PS5 Controller: The DualSense Brings Big Design Changes

The DualSense has been revealed--here are all the changes from the DualShock 4.


When the PlayStation 5 ships later this year, which is reportedly still the plan, it will come with a new controller: the DualSense. The PS5's DualSense controller is a large departure from the PS4's previous DualShock 4 design, sporting several new features including advanced haptic feedback. It's also got a new coat of paint to match the newly unveiled PS5 console design itself. Based on an insightful PlayStation Blog post, we know that the DualSense will retain what made the DualShock 4 popular while innovating in ways we haven't seen from a controller before.

Here's a quick rundown of what's new with the DualSense:

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Now Playing: The Road to PS5

  • Two-tone color design
  • Form factor
  • Light bar placement
  • Haptic feedback
  • Adaptive triggers
  • Rechargeable battery via USB-C
  • Built-in mic
  • Create button

Let's break down what each change means for the new PS5 controller, and what else we know about the DualSense, so far. If you're wondering when you can pre-order the PS5, the answer is not yet--but you can sign up for pre-order notifications now.

Two-Tone Color Design And Light Bar Placement

The most noticeable difference between the DualSense and previous DualShock controllers is its striking two-tone design. The light bar placement has also changed--instead of being located at the top of the controller, it will now sit on both sides of the touch pad. This, according to Sony, will grant it "a slightly larger look and feel."

The PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller
The PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller

New Form Factor

The new DualSense controller seems to have a slightly thicker form factor than the DualShock 4. While we don't have the exact measurements and haven't held one in our hands yet, the shape is definitely a divergence from previous PlayStation controllers. According to Sony, the angle of the hand triggers and the grip have been updated to make room for some of its new features, like the introduction of adaptive triggers.

Haptic Feedback And Adaptive Triggers

One of the earliest things we knew about the new PS5 controller is that it would make use of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. That's still true, as Sony had previously announced. In their blog post, Sony detailed the "variety of powerful sensations" haptic feedback can bring to gameplay, like "the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud." Haptic feedback is the same technology behind the Nintendo Switch's HD rumble and we know the Xbox Series X controller will make use of it as well. (Check out our comparison of the PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers.)

Adaptive triggers on the L2 and R2 buttons will introduce different levels of "resistance" with trigger presses, which can work in tandem with the DualSense's haptic feedback to make gameplay interactions more immersive. According to Sony, adaptive triggers make it so "you can truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow."

Rechargeable Battery

The DualSense uses a rechargeable battery, just as previous DualShock controllers did. This maybe isn't the most exciting news, until you learn about the next new feature, which is...

USB-C Port

That's right--the DualSense controller will boast a USB-C port for its power cable. Good news for you, bad news for your dusty old micro USB cords.

Built-In Mic

The DualSense will include a built-in mic to chat with friends without requiring a headset--though Sony still recommends using one for longer chat sessions.

Create Button

The Share button has been replaced with a new Create button, though Sony declined to share more details on how the new button is differentiated from the Share functionality. It simply says, "we're once again pioneering new ways for players to create epic gameplay content to share with the world, or just to enjoy for themselves." More detail on that is said to be coming closer to launch.

...And More?

We'll continue to update this story as we learn more about the new PS5 controller. For now, here's what Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan had to say about the DualSense.

"DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5," said Ryan. "The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games – continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future. To the PlayStation community, I truly want to thank you for sharing this exciting journey with us as we head toward PS5’s launch in Holiday 2020. We look forward to sharing more information about PS5, including the console design, in the coming months."

For more, we've rounded up the visual history of PlayStation controllers so you can see how the shiny new DualSense fits into Sony's legacy. Don't forget to also check out our guide to the PS5's technical specs and what we know about the PS5 so far.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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