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The PS5 Controller Myth That Turned Out To Be True

While fans are still waiting for Sony to release the much-anticipated design of the upcoming PlayStation 5, the company finally revealed its next generation gamepad. The DualShock 4 is being replaced with the two-toned DualSense controller, a surprising new look for the future of PlayStation gaming that shattered expectations.

This reveal came as something of a surprise following months of silence on the part of Sony. Ever since the announcement of the Xbox Series X's tower-like look at the 2019 Game Awards, gamers have been wondering how the PlayStation 5 might compare. Will it also try for a vertical design? Will it be bigger? Skinnier? What about controllers? How might they change for the next generation?

When players first saw the real DualSense controller, most rumors and leaks were proven to be just that: speculation and nothing more. Which lone myth turned out to be true and which suddenly couldn't hold water? Take a look.

The myth that proved true

The DualSense is sleeker overall than its predecessors. Aesthetically, the DualSense controller looks more like an Xbox controller, except for the one feature that sets it apart. Smack in the center of this altered controller is a bigger-than-ever touchpad. This increased focus on the touch pad turns out to be the one and only thing that the rumors and alleged leakers got correct. Other predictions were so radical and far-fetched, gamers didn't know what to believe.

The touch pad is highlighted on each side by unobtrusive lights that replace the usual DualShock light bar. This is likely due to the emphasis on "sense" that the DualSense offers. In the official PlayStation blog, senior vice president of platform planning and management Hideaki Nishino explained that Sony wanted to offer more haptic feedback options to developers to better support immersive design, saying, "We had a great opportunity with PS5 to innovate by offering game creators the ability to explore how they can heighten that feeling of immersion through our new controller."

Therefore, you can expect the touch pad to have increased purpose to match its increased size in next gen titles. The haptic feedback associated with this feature is meant to be more immersive than ever before, so players can really feel what's going on in the game.

The myths that proved totally false

Back when gamers really didn't know what was going on behind closed doors at Sony, the internet was rife with rumors about the next gen DualShock controller. In the months leading up to the April reveal of the DualSense, several purported Sony patents surfaced, and pictures were published claiming to be taken from inside certain game studios. These unconfirmed sources were the only thing PlayStation fans had to tide themselves over until Sony decided to officially speak up about hardware design.

Few of these rumors focused on the touch pad at all, but there was one intriguing (and official!) Sony patent for a removable touchscreen where the usual touch pad was. Yes, that says touchscreen. The idea seemed to be that this screen would allow for players to access game menus without having to pause their playthrough. While the screen was small, it would serve as a tiny but mighty resource for item management in games like God of War.

Perhaps there will one day be a DualSense controller with such a function, but for now the new controller mainly focuses on this increased haptic feedback. There were rumors that a next gen PS5 controller would feature triggers on the back of the controller, similar to the Xbox Elite controller, but instead the DualSense provides this experience through feedback from the usual triggers you've come to know.

Fans knew all about the haptic feedback focus from a Wired interview with Sony's system architect Mark Cerny (you know, the guy who talked about ear pics) back in October 2019. Even so, rumors about the possible new look for the PS5 controller abounded, and for good reason. Sony was indeed filing patents left and right for radical new designs. So why doesn't the DualSense utilize these wild ideas?

The Wired interview also has the answer. Following Peter Rubin trying out a previously unnamed DualSense prototype, a Sony spokesperson told him, "We file patents on a regular basis and like many companies, some of those patents end up in our products, and some don't." Think of it as Sony calling dibs on some of those rumored new additions to next gen controllers. For now, however, you have the bigger and presumably better touch pad to enjoy on the new DualSense.