The PS4 controller once had biometric sensors

2 min read


Though I personally still prefer the Xbox One controller, the PlayStation 4’s input device is quite a wonderful thing; it’s slightly larger than the current Dualshock – but infinitely more comfortable to hold. It’s got some cool features, like the built-in motion sensing lightbar (when paired with a PlayStation eye) and a touchpad – but it could have had something else entirely.

According to Mark Cerny, the fellow who was in charge of designing the PlayStation 4, the controller could have included biometric sensors that would have known how tense or excited you were while playing, and adjusted the gameplay experience to match.

"We had a long research project where we looked at pretty much any idea we could think of," Cerny explained to Stuff. "Would it help to measure the galvanic response of the skin? We tried out a tremendous number of things – and then we went to the game teams to ask them what they thought they could use from the controller."

Of course, we already knew this. In the end though, the feature was pulled and the controller was tweaked to be very natural for playing First-person shooters.

"Historically we have heard many times that our controllers have not been ideal for first-person shooters, so we wanted to make sure we had something that would be much better for that genre," he continued.

"We tested the throw of the triggers, the position of the triggers, how much pressure it takes. We looked at the joysticks, the dead spot, we looked at convexity and concavity. [It] feels extraordinarily natural."

Some of you might recall that that sounds rather similar to Nintendo’s canned Vitality Sensor, continuing the Sony tradition of copying things from Nintendo.  It’s probably a good thing, because if Nintendo decides something’s too gimmicky, you probably don’t want it in your console.

Last Updated: July 17, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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