PS4 controller's lightbar purpose was originally Morpheus VR tracking

Sony says the DualShock 4's lightbar was actually designed as a tracking device for virtual reality headset Project Morpheus.

Sony originally designed the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 controller with virtual reality in mind, and that's the reason why it has a lightbar. Speaking with TechRadar, Sony senior designer Jed Ashforth said, "The tracking light… it was our department that said we need that on," he said. "It was for tracking for VR."

The PS4 was released six months ago, and Sony began talking about the system and showing off the controller even before that. This meant Ashforth and the rest of his team had to keep quiet about the real purpose for the DualShock 4's lightbar, even as fans began to wonder.

"When all these things were coming out six months ago and everyone was going 'it's reflecting in my TV,' we were going 'oh no' because we couldn't tell anyone what it was for," he said.

Sony finally announced its PS4 virtual reality initiative, Project Morpheus, during the Game Developers Conference in March.

The DualShock 4's lightbar can be dimmed, but you can't turn it off, at least not yet. Right now, the lightbar's functionality is fairly limited. It works in conjunction with the PlayStation Camera as a tracking beacon. When multiple gamers are playing together, the lightbar will designate each player a color (blue, red, green, pink) depending on the order in which they press the PlayStation button.

The PS4 launched in November 2013 and has sold over 7 million consoles to date.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
177 comments
kgallis21
kgallis21

Good move sony thinking ahead

zakaweb
zakaweb

Makes sense to me.  A huge light bar that for some technical reason beyond our understanding can't be turned off?  And designed for a technology that is being developed, will be completely optional and most probably won't ever use.  Someone at Sony is being very stubborn about the light bar off setting.  

karis967
karis967

And some people are being pretty stubborn about getting it turned off. The controller has a light bar on it. Its part of the design. Get over it. You can dim it down now

zakaweb
zakaweb

@karis967  I'm not in love with Sony so I'm not going to defend any criticism of your beloved console child .  This light bar is ridiculous and you can bet there will be an update that allows us to turn it off.  When you grow up you will see that it's ok to have an opinion that suggest a change rather than going through life getting over things you notice are in need of adjustment or change. 

KiriharaZro
KiriharaZro

"Project Morpheus will be out in 2017, just in time for the launching of PS5 but will be only compatible with PS4"


.-Sony "dont care ur opinion"

Silverspeed85
Silverspeed85

I haven't quite decided if I'm excited about Morpheus, or not. Just have to wait and see what develops.

karis967
karis967

Never even notice the light bar reflecting in the tv. Your all crying for nothing. If you aint interesred in VR dont buy into it. Im hoping they manage to pull of something spectacular and put the nail in the coffin of microsoft. Teach em a lesson for being so cocky and and tryin to screw everyone over with there always online and if you aint tough luck attitude

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@karis967 Not sure what was worst there; your understanding that if you don't notice a reflection on your TV nobody should (Like if there was only one model) or that fact that your wish for a game company to disappear (what kind of gamer wishes that?)

Talk about being Cocky...

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Man I'm actually sick of hearing about "VR" at this stage. I wish it would hurry up and fail already so we can put it out of our minds.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

@Dannystaples14  Yup, just another gimmick. Virtual reality ( Neo's  training exercises in the Matrix 1 or the holo decks of star strek) are decades if not a century away.

hardrockr79
hardrockr79

And we were supposed to have flying cars by now. If you think we're EVER turning in to Neo I feel sorry for you.

karis967
karis967

What about the island. That would be good though maybe a bit too active

Vodoo
Vodoo

I still don't get what the big deal is with turning it off. They should've left it off unless you plugged in a camera or a morpheus.

VR tech sucks! It's not even close to the level of immersion that gamers would expect. Turning the camera with your head and calling it VR is about the extent of it. But they say there's a sucker born every minute. And that's what Sony and Oculus are counting on.

They already have these ignorant fools in the gaming media fooled, well, a lot of them anyway, and they're relying on the media to fool the consumer. I've used this tech and it's nowhere NEAR the level of quality and immersion that these pleebs make it out to be. It's the next 3D, nothing more. But 3D is cooler if implemented correctly.

SpLiTMaN
SpLiTMaN

@Vodoo  vr tech sucks????? There are no VR tech's even released dude...an occulus dev kit is exacly that a dev kit you can't actualy judge it cuz its not a complet product and since no one's ever gonna be buying an occulus since the facebook boycot these systems are still a long way aways...your judging a baby before its even out of the woumb man...

bafalcon
bafalcon

@Aaronp2k @SpLiTMaNI hope you are not serious about comparing Virtual boy to actual Virtual Reality. That is not even remotely close to what virtual reality is

Ayzed
Ayzed

so stupid there's no option to turn it off... or atleast give us 3 meter USB cables.
I ended up buying one on ebay because I could not find one locally that was longer than 1 meter..
I got tired of the PS4 controller running out of battery after like 4 hours, and then if I wanna keep playing, I have to sit on my fucking coffee table inches away from my fucking TV because the controller cable is too fucking short..

Don't get me wrong I love my PS4, but where is the logic in giving us a short as fuck USB cable with the console and next to no battery life for the controller? come on Sony...

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@Ayzed  That has always been my issue with Sony. They do it right....kind of. It has always seemed like they don't have much of an eye for details.

Like I've just got a cheap PS3 for the first time to play some exclusives and I've realised that they don't even let none PS+ members save games by cloud. 

I mean for god sake Sony! Talk about living in the past.

nightshift2032
nightshift2032

@Ayzed Wow dude you take the usb plug and sit by a power outlet and charge and play its USB any wall charger works the ps4 is to much for your small mind go sell it and get a xbone.

noncasualgamer
noncasualgamer

Nintendo has a 3 meter cable, a better standard controller, no gimmicks, and 60+ hours of battery life. Should have went 'Pro'.

noncasualgamer
noncasualgamer

Or they could have not completely fucked up their controllers since the playstation. But you were to young for that.

Ayzed
Ayzed

@hardrockr79 they sell controllers without a battery draining light bar do they? genius?

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Project Morpheus will eventually work with Playstation 4? That is good if Sony does get around to releasing the VR system. At least the light bar will have a purpose

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

I hope they release a non light bar optional controller. 


Project Beast >

deadpen
deadpen

now it is just a light.

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

well hopefully the option to turn it off will come out for the lightbar.

shoguntake
shoguntake

"Another lie by Sony"

Oh wow how could they deceive our so-easily trusted mines with such lies! The lightbar has ruined my life! Those liars at Sony don't deserve my money so I'm going to by an XBone with TV controls and universal remote selections and stuff..

Vodoo
Vodoo

He was being sarcastic.

Ensabuhnur
Ensabuhnur

I thought it was there to drain the battery

sandman338
sandman338

I've been reading the PS4 articles today and I'm getting pissed.  For Drive Club I will lose access to my PS+ content if I don't continue to have PS+?  Now it looks like I'm going to need a PS Eye to use VR if and when it comes out?  So Sony is telling me that I need a to get something that I laughed at MS for forcing people to have, both the camera and an 'always on' connection?  Yes, I know that it's not actually an always on connection but how would my Playstation know that I have PS+ if it doesn't make periodic checks online?  This sucks!  Let's not forget that I lose my 'free' PS+ games on PS3 also if I stop paying Sony my monthly dues!

Kegluneq
Kegluneq

@sandman338  Why are you paying Sony monthly for PS+?  It's significantly cheaper to get a whole year in one go.

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

I have not once been bothered by the light bar and I have a 60" Plasma that is highly reflective. I suppose it depends on the angle and location of the TV and where you sit/stand/lay/hang/chill. I simply love the controller, by far the most ergonomic controller I've ever held in my hands. Love it!

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

It deadset isn't an issue. Right now it's just a waste of battery life as I see it.

VegasAceVII
VegasAceVII

@Devils-DIVISION  I agree; it really isn't that serious but I am antsy to see what the point of the fucking thing is at some point.

Halloll
Halloll

so there won't be a light saber update after all, heartbroken.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

My room-mate rushed out to get a PS4, the light-bar was one of the first and the most constant complaints. And his answer after a few months of being annoyed was: Electrical Tape over the light-bar. Lol, I'll wait another 6 months until they get it all sorted. And the price drops more.

nameaprice
nameaprice

@CruiserCaptain Thats a smart move. I LOVE my PS4 but to be honest I SHOULD have waited until more games come out and a price drop :-/ but hey at least im ready when they do :P

blackzio
blackzio

@nameaprice @CruiserCaptain  still trying to get that to work. i can only do remote play with the ps4 in my brothers room and me in my room (different routers and it worked). Care to share some tips? 

nameaprice
nameaprice

@CruiserCaptain though playing on my vita with remote play at work more than 50 miles away is pretty badass :D