasn't worked for them last time and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Of course this is assuming they haven't already thought of a much cooler input scheme than nintendo.
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Rob Jessop R&D Programmer, Crytek5 years ago
Tom I have to disagree (long time no see, by the way). Resident Evil 4 worked very well on the Wii as a 'proper' game. I recently completed Okami HD using PS Move and that made it so much better than using a pad, not just for drawing but for combat too. Killzone 3 proved to me that you can add good Move support to a core title and have it work well. The accelerometer and tilt sensors in the Vita work fantastically for Gravity Rush, much better than using the sticks.

I'm glad they're trying to push the boat out with this kind of thing.
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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek5 years ago
@Tom If you look at games exclusively developed for the Wiimote made by top-tier developers, you can definitely see that the control scheme works and doesn't have to be detrimental. I have to agree with you that due to the sheer volume of shovelware and bad ports on the Wii, these experiences were probably more the exception than the norm.

The problem with the Kinect or Move was of course that there were barely any core games tailor made for them without compromise, because they didn't come in the box and weren't a baseline feature.
So you can't really dismiss motion controls based on what sony and MS have put out. When they will put them in the box and all their devs make games for them, then would be the time to judge.

I also think the WiiU controller is a good example of a new control scheme that still retains the feel of a traditional controller, the only thing it's lacking is analogue triggers. If sony were to take a DS3 and slap an OLED display on it, it wouldn't be too much of a departure from the usual design.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Yep, I'd agree with some of the others. I'm USED to my controller. Fine, introduce alternatives if you like, but allow the current ones to be used.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
The main problem with "slapping an OLED screen" on the controller is that it increases its cost. Controllers aren't cheap to start with, and you can bet that the Gamepad would cost significantly more than any other console controller .. if Nintendo even sold them separately.

Wii U just about gets away with this because the pad comes with the console, the console only supports one pad (well, two in theory), and everyone else uses Wii Remotes. But if you made something like the Gamepad the sole controller for your console, the cost of buying more than one of them to allow any kind of local multiplayer would be prohibitive for most users.

Personally I think Sony's best bet would be to stick with the Dual Shock (or something similar), maximise the hardware specs / minimise the costs, and appeal to the core gamer market. Combined with free online multiplayer, PlayStation Plus, and arguably the most competitive digital pricing of the big three, plus a willingness to experiment with f2p, cheap app-style games, and other business models / price points, it could be an excellent value proposition.

Meanwhile Microsoft and Nintendo have to compromise on something (price, hardware and/or margins) to ship a big expensive controller with their console (the Gamepad for the Wii U, an assumed next gen Kinect for the next Xbox).

As for touch screen controls, Sony could just let people use their Vita, smartphone or tablet as a controller for certain things. They already have a patent for using a smartphone to control a game, IIRC, and a handful of PS3 games can already be controlled with and/or streamed to a Vita. Making that a universal feature for PS4 and improving its performance and reliability could make the Vita a more attractive option too, especially if they can bring the price down. I'd certainly consider buying one if it meant I could play all my console games while my wife's hogging the TV watching Big Brother. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Bye on 21st January 2013 5:04pm

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