Though the world has yet to see what this year’s PlayStation 5 will look like (it’s still set to arrive sometime during the holidays), the folks at Sony were kind enough to unveil the thing you’ll be gripping for hours on end: the brand-new DualSense controller. How can the oringinal design of a controller be improved? Let’s have a look.

Sony’s new PlayStation 5 controller in all of its two-tone glory.

In all, we went through several concepts and hundreds of mockups over the last few years before we settled on this final design. DualSense has been tested by a wide range of gamers with a variety of hand sizes, in order for us to achieve the comfort level we wanted, with great ergonomics.

Hideaki Nishino, Senior Vice President, Platform Planning & Management

Much like the various iterations of the DualShock controller which you used to navigate past PlayStations, the DualSense slightly (some would say, vastly) improves rather than outright reinvents the classic design.

The first thing you’ll notice about the DualSense is the stark contrast of materials. In a departure from the original color scheme, they opt for a dual-color rather than the traditional solid black controller. The separation of materials gives the design a sleeker appearance, complemented by the LED lighting on either side of the touchpads.

The shape buttons (to the right) have been slightly altered as well, going from individually colored to sporting a simple grey outline. While this makes them more uniform with the overall DualSense design, it makes one consider the role color plays in controls, and more, in communicating controls.

Though you may admire the new style, you won’t be spending your time looking at the controller when you play now, will you? So what are the big design changes you’ll find when actually using the DualSense?

To start, haptic feedback has been added, allowing for “powerful sensations” which run through your fingers as you use the controller. While I’m not entirely sure how this is any different from the rumble vibration feature of the old DualShock 4 (made for the PlayStation 4), this looks to add even more immersion to your hands whilst playing.


In line with the more immersive nature of the DualSense, the L2 and R2 shoulder buttons now have adaptive triggers. Since these buttons are usually used for in-game actions like firing a gun, Sony found it apt to make them loosen and tighten according to the gameplay and your actions. In their example, for instance, drawing a bow to shoot an arrow will make the triggers more tense during the pull and loose once you set off the projectile.

We’re a fan of the new light bar location that adds both interest and mass.

The other slight button change comes in the form of the new ‘Create’ button, which replaces the DualShock 4’s old ‘Share’ button. This little nub is still found on the top left corner of the controller face and will allow players to create their own content for themselves or for others to enjoy.

This feature is still in development but very much replicates the old Share button which allowed you to take screenshots and video clips and share them on social media or with your PlayStation friends.

Last of the new features is a built-in microphone array which will let you talk to friends and random strangers without using a headset. While this is good for quick callouts, there’s still no idea how good the built-in mic actually is, and it’s better to just have a headset when you plan on talking for extended periods of time.

All of this is jam-packed into a controller which looks just a liiitle bit like a conventional white *cough* Xbox *cough* controller. Even still, the two-tone design and overall style is a breath of fresh air. The final design is currently shipping to game developers worldwide to implement DualSense compatibility into their games. Meanwhile, normal folks like you and I will have to wait until the end of the year when the PlayStation 5 is set to launch.

As you wait patiently for that day, you can read the entire press announcement over on the PlayStation website.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.