While the common gamer still has to wait around a year to get their hands on the PlayStation 5, developers have been busy getting to see what the next Sony console is made of. That’s thanks to the development kits that Sony has been sending out to select studios, which have been delving into the next-gen features of the PS5 and digging up some interesting information.
Wired got to get an exclusive look at the console recently and reported on a variety of different elements of the PS5. Buried within its coverage was an interesting mention of tech demos that are included with the PS5’s dev kit, which the publication got to take for a brief spin. These consist of a port of PS4 racing game Gran Turismo Sport and a series of short demos created by Sony’s Japan Studio, the developer of games like Gravity Rush and last year’s PSVR title Astro Bot Rescue Mission.
These demos are designed to show off the new haptic feedback technology being put into the PlayStation 5’s brand new controller, the prototype for which developers have recently gotten a hold of. For those who’ve missed out on the news there, the successor to the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller won’t simply rumble better. Its haptic motors will be capable of simulating different sensations in the controller’s triggers and thumbsticks depending on the game being played.
Wired described how this works with one of the Japan Studio demos, a quick platformer involving platforms of various surfaces. The haptics respond differently to each surface type, creating “distinct” and “surprisingly immersive” sensations of slowness when moving through sand and mud, slipperiness when walking on ice, and resistance when swimming in water. Similarly, in the dev kit version of GT Sport, it’s possible to drive on the edge of a track and feel both the dirt and the road through the controller. That’s a level of sensory detail one just can’t get with traditional rumble feedback, and an impressive showcase for the PS5’s new hardware.
This is something that Sony has wanted to do for a while now. The company even considered introducing haptic feedback early with the PS4 Pro, as something of a mid-console-cycle refresh, though that was ultimately scrapped to avoid creating a “split experience” within the PS4 community, according to product manager Toshi Aoki.
Other revealed details concerning the PS5’s controller are that it will use a USB Type-C connector for charging and come with a higher-capacity battery than the DualShock 4. This, combined with the haptic motors, does mean that the next-gen controller will be heavier than the current model, but Aoki states that it will still be lighter than the standard Xbox One controller powered by disposable batteries.
The PlayStation 5 launches holiday 2020.