Skip to main content

Sony unveils PlayStation 5 controller design in surprise tweet

Sony surprised gaming fans with a look at the new controller for the PlayStation 5 — and it’s not a DualShock.

The tweet comes amid a long silence from Sony on the upcoming PlayStation console, which is expected to launch for the holiday 2020 season. PlayStation also published a blog post with further details on the new controller, this time called a DualSense. The Sony console’s controllers are typically named DualShock, with a number that corresponds to the PlayStation generation it’s created for.

A first look at DualSense, PS5’s new wireless controller.

More details and images:

— PlayStation (@PlayStation) April 7, 2020

The DualSense takes much of its function from the DualShock 4 introduced with the PlayStation 4. It has a similar button layout, with a touchpad and an Options and Create button (formerly the Share button for the PS4), and keeps the joysticks together at the bottom, with a D-pad on the left and its signature action buttons on the right.

It adds new tricks, as well, like a built-in mic and haptic feedback that will give players a better tactile feel to immerse themselves in games. This means the controller won’t give off the same rumble each time and instead change based on the in-game scenario.

“DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5,” Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan said in a statement. “The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games — continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future.”

The form, however, is a significant departure for Sony. Its DualShocks have seen few changes, with the biggest jump coming in the last generation. The DualSense for the PS5, however, gets a two-toned design overhaul. The light bar, introduced in the DualShock 4, now surrounds the touchpad.

“Our design team worked closely with our hardware engineers to place the triggers and actuators,” the post from Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president of platform planning and management, explains. “The designers were then able to draw the lines of how the exterior of the controller would look and feel, with a challenge of making the controller feel smaller than it really looks. In the end, we changed the angle of the hand triggers and also made some subtle updates to the grip.”

The team worked on limiting the weight despite the new features, tried to preserve battery life, and tested the controller on various hand sizes. This last part seems especially important, as Nishino further explained that Sony wanted its new PlayStation controller to feel like an extension of the players’ hands, making it easy to forget about.

Sony did detail some features for its new propriety controller. In an interview, Ryan and system architect Mark Cerny laid out the features the PlayStation 5 controller would bring, like the advanced haptic feedback and adaptive triggers that can change the resistance depending on the gameplay.

The look of the PlayStation 5 still hasn’t been released. Ryan said the console design will be revealed “in the coming months.” But considering the dwindling time from now till launch, many players are already anxious for updates. The future is even murkier considering Sony already opted to skip gaming conference E3 before it was canceled due to concerns around the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19. So when Sony planned, or currently plans, to give information on its anticipated console is a mystery.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created rippling disruptions in the gaming and tech industries and beyond. But Sony said it does not expect the PlayStation 5 to be delayed.

Editors' Recommendations

Lisa Marie Segarra
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lisa Marie Segarra is the Gaming Section at Digital Trends. She's previously covered tech and gaming at Fortune Magazine and…
3 big things I need to see from the next PlayStation Showcase
Peter and Miles from Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

It’s that time of the year again when industry insiders are teasing that a big PlayStation Showcase will happen around June. A third-party focused State of Play happened in 2022, but now Video Games Chronicle’s Andy Robinson and Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb are both suggesting that a more first-party oriented "Showcase" could be on the way sometime during the next month, potentially during the week of May 25.
PlayStation has had a rough start to 2023, with console exclusive Forspoken garnering mixed reviews, the PlayStation VR2 impressing critics while underperforming in sales, and The Last of Us Part 1’s PC port being broken at launch. With only Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 confirmed to be on the horizon for 2023, Sony has a lot to prove during its next showcase. There are three specific things I need to see from Sony if that PlayStation Showcase does come to fruition.
Give PSVR2 purpose
The PlayStation VR2 is an impressive piece of virtual reality technology, but it lacks killer apps outside of Horizon: Call of the Mountain. New game releases for the headset have been slow since its February 2022 launch, which is likely why the $550 headset has underperformed. Sony has opted to mainly relegate PSVR2 to State of Plays or PlayStation Blog posts, but it needs to revitalize excitement for the platform by giving some of its games a spotlight in a big PlayStation Showcase.

Hopefully, there’s more on the way in terms of new AAA VR exclusives from first-party studios, as well as much-demanded ports like Half-Life: Alyx. Already announced PSVR2 games like Journey to Foundation and Synapse could also use release dates. A PlayStation Showcase is the perfect time for Sony to put out a clear road map for PSVR2’s future game library, just as the September 2021 PlayStation did for PS5. Give me a reason to strap on that headset yet again.
Flesh out the system’s 2023 exclusives lineup
PS5 needs a strong lineup for this fall as well. With the exception of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, things look pretty barren for PS5 this year after the launch of Final Fantasy XVI. Several previously announced PS5 games still lack concrete release dates and could arrive in the second half of this year. It’d be nice to get a clearer picture of Sony’s PS5 game lineup for the rest of the year; hopefully, it includes titles like Stellar Blade, the Silent Hill 2 remake, Lost Soul Aside, Death Stranding 2, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

Read more
Dreams live support is ending — and that’s a big misstep for PlayStation
Art fights a giant bird in Dreams.

Sony could’ve had its own popular proprietary game engine and metaverse. Instead, it just let it slip through its fingers.

Media Molecule is ending live support for Dreams, its highly ambitious game-creating and playing tool for PS4, on September 1. Its servers are staying online for now -- and it has a few more content updates in the pipeline before then -- but after August, there will be no new tools, ports, or events for Dreams. That means it’s not coming to PS5, PlayStation VR2, and, most critically, PC.

Read more
April’s PlayStation Plus games include a PS5 launch title and a new release
Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sony has revealed the games that are going to be part of April's batch of PlayStation Plus Essential titles, and it includes a game that was a PS5 launch title, as well as a brand new game from the developers of Dead by Daylight.
Specifically, the three games that will be available starting April 4 are the PS4 and PS5 versions of Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Meet Your Maker, and Tails of Iron. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a 3D platformer spinoff of Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet series that launched alongside the PS5 in 2020. Unlike other LittleBigPlanet games, Sackboy: A Big Adventure doesn't rely on user-generated content. Instead, it's a tightly designed cooperative platformer that functions much closer to something like Super Mario 3D World. If you are looking for that user-made content kick this month, then the other PS Plus Essential game, Meet Your Maker, will be more appealing to you.

This game from Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive is a postapocalyptic base-building game where players both build and explore player-created outposts full of deadly traps and guards. I called Meet Your Maker one of the "most original multiplayer games launching this year" after playing its open beta during Steam Next Fest. Finally, there's Tails of Iron, a fantasy side-scrolling action RPG featuring rats that should appeal to indie game and Soulslike fans. Overall, April's lineup of PlayStation Plus games feels quite diverse. Hopefully, we can say the same for April's PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium titles when they are revealed.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Meet Your Maker, and Tails of Iron will be available through PlayStation Plus from April 4 until May 1. If you haven't already, it's also a good idea to download March's PlayStation Plus Essential games -- Battlefield 2042, Minecraft Dungeons, and Code Vein -- before these three games replace them. 

Read more