Sony explains why DualShock 4 dropped touchscreen

PlayStation product planning manager says in addition to cost, developers didn't like the idea of looking down at the controller all the time.

One of Sony's DualShock 4 prototypes featured a touchscreen, but this was ultimately scrapped in the final version in favor of the touchpad because developers didn't like the idea of having players divert their eyes from the main screen during gameplay, product planning manager Toshimasa Aoki has said.

"A touchscreen was another idea that we had," Aoki told GamesBeat. "We actually tested it, but [besides cost factors], our game teams felt like having to look down at the controller is not what they want to do. They want to have the consumers concentrated on the big picture that they show [on the TV]."

Nintendo's Wii U features a touchscreen for its GamePad controller. Players can use the touchscreen to navigate menus, inventory, and maps for various games.

Nintendo asserts that the GamePad opens up entirely new methods of play, but this functionality has not been universally praised. Tekken boss Katsuhiro Harada said looking back and forth between two screens is "distracting" for fighting games.

Also in the GamesBeat interview, Aoki explained that at the very start of the design process for the DualShock 4, Sony considered "drastically changing" the controller.

"We tried out new devices, changing the form factor. We'd start from there and then try to talk to the game teams and tweak toward what the best form would be to have for those new devices," he said. "So we made, I don't know, more than 20 prototypes. Some had no buttons, just touch panels. Some were rounded. All this crazy stuff."

Sony even looked at the Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller for inspiration, Aoki said.

"For the analog sticks, we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the D-pad]," he said. "Especially from the shooter teams--we got feedback that that's what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters."

Aoki explained that Sony tested numerous combinations of analog stick placements, including two sticks at the bottom (like the DualShock 3), two sticks offset (like the Xbox 360), and two sticks at the top (like the Wii U GamePad or Pro Controller).

"When Nintendo came out with that, we were like, 'Wow, that's just like our prototype!’ That surprised us," Aoki said.

Ultimately, however, that stick placement "just wouldn't work" because it would break players' muscle memory, Aoki said.

The PS4 launches in North America on November 15 and November 29 in Europe. A DualShock 4 controller is included with every system and can be purchased separately for $60.

Written By

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

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820 comments
HipHopBeats
HipHopBeats

Seemed like a dumb idea for console gaming anyway. Unless the PS4 is a handheld. Oh wait....there's PS Vita for that.

Fate_00
Fate_00

I'll take a gamepad with an integrated touchscreen any day, over some touchpad for a good rub.

zenstrata
zenstrata

Its good to see a company finally realize that we want to be looking at the big fancy picture on the main screen when playing games at home, instead of a tiny screen near our hands.  As gamers we invest in things like a good controller, a nice big screen monitor, and a good speaker system.  It just doesn't make sense to add another tiny screen and force us to use it for random tasks in games when we have a nice big monitor right in front of us already.

Gamma_Fit
Gamma_Fit

Guyss TOUCHSCREEN, not the TOUCHPAD. Jeez....

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

The funny thing is, my friend and I partially made these improvements a decade ago. I broke a PS2 controller open because of Burnout Revenge (Fuck that fucking game and it's bullshit Formula 1 circuit - last circuit in the game, completely ridiculous) So we replaced the joysticks with Xbox controller joysticks. Granted the original Xbox joysticks are no where near as good as the 360 sticks, same concept.

It was awesome. Unfortunately I then traded it in for a GameCube and they used it as a demo model in the store. but at least we got to be like "My creation! It lives!"

Big fucking mistake that was, GameCube.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

Because your game teams thought?

Here's an idea, ask the people who matter: the customers. No one wants to look down at their fucking controller. Read all the criticisms about ZombiiU - that was one of the major things, the fact that you had to look away from the screen to use your inventory.

Ask anyone who has to type in a CD key or uplay passport or any of that shit - it's annoying having to look down and up and down and up and down and up.

StrikerXus
StrikerXus

I think the controller looks great and is a solid step forward. I'm also excited to see how they implement the touch pad into games.


Having said that, the amount of whinny, hypocritical, fan boy crap is just pathetic. Why even comment on news for a system you'd never buy and never give a chance to? They answer: You have no life. 
You all bitch about Playstation yet suckle to whatever bullcrap falls out of Microsoft's ass. This is a company who's first controller was a steering wheel and that didn't even let you watch dvds on it without buying the xbox remote and seeing how they wanted to screw gamers over with the xb1's used game and other policies kind of says they are a company that habitually looks to exploit and screw over it's fan base. The 360 was an inferior system that only really catered to shooter fans ( which is fine if that's your ONLY cup of tea I guess... though I still feel Halo is overrated) but most gamers want more. Xb1 fans are excited to have blu-ray now... Yeah, welcome to the 21st century, PS3 already had it. The more you bitch the more ignorant you seem.

In getting back to controllers, I've had all three systems and I'll admit I've always liked the PS3 dual-shock line the best. Wii was great at implementing interactive features but I like how the dual-shock is ergonomic, symmetrical, and has balanced spacing. Obviously I'm not the only one who felt like this which is why it remained so close to the original design since the PS1. I never felt any of the xbox controllers fit great to my hands and while the 360 made big improvements I felt it still was a little awkward with it's shape, clunky d-pad, the unsymmetrical analogs, and that it was easy to accidentally pause a game when jamming on the x button bc the start was so close. Not a huge fan of their shoulder buttons either (the bottom two anyways). Some people swear by it. It's not bad, but leaves something to be desired. I can't help but feel it's a bit ironic when xbox fans bitch about the dual-shock when they basically ripped off the design for their controller.

In closing, if you're open minded try each and decide for your own. If not, nobody's gonna make you, but don't bitch about everyone else than. And while I'm sure I'll be called a fanboy and accused of bitching myself, I am glad to see more people sacking up and calling out people who just cruise the forums looking to start pointless fights.

I'm very excited to see what the PS4 and the Wii U can do.

24714733
24714733

is it necessary to b a fanboy ???? and to have console wars ???? .. Y CANT WE JUST RESPET OTHERS PREFERENCES AND B OKK WID IT !!!!!?



Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

LoL Sony, I love you, but you have always ripped off Nintendo ideas come on. Even me being a sony fanboy knows it. Nintendo is the only company I know to take huge risks with the system/hardware. They brought a lot of ideas to the table and still try to be more creative than the rest. I really do love Sony, I have the PS3 and pre-ordered the PS4. I just recently picked up WII U, and I love how I have to swipe and look at the screen at times. I love swapping from tv to the gamepad without having to buy a PS vita =)

YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

Some people dig the Gamepad, others don't.  Sony decided not to go with a screen, which is understandable. Personally, I haven't had any issues using the touch screen with the game on screen. Some, such as Injustice, don't even require you to look down at all since what is displayed is a copy.

tightwad34
tightwad34

So they don't want us looking down at the controller with the touchscreen, but the touchpad won't require that? Kinda confused about that. I should probably know by now, but I don't.

joce667
joce667

Funny when they presented the PS4 without the PS4 they were all about the touchscreen , now not even a month before lauch they drop it .

Upat3am
Upat3am

Sony should be putting out tablets that can be used with the ps4. Bam finally seeing a dent in the Tablet market. It could take Co-op up to 2 tablets integrated into a new gaming experience having 3 players would bring in the social dynamic. No more sitting around and watching your friends play.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I'm glad sony skipped the touchscreen on the dualshock 4. I have the Wii U and the looking down at the second screen just is "Meh" It does not work for all games such as fighting games. Sony is wise for skipping that addition for the dualshock 4. 

the_repo_man6754
the_repo_man6754

Sony: "We tried to rip-off Nintendo for the 80th time, but we realized how much of a failure Super Sony Smash Bros. and the Move was, so we decided to cancel our touchscreen plains."

rasterror
rasterror

It's simple, Sony has a good reason for people to buy a Vita.

limbomaster
limbomaster

thats why the VITA is used as a second screan. beacause peaple dont like to look away from tv :-/

makes no sense sony. but this way you can sell a ton more VITAs as standalone. doublemarketing PRO.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

Ahahaha oh look a bunch of touchy MS fanboys whining, what a shock.

I even see some saying they don't know anyone who's getting a PS4, bullshit I know 3 people and myself and the only person I know who wants an X1 is my 10 year old nephew who wants COD Ghosts. Shows where the educated and mature gamers are putting their $

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

I agree to a degree however with a game like Shenmue the VMU is brilliant and needed.. I think that such an feature in the PS4 controller would have been good.. not that any game developer would have to utilize the feature but if ever a game could benefit than the controller could have supported it.. thats what I think anyways.. 

Luis Torres
Luis Torres

Ps4 was targeted for the mentally challenged.

nadavkra
nadavkra

hey everybody, chill out, it's getting ugly

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

"...developers didn't like the idea of looking down at the controller all the time."

Gamers don't want to either.  That's why the Dreamcast never really took off.  The problem with some companies is they keep trying to reinvent the wheel.  I even think motion sensors (let alone tracking cameras) is going too far.  In this case, they wanted to add a fifth wheel to an already working four wheeled vehicle. They need to stick to what works and make it better, not add extra peripheral crap to distract gamers. 

zenstrata
zenstrata

As another thought, this is why Microsoft's 'Smart Glass' feature on their new console is silly and pointless.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@24714733 Well mostly because someone else started it. I don't give a fuck what any of you play or own - just mind your business.

Khasym
Khasym

@Cozm1kaos You're right. Nintendo does take huge risks with their hardware. But the gaming community is the one that PAYS for those risks. When they work, Nintendo's lauded as a pioneer. But where was that pioneering spirit with the U-Force, Virtual Boy and ROB? 

For some games, a second screen can work. And a well designed game based around a second screen could probably sell. But remember for every Wii Sports out there, there's a Steel Battalion(with it's $200 controller) and a Steel Batallion: Heavy Rain(That worked f*** all with the Kinect) Sony's not interested in pumping out hardware like that.

UltraredM
UltraredM

@tightwad34 Do you have to look down at your hands when you press the triangle, x, circle, or square buttons? If you do, you probably shouldn't be playing video games.

linkspetdragon
linkspetdragon

A month before launch? It was an early prototype that had the touch screen. It's been a touch pad since it was announced.

#checkyourfacts

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@rasterror They do? It's not the games, that's for sure. Even with the PS1, PSP and Vita libraries available, and even PS2.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@mkeezay22 I know Sony fanboys and they can't even explain what they don't like about Xbox. I asked one on Friday while we were drinking and he was like "uhhh" and dodged the question. Same thing happened at the bar, this kid was like "I don't like Xbox!" but no reason why. Sony fanboys are ignorant hipster snobs, show me one with an informed opinion and I'll be amazed.

RockZillaX
RockZillaX

@mkeezay22 Im getting both.. though at this point the X1 may not be as good as a latter build.. The news of COD being in 720P is a major concern to me. Fanboyism is stupid and childish

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@RockZillaX Maybe one day Sega will stop making Sonic cash grabs and release Shenmue 3 and let me die fulfilled.

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

@Gravity_Slave How old are you? Because Dreamcast had it's install base in the US. It was Sega of Japan that pulled the plug. Read about the Dreamcast Launch kid! 

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Khasym @Cozm1kaos IDGAF what any of you say. I loved Virtual Boy. It's probably half the reason my eyes are so terrible as an adult but I stuck with that shit.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@UltraredM I guess I was thinking the touchpad and the touchscreen were still the same, but they just aren't going to use it like they would the one on the DS. Like maybe you would still have to look down if there was something going on with the screen. Or is the screen totally scrapped with no use at all?

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@UltraredM @tightwad34 Honestly, sometimes, yes.Sometimes I forget where X is on the Xbox controller because X on the PS controller is A on the Xbox controller. When I first got my PS3, after not using a PS2 for almost 10 years, I had to keep looking at it while playing God of War to make sure I knew what I was doing.

rasterror
rasterror

@Grenadeh @rasterror Playing old games are cool and all but I'm not buying something new to play old games on it and the current Vita lineup still leaves me wanting.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@RockZillaX @mkeezay22 COD Ghosts for X1 in 720p? no way already, I hope they don't try to make PS4 and X1 10 year lifecycle systems, they're already underpowered.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@mkeezay22 @RockZillaX Maybe one day Sega will actually make games again, at all. I don't even count Sonic derivations as games.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@HartPuncher @Gravity_Slave Dreamcast had popularity in the US but don't pretend it took off - it most definitely did not. The vast majority of the DC library were arcade games that played better on the arcade cabinet, not to mention that at the time, the PS still offered the same games with more reliability and PS2 was just over the horizon.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@HartPuncher @Gravity_Slave Yeh and back then most multiplayer was splitscreen so the Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit offered a lot of benefits like calling plays for football games so your opponent couldn't see.

Also the Dreamcasts end of production was a bit of a surprise since just a month earlier they released a broadband modem for online play, also the Dreamcast did take off, at the time it's debut was the biggest 24 hrs in entertainment history as far as profits go.

Believe me the VMU was not why Dreamcast failed.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@RockZillaX @mkeezay22 Well lets just hope it's a result of poor optimization and the hassle of working with new hardware (which it shouldn't be considering it's pc like architecture ) and not a sign of things to come, if the X1 can't run games at 60 fps at 1080p for it's first generation titles that's a bad sign.

profanityVP
profanityVP

@the_repo_man6754 @mkeezay22 @RockZillaX 

u know whats funny, 

every company that ever existed, has one objective, and thats to make a profit, now how they do this is determined by the market, if its viable to make quality games, then thats the way company's will go, if its more viable to make the same rehashed games year in and year out, then naturally whats what company's will do,, 


dont blame anyone else but yourself when a company reproduces the same game year in and year out, because if they werent making a profit, ie you buying it, then it would stop the cycle. 


company's dont exist to have your best interest in heart, unless it also coincides with profit for them. 

profanityVP
profanityVP

@HartPuncher @RockZillaX @mkeezay22 @Gravity_Slave 

i might be wrong, but i am pretty sure gta 3 was on the dreamcast, 


i remember renting it and thinking this was the epitomy of gaming at the time,, as i said i could be wrong since i also had a ps2 around the same time

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

@mkeezay22 @HartPuncher @Gravity_Slave I worked at Gamestop that era. Sega of America was taken off gaurd by Sega of Japan's announcement to end the Dreamcast. The reason was it didn't hit in Japan and back then Japan was thought of as the more powerful install base (how WRONG they were... cough X-Box!). Also PS2 had the WORST launch in gaming history. I WORKED IT! The only game worth a damn for a year was SSX and we had 4 returned the day after from staff because it stopped running DVDs. Then also, we had 450 pre-orders and got only 45 systems. Twasn't a good launch.