At long last, Sony has revealed the PS5 controller. Not only that, but we have a name: the DualSense. The peripheral looks a little bit like what you’d get if you mixed an Xbox One controller with a DualShock 4, but the physical design is arguably the least interesting thing about the product.
The DualSense will incorporate a variety of new features, including haptic feedback, improved trigger buttons, a built-in mic and a mysterious “Create” button.
Sony revealed the details of the DualSense in a blog post, where Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president of platform planning and management, discussed what sets it apart from Sony’s previous peripherals.
Here’s everything we know about the PS5 DualSense controller, including its colors, feature set and possible price.
PS5 DualSense features and design
First of all, there’s the physical design, which looks much more like an Xbox or Switch Pro controller than the PS4’s DualShock 4 peripheral. The DualSense has big, vertical grips and a lot of space between its D-pad and its face buttons. Like the DualShock 4, the DualSense has a large touchpad in the middle of its face, as well as dual analog sticks in parallel, rather than the staggered design that most modern controllers embrace.
In terms of button layout, it’s pretty much the same as the DualShock 4, although there’s no longer a Share button to the left of the touchpad. Instead, Sony says the button is now called Create, and will share more details about it in the future. Since the PS5 will have at least as many photo and video sharing options as the PS4, I imagine that the Create button will fill a similar role to the Share button, but for the moment, your guess is as good as mine.
More interesting, however, are Sony’s plans for the haptic feedback. On the DualShock 4, you can feel rumbles when you perform various actions in-game — a feature that has been around in some way, shape or form since the late ’90s. The DualSense will instead incorporate haptic feedback, much like you’d find on a phone screen. It’s not clear exactly how fine these sensations will be, but Nishino promises “a variety of powerful sensations … such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through the mud.”
The L2 and R2 buttons will also get a reworking in the form of “adaptive triggers.” These will be able to adjust tension based on what you’re doing in-game, such as nocking an arrow into a bow. How much of this will be physical design, and how much will be haptic feedback, remains to be seen.
The controller will also have a built-in mic, although it seems to be more for voice-search than long conversations. Nishino still recommends a good or headset for competitive multiplayer matches.
The DualSense controller appears to have a USB-C port, though Sony did not confirm this in its blog post. Considering that the Xbox Series X controller has moved to USB-C, we expect Sony to make a similar transition.
A night mode was mentioned as a potential feature for the DualSense controller, whereby certain parts of the controller would be lit up so you could see the main buttons in a dark room. Such a feature might not make it to the DualSense, but a concept design of night mode does look pretty slick.
A fresh batch of real-life photos has given us a closer look at the DualSense controller, notably the textured surface of its joysticks.
A teardown has revealed what the DualSense controller looks like on the inside and shows off how much more advanced its triggers are than those on the DualShock 4.
PS5 DualSense colors
The DualSense will have a black-and-white color scheme, which is very eye-catching at first glance. Its light bar has also been reworked from the DualShock 4 to glow out of all sides of the touchpad, making the controller’s lighting more prominent.
However, the PS5 is anything like its four predecessors, we’ll see all sorts of color variations in the controllers sooner rather than later. In fact, some creative fans have already imagined what the DualSense could look like in different shades.
I polled the Tom’s Guide crew to see what they thought of the new design, and we were pretty much split down the middle. Some think it looks sleek and futuristic; others (myself included) think it’s mostly wasted space. But we’ll have a better idea of how the DualSense functions when we get to go hands-on with it — hopefully within the next few months.
PS5 DualSense price
Sony has yet to announce an official price for the DualSense controller. The DualShock 4 currently retails for $60 to $65, and we expect the DualSense to land in a similar ballmark.
It’s also all but certain that the PS5 will come bundled with a DualSense. Sony’s console has been tipped to cost anywhere from $400 to $500 based on rumors and analyst predictions, but Sony hasn’t divulged the console’s final price yet.