PS4 controller revealed as the DualShock 4
Sony finally confirmed the existence of the PS4 at a New York Event last night, revealing its hardware specifications and the first set of games due to appear on the console, but the star of the show was undoubtedly the DualShock 4 controller. As the only piece of hardware we actually got to see, it has given us an idea of what to expect when the PS4 launches at the end of the year.
A significant upgrade over the outgoing DualShock 3, the new controller retains the same dual-analogue stick layout, D-pad four shoulder buttons, Square, Cross, Circle and Triangle face buttons. The analogue sticks are now slightly recessed, which should provide greater accuracy over the old model, and the the underside appears to be textured to create more grip.
A Micro-USB port will charge the controller without the need for AA batteries - this is a welcome change over the Mini-USB port used for the DualShock 3, which is one of the only gadgets we keep mini USB cables around for.
It also gains several new additions designed specifically for the PS4's new features.
New Share and Options buttons replace the old Start and Select buttons, which integrate with the PS4's new social focus. With a tap, you'll be able to upload the last 20 seconds of gameplay to the PlayStation Network, saving that epic headshot or perfect round victory for your friends to watch later. They sit either side of a new touchpad, which should create new ways to play games - but will also prove incredibly useful for web browsing.
A light bar built into the rear of the controller is comprised of four LEDs, which change colours depending on the number of players in a game. Used in combination with the PS Eye peripheral, the PS4 will be able to position characters depending on where players are sitting in a room.
Finally, an integrated headset jack is built into the bottom of the controller. This is something of a departure for Sony, which has previously pushed gamers towards its Bluetooth communication headset for online chat.
Until we get one in our hands, there's no way to know whether Sony has increased the tension on its famously flimsly shoulder triggers, or swapped the D-pad for the superbly responsive one found in the Vita handheld, but our initial impressions are positive. It's evolution, rather than revolution, but with plenty of refinements that should allow for new ways to play, without restricting gamers that just want to jump into a few rounds of Call of Duty.