PS5’s New DualSense: 4 Key Takeaways and 3 Questions

The new DualSense controller revealed.

Sony took to their PlayStation blog today to introduce to the newest member of the PlayStation family: the DualSense™ wireless controller. The new device features some radical departures in aesthetics and ergonomics with the hope of improving the controller experience on their platform.

New Name: Same Basic Functions

The DualShock™ is no more, but while the new controller has some interesting shifts in technology, the same symmetrical thumbstick layout remains, as does the usual directional pad and classic face buttons. DualSense™ will also see the return of the DualShock™ 4’s touch pad, speaker, and lights–though the LEDs have now been relocated and are no longer on the front of the device.

Share is Now “Create”

The PS4’s “Share” feature is being rebranded as “Create,” allowing “players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves.”

While Sony promises to provide more details on this in the future, we can only at best speculate if this is simply a shift in marketing language, or represents something more substantial. Could this feature tighter integration with the ever-growing popularity of photo modes found in a variety of games and functions like NVIDIA’s Ansel. First-party Sony titles seem like a great opportunity for this.

Built-in Microphones–but Headsets Are Still a Thing

According to Sony, the new “microphone array” indicates that players won’t be bound to using headsets to communicate online anymore–it also might indicate that the PlayStation 5 not ship with an earpiece similar to the PlayStation 4.

It will be interesting to speculate how headsets manufacturers will respond to this; depending on the quality of this microphone array, we may see wired or wireless headsets that drop the mic and perhaps focus the design solely on the speakers.

Sony suggests that having a headset may be better for “longer” chat sessions, so while this may be a default option, they aren’t advertising this as a complete replacement.

Haptics: Evolved

As was wildly reported and speculated on the road to this announcement, the DualSense™ will feature brand-new haptic technology that drops the motor-based “rumble” of the past in favor of a feature-set that will provide more nuanced physical response, such as the difference between “slow grittiness of driving a car through the mud” and perhaps something like a gun shot, explosion, or punch.

This extends to the R2 and L2 buttons, described as “adaptive triggers,” which can simulate “tension” and response when it comes to actions such as “drawing a bow to shoot an arrow.” It’s not clear how much this may or may not differ from the Xbox One’s “Impulse Triggers.”

Will Sixaxis Remain?

Sony’s somewhat controversial history with rumble and motion controls didn’t stop the feature from making its way to the PS4, but the announcement of the DualSense™ makes no mention of motion controls.

The feature is often reserved for novelty effects in most games, even first-party ones.

Are Headphone Jacks REALLY Dead Now?

Sony has only released images showing the new controller from two angles, neither of which really give a sense as to whether or not the device will sport a headphone jack. It’s worth noting that the Xbox Series X controller does include this rapidly-dying feature.

Has Battery Life Been Improved?

Battery life on the DualShock 4 was notoriously underwhelming. Sony claims that specific attention went into making sure the DualSense™ has “strong battery life,” but their announcement doesn’t necessarily indicate whether or not this is an improvement over the old design, or by how much.

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