Sony’s latest iteration of the DualShock controller may look extremely similar to its predecessor, but it could have all been entirely different if today’s report is true. The controller that will accompany Sony’s PlayStation 4 looks and feels like a natural progression to previous DualShock hardware, but things could have been radically different if the early DualShock 4 design prototypes had made it through to the final launch.
Sony’s Product Manager – Toshimasa Aoki – has spilled the beans on the early stages of the PlayStation 4 project by telling us all that his design team wanted to start from an entirely clean slate when designing the PS4 controller.
We all know by now that the finished DualShock 4 controller looks remarkably similar to previous iterations of the hardware, but that so nearly wasn’t the case. As part of the design and development process we now know that Sony built and trialed controllers that were entirely touch-screen based as well as an option that allowed the user to actually change the location of the touchpad. The form factor of the controller was also something that was put under a lot of scrutiny by the team during the first design phase.
In addition to considering the whacky touchscreen options, the team involved also seriously considered doing away with the tried and tested location of the analog-sticks and moving them to the top of the controller. Gamers who own a Nintendo Wii U will more than likely be familiar with that configuration from the accompanying Wii U Pro Controller. As you would imagine with any design major design process, the team was always taking onboard internal and external feedback, leading to the DualShock 4 we see today being built in a very familiar way.
Sony will be more than aware that every design and manufacturing decision and u-turn will ultimately change the way a certain set of users think about the end result. The ultimate goal is to produce a product that appeals to the majority to ensure commercial success in the marketplace. There will always be a set of consumers who embrace innovation and want to see companies pushing the limits with their products, but we imagine that the majority of PS4 gamers will be more than happy with the traditional controller approach that Aoki and his team opted for.
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