Recent PlayStation 4 developments from the 2013 Tokyo Game Show seem to reinforcing Sony's belief that regardless of the competition, they still have the strongest controller on, or coming to the market. The DualShock 4 is as integral to Sony's marketing of their next generation tech as the console itself, and despite rumblings that the Xbox style of controller - with offset analog sticks - is the more favorable style among gamers and eSports enthusiasts, Sony believes the contrary, and are sticking with the traditional symmetric layout for their next-gen platform.
Hardware developers at Sony submit that after months of testing, they claim that parallel analog sticks are the recipe for success. In an interview with IGN at TGS, Mark Cerny of the Sony design team said "We made and tested a ridiculously broad style of controllers." He continued, "and we would actually have people play games with them." The final PS4 controller design which at its core is similar to the PS3's was actually not set in stone until the final stages of development.
The design team even went as far as to have video game developers test several different controller prototypes for feedback. Mark Cerny explains:
"We sent out prototypes to major FPS creators. We looked at the top-selling titles, if they were people we could talk to, we began sending over a stream of controllers. And we would ask them things like concavity or convexity, or trigger pressure, or trigger location, or accuracy, or the like."
By having FPS developers test these prototypes - much like they did in developing the console itself - Sony is capitalizing on a the top-selling and most-played-online genre of the current-gen systems. If the folks testing these prototypes say that parallel analog sticks are the most appealing to use for a first-person shooter, then Sony's continued differentiation on the stick front is an attempt to gain an edge on the competition. Had Sony announced that they were changing their controller design to resemble the Xbox 360/One stick layout, the criticism in an already-heated console debate would be relentless.
In addition to a similar controller layout, the DualShock 4 will include Share and Options buttons, instead of the traditional Start and Select buttons. For more on the sharing features between PS4 and Xbox One, read the latest on HDMI support and time restrictions. Do you have specific preferences based on the genre of game that you are playing? Do you think that Sony is making a smart decision implementing a similar controller design as they have in the past?
The PlayStation 4 is set to release on November 15, 2013.