What Can We Expect of the PS4 Controller?

Seb Wuepper takes a look at the future of Sony’s controllers for the PlayStation 4.

Rumor, or rather “information given to us by usually credible sources”, has it, that Sony will ditch the long lasting Dualshock controller design for the upcoming Playstation 4. The Dualshock design has been with us since the very first Playstation, bearing the same general button layout as the Super Nintendo controller of old, with added dual analog sticks and two extra shoulder buttons of course. But by and large, it is a pretty old design. But what could replace it? Maybe it’s time to take a look at the competition and where they come from.

Nintendo has been through one type of special controller per console since the days of the Nintendo 64. There was the starfighter shaped N64 controller, introducing the analog stick and later the rumble pack. Then with the GameCube things got no less weird with an awkwardly shaped (but super ergonomic) controller that should probably have had two analog sticks instead of just one. And then there was the Wii with the two-component waggle motion controller that grew over time, with add ons and security slip on rubber covers. And now the WiiU with its – again – unique touchpad controller. 

Does that mean the Playstation 4 will no longer have a regular controller? Judging by what we can see with the WiiU, I wouldn’t count on it.

Microsoft’s controller history is much more straightforward, mostly because they’re only into their second console at this time, the “Xbox 3” about to be revealed later in the year. Microsoft inherited its controller design with the designers from SEGA’s Dreamcast controller. There is a similar design philosophy in shape and button layout behind the Xbox controllers, especially with the Controller S inspired Xbox 360 pad. 

But all parties had more than just one baseline set of controllers. Nintendo’s Wii had the classic controller, a device that was really that, a classic, regular, non-waggle controller to play older games with. Microsoft, in an effort to cash in on the casual motion technology market, came up with the entirely controller-less Kinect 3D camera input device. And, well, Sony, for similar reasons, came up with the suspiciously Wii-controller like Playstation Move component controller. 

So where will Sony go from here, if rumors are true that there will be no more Dualshock? Does that mean the Playstation 4 will no longer have a regular controller? Judging by what we can see with the WiiU, I wouldn’t count on it. Nintendo is clever enough to supply the WiiU with three types of controllers from the get-go. Wii style component motion controller, WiiU touchpad controller and a souped up, dual analog stick bearing “classic” controller. I guess we can expect to see similar things happening with the PS4.