The PlayStation 4 controller has a “triple role”

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PS4 CONTROLLER 1

There’s a lot that we still don’t know about the upcoming Playstation 4 console. Such as final pricing, availability or what it even looks like. Which means that come Christmas time, one over-eager child is probably getting a TV game machine as an accidental gift instead. Heh. What we do know though, is that the console has a controller. And it’s a controller with plenty of features apparently.

Speaking to Edge, SCEI Worldwide Studios President Shuehei Yoshida described the controller as having gone through a massive upgrade, in terms of look, feel and technology. A process that it shared with the PS Vita.

“This is as a result of the new process we developed with SCEI. Basically, the PS Vita went through the same process before the actual PS4,” Shuhei said.

So because PS Vita was targeted to launch in 2011, and because portable is like designing a controller itself, we went through many, many iterations of PS Vita. So we just continued on the same process.

When we started designing the PS4 the people at SCEI already were very familiar with the vocal creative people in our different [firstparty] studios. So the process for designing PS4, the discussions with SCEI hardware engineers and the Worldwide Studios game designers and some of the tech people were pretty much similar to [those that happened in Vita development].

So there were suggestions for improvement for DualShock 3 and some completely new ideas came from different groups, such as adding touch, as all saw the advancement of gaming on smart devices. So that was more game design side idea. And the adding of the light bar, I think, came from Rich Marks’ group, who helped develop PS Move.

PS4 CONTROLLER 2

Part if this upgrade will also be seen in the LED components of the controller, which will be more closely tied to the games being played with it. “The light-bar doesn’t require the camera to function. It’s just a different way of identifying the player,” Shuhei explained.

In terms of using the LED [as in the Dualshock 3, with] numbers like 1, 2, 3 and 4, it looked a bit odd. The SCEI people wanted some smarter way of doing it, and the use of a full-colour LED came up. And of course, as Rich’s teams pointed out, other than the depth that required the use of PS Move, identifying the precise 2D location of the player can be [done] by camera, if we put the LED bar on the controller.

So it has a dual – or it could be a triple – role because game designers could use it for some effect. Like when [players are] losing HP, the colour could change from green to red. Like in the Killzone demo, if you were watching Steven playing, [that game] has that function already.

People were watching the main screen, but Steven was facing the audience, showing how the light bar colour changes as he was hit by the enemy; as he lost hit points the colour was changing from green to red. And when he used the health replenishment, it went back to green.

Personally, I’m just happy that Sony is finally coming out with something new that I can cradle in my sweaty hands. I’m not saying that the current Dual Shock controller is bad, but it is clearly behind in terms of ergonomics and style. The PS4 controller looks like a much better fit so far, and with small things such as LEDs adding a little something extra to the game, it could be benchmark controller for the next generation of gaming.

Last Updated: May 6, 2013

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