FPS devs helped design DualShock 4

"We sent out prototypes to major FPS creators," says Cerny

PlayStation's lead system architect has revealed that first person shooter developers had a say in the design of the console's controller, the DualShock 4.

"We sent out prototypes to major FPS creators," Mark Cerny told IGN.

"We looked at the top-selling titles, if they were people we could talk to, we began sending over a stream of controllers. And we would ask them things like concavity or convexity, or trigger pressure, or trigger location, or accuracy, or the like."

He called the input "extremely helpful."

The DualShock 4 features a new touch pad, new colour LEDs, a Share button, a built in speaker and new ergonomic shape, but has held onto its parallel joysticks.

"We made and tested a ridiculously broad style of controllers and we would actually have people play games with them. And the current controller design came out of that. We did indeed conclude that the two joysticks on the same level works perfectly well. That did come out of our testing."

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Latest comments (12)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
I agree two joysticks on the same level works perfectly well, but I prefer them on the top level i.e. Nintendo's recent designs in the GamePad and Pro Controller. I feel that's more natural by a long way.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard4 years ago
I grew up with the Dualshock, was molded by it. I didn't see an Xbox controller till I was a man... Sorry, that kind of got away from me there. Point is, I love the Dualshock because I'm used to it. So I'm glad they didn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. The DS4 is a joy to hold in my opinion. However, most of my Xbox friends are totally set that asymmetric sticks are the only way to go, maybe this will convince them otherwise, but I doubt it.
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Jason Avent VP, Studio Head, NaturalMotion4 years ago
I felt that the strongest thing about the Wii+nunchuck controller was that you could put each of your hands wherever they lay. I don't know why next gen controllers don't do a bit more of that kind of innovation. Make controllers more comfortable. Allow you to move around a bit more to avoid discomfort in the shoulders, forearms, hands and fingers during long play sessions. Holding your hands on your lap with fingers suspended over buttons - some of which you have to stretch to, shouldn't still be part of controller design. The human body should be constantly moving subtly. Ask a physiotherapist.

Why can't stick and button positions be customisable to fit different sized hands or even different control methods? Like reach and tilt on a steering wheel or seat position in a car. We spend so long using these devices, they could be much better suited to us.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jason Avent on 20th September 2013 3:55pm

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Show all comments (12)
Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis4 years ago
Hate the dual shock, the analogue sticks are in the wrong place. I get hand cramp using them for any period of time.
Dreamcast/Xbox/360/Xbox One realised that and moved them to the right locations so makes them better controllers for FPS titles as the controller just rests in the hand rather than grabbing and reaching across to an analogue stick.
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Antony Carter Senior Programmer, Epic Games4 years ago

But shooters requires thumbs on both sticks all the time so surely you're "grabbing and reaching across to an analogue stick" with your right hand all the time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Carter on 20th September 2013 4:33pm

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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
I agree with Jason actually, though I'm happy to see some improvement in the design...
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
I had a PS1 dual shock a good 5 years before I ever layed my hands on an Xbox controller "s". While I always liked the dual shock for platformers and adventure games, theres really no substitute for an Xbox controller when playing FPS or racing games. The triggers are positioned perfectly for shooting and acceleration. And it goes without saying that the offset analog sticks are much more comfortable than being side by side.

This is the reason why you can go into any Best Buy, Walmart, Target or Toys R Us and find third party controllers for the PS3 where the analog sticks mimick those of the 360 but you can't go into any of those stores and find third party 360 controllers that have analog sticks mimicking the PS3. Not everyone prefers the 360 analogs over the PS3's but from my experience most people who own both systems(such as myself) do. And thats why I use a third party Power A controller when playing FPS games on my PS3 because the regular dual shock 3 sucks for FPS games.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
I've never figured out the thing with asymmetric sticks, either. Our hands are symmetrical; surely that should lead to a symmetric controller.

I'm much more a fan of the PS3 controller than the Xbox controller, with the exception of the triggers. (I use third-party clip-on trigger extensions that fix my issue with those.)

And @Paul Jace, the triggers generally aren't used for aiming and shooting on the PS3, the buttons above the triggers are, because they're more comfortable given the shape of the controller. The 360 controller has a shape that works the other way around.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Paul: I'll agree that Power A makes excellent PS3 controllers that mimic the 360 pad layout, but they NEED to do something about those face buttons because they have the tendency to "stick" after heavy use and make some games unplayable when you suddenly keep jumping or doing something else until you get that button un-jammed.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
@Curt--Most PS3 FPS games allow you to customize the controls so before I started using my third party controller I always made R2 my trigger button instead of R1. I still don't find either particularly comfortable but R2 always felt alittle more natural for me.

@Greg--The face buttons on my Power A controller didn't have a sticking problem but they are pretty stiff compared to first party pads. But thats an ok trade off for me because of how much better the analog stick placement helps. If I played these fps games on PSN more than a few times it would probably bother me more though.

While the Power A controllers are nice, you still run into the problem of PS3 games that were designed for the dual shock 3. Which means that there are times during a game(Killzone 2 or Resistance for instance) where I have to pause and turn on my dual shock 3 for a particular section that needs motion sensing in order to move on. I find that annoying but it is what it is.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 4 years ago
I think I must be the only person who posts about this sort of stuff on the internet who has no problem with either the 360 or PS2/3 controllers.

I think the only thing I didn't like on the 360 was the cheap direction pad but so few games utilised this anyway it wasn't much of a problem.
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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 4 years ago
I think the point of asymmetry on the sticks makes a little more sense when you consider the amount of work each thumb is doing (and the space needed).

Your left thumb typically focuses on using the analogue stick as use of the D-Pad is quite infrequent. Compare that to your right-thumb which has to use the stick and facial buttons (facial buttons are used considerably more frequently than the D-pad).

When you take that into account having a small circle of motion to move your thumb (between stick/buttons) on the right side of the controller isn't such a good idea. By moving the stick inwards that range of motion between stick and buttons is actually changed, leading to less stress on the points of the thumb as you don't have to bend your thumb so much as slide it across.

To be fair though neither the amount of stress from moving your right hand inward (360) or slightly bending your thumb to access the facial buttons (PS3) is really significant enough to impact comfort all that much.
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