Sony’s new DualSense PS5 controller, the gamepad we’ll be using with the PlayStation 5 when the next-gen console lands in late 2020, has finally been unveiled, and we’ve rounded up all the information you need to know.
The PS5 controller looks radically different from the company’s previous gamepad designs, instead sporting a new futuristic look, a white and black color scheme, and a boomerang-like shape that has divided the opinion of fans.
But regardless of whether you love it or hate it, the DualSense controller has some fantastic-sounding features that we can’t wait to get our hands on, such as adaptive shoulder button triggers with haptic feedback, a built-in microphone, and a new ‘Create’ button that replaces the PS4 Share button.
Interested to find out more? Here’s everything we know so far about the DualSense PS5 controller.
PS5 controller: key facts
- What is the DualSense? Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 5 controller
- When’s the DualSense release date? “Holiday 2020” (to coincide with the release of the PS5)
- What will be the controller’s price? TBC, but likely around £60/$70/AU$120
- Can you still use a PS4 controller on the PS5? According to PlayStation, yes
- Does the DualSense PS5 controller come in black? Sony hasn’t confirmed if the PS5 controller will come in other colors – but we’re expecting it may after launch
PS5 controller release date
Sony finally revealed the DualSense Controller to the world in a PlayStation Blog post on April 7, 2020 – giving us our first glimpse of the next-gen gamepad.
The Sony PS5 controller will release alongside the PlayStation 5 during the “Holiday” 2020 period – so sometime between October and December.
We’re expecting that the DualSense PS5 controller, like the DualShock 4 before it, will work not only on the PlayStation 5 but also with PC.
PS5 controller price
A price for the DualSense PS5 controller has not been confirmed yet, but with the PS4 controller retailing for around £40/$50/AU$80, we expect the DualSense to be just a bit more expensive – we’d predict around £60/$70/AU$120.
This is pure speculation at this point, based solely on the confirmed features and Sony’s previous price strategy for controllers. It’s likely Sony will confirm the PS5 controller price in the coming months ahead of launch.
PS5 controller features
The formal reveal of the DualSense controller confirmed what we’ve heard about the PS5 controller features for a while. Here are all the features we know about so far:
Haptic feedback will replace the DualShock 4’s rumble technology. While the rumble technology seen in the PS4 controller vibrates intensely during particular in-game events, it wasn’t particularly fine-tuned to the player’s experience.
Haptic feedback simulates touch, meaning the controller will output vibrations or movements to replicate a real-life touch experience. This aims to improve the controller’s feedback and therefore player’s immersion.
“3D audio and the haptic feedback support of the controller are also things that, when you try them, you will be surprised at how big a change they are. Even just playing the racing game Gran Turismo Sport with a PlayStation 5 controller is a completely different experience.
“While it runs well with the previous controller, there is no going back after you experience the detailed road surface via haptic control and play using the adaptive triggers.”
The PS5 controller will also feature adaptive triggers which Sony says have “been incorporated into the trigger buttons (L2/R2)”. These adaptive triggers will allow developers to program the resistance of the triggers to simulate actions more accurately.
New ‘Create’ button
There’s no Share button on the DualSense controller, but there is a Create Button, and it’ll perform the same function and more. “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,” is how Sony describes it. Expect more on this as we get closer to launch.
The PS5 controller will still feature an audio jack, too, so you can plug in your own headphones and headsets. This was tweeted in response to a user question by PlayStation project manager Toshimasa Aoki (their account isn’t verified, though, it’s worth noting):
Still have an audio jack so you can plug in your own headsets like DS4April 8, 2020
The DualSense controller will also include a built-in microphone, and Sony says you’ll be able to use this to talk with your friends online without the use of a gamepad. Of course, for folks who still want one, Sony says it will still support them.
PS5 controller design
The Dualsense PS5 controller’s design is a huge departure from previous PlayStation controllers. The gamepad sports a futuristic, minimalist design, with a shape that’s more similar to the Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
The PS5 controller design reveal included some of what the leaks predicted: adaptive shoulder button triggers with haptic feedback, a built-in microphone so you can talk to friends without having to wear a headset, and a new ‘Create’ button that replaces the PS4 Share button.
Sony has said, however, that the team made sure “to maintain a strong battery life for DualSense’s rechargeable battery, and to lessen the weight of the controller as much as possible as new features were added.”
In addition, Sony has moved DualShock 4’s LED Lightbar from the top of the controller to the surrounding of the touchpad on the PS5. It’s supposed to give the LED strip a larger look and feel, according to the company.
What’s interesting (and divisive) is the DualSense two-tone color scheme that’s black-and-white and devoid of color on the face buttons. Triangle, Circle, Square and Cross (or X) are still here, but they don’t sport their usual hues.
Sony says that this is a “radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5.” The black-and-white design is likely to extend to the PS5 console, which is different than the usual black color Sony has chosen for its console launches since the PS2.
But expect Sony to produce all kinds of colors in the years after release, as we’ve seen with every PlayStation controller going back to the PSone.
Including limited edition controllers, there are more than 30 different PS4 controller colors. There’s no reason to expect anything different with the PS5 controller color options after launch.
PS5 controller specs
As mentioned above, the DualSense PS5 controller’s look has been revealed, and we’ve learned that the controller will incorporate haptic feedback, while the L2 and R2 buttons have adaptive triggers. Full specs for the DualSense are yet to be revealed, though, including the battery life of the console.
We’ll update this section when we know the full list of PS5 controller specs.
PS5 controller rumors
Now that the PS5 controller has been revealed, we’ve updated our list of rumors below to strip out those that are no longer relevant. Given that we don’t know the exact specs of the DualSense PS5 controller, though, or its full range of functionality, we’ve kept some of the related stories we’ve heard about the last few months. If they turn out to be true, or not, we’ll adjust this section accordingly.
A patent suggests that wireless charging could be in the works for the DualSense, although no such thing was mentioned during the announcement.
Found by Saqib Mansoor of SegmentNext, the patent shows a “wireless charging adapter with game control keys for computer game controller,” and seems to show a “wireless charging adapter that can snap onto a computer game controller and can be inductively coupled to a charging base to wirelessly recharge a battery in the controller.”
The images that appear alongside the patent show what appears to be a DualShock controller with an attachment on its back that keeps the controller charged along with a charging mat, no annoying cables involved.
Patents, however, as we all know, are no guarantee. Just because a patent has been published doesn’t mean that Sony has any intention of pursuing the technology so this should be taken with a pinch of salt.
It is interesting, however, that this technology appears to be an optional extra rather than included as standard—it suggests that if Sony did opt for wireless charging capabilities it could make them available separately and maybe even later than the console’s launch.
Keeping this capability separate would also likely keep the price of the base controller lower for those not all that interested in wireless charging. There’s precedent for controller accessories, too, given the DualShock 4’s recent back button attachment.
Heart rate and sweat sensors
The PS5 controller could also tailor your gameplay based on your vital signs (again, though, nothing was mentioned about this in the official DualSense reveal).
That’s according to a Sony patent (via Respawn First) which outlines a gamepad able to use biometric feedback to monitor players’ heart rate and sweat levels, and then adjust gameplay based on its findings.
The patent’s abstract describes a “biofeedback sensor attachment for a controller”, that is made up of “one or more sensors” which gather types of biofeedback from players, such as heart rate and sweat secretion levels, with certain measurements potentially indicative of a player’s emotional state.
The information gathered would then aim to feedback the player’s likely emotional state to the controller, and influence gameplay accordingly – although exactly how this would work hasn’t been detailed. In the coming months, we should find out if this is true or not.
An unearthed Sony patent (published by WIPO and spotted by SegmentNext) describes “a controller device that is held by a user’s hand, including a microphone, a tactile presentation device that presents a tactile sense to the user’s hand, and a speaker.
“While the user is inputting voice from the microphone, the sound of the speaker is suppressed, and tactile presentation control by the tactile presentation device is performed.”
The DualSense has a built-in microphone, Sony confirmed at announcement, but voice control wasn’t touched on specifically.