Thursday, February 14, 2013

People Seem to Think This Might Be the DualShock 4

Or at least something like this.  This is an early prototype of the eventual DualShock 4 (I mean, I assume that's what the name will be) that has been used for dev kits and such, according to some sources after Destructoid posted up the article with said image.  So, being that it's a dev kit version, and an early one at that, the probability of the final controller looking like this (though admittedly shinier) is quite low.  Yet, I'm certainly more willing to put this as the potential next controller for the PS4 over some other rumors that are floating around out there, directly conflicting with this one.  As I've said before, we are into that phase of things wherein people just really want to have those delicious, delicious page-hits, so some folks out there just sort of make things up.  Now I'm not saying anyone made anything up here, but with something as absurd as a controller with no analog sticks, well, I am in fact heavily implying it.

There are a few oddities with this prototype, however, which point to it being an early design even before it was labeled as such.  The first and most egregious, I think, is the complete lack of Start and Select buttons, or at least the lack of them in a sensible place.  It's hard to make out in this shot, but if you -can- make it out, there are two buttons on either side of the big touchpad that closely resemble that of the start and select buttons.  One can only assume these are placeholder positions, so to speak, because that....that would be a bad place for them.  Also suspiciously missing is the "Share" button that so many rumors have agreed upon the device having, being the thing that allows you to take images/video capture of a game and share it with your friends, further integrating the social media aspects of the console.  Of course, it's -probably- missing because, well, they don't want developers sharing things, obviously, but I would assume they would, again, want a placeholder position for that.  Since it's going to be a big deal about the PS4, apparently.

Moving on from what's missing on the controller, it's best that we instead focus on what is present on it.  It has pretty much all the standards:  A D-Pad (said to be similar, if not the same, as the Vita's D-Pad which is quite good), two analog sticks (that have a weird look about them, but are probably comfortable), the traditional face buttons, L1/2, R1/2 and the PS button ala DualShock 3.  The rather obvious new addition to the controller, however, is the comparatively massive touchpad (that is pad, as in a thing that is not a screen) emblazoned across the front of it and, if you'll notice, a little bit around the outer edge.  Why is that, you might ask?  Well, the touchpad is apparently clickable and features two-point touch (meaning it will recognize two different fingers or points of contact) so it's like a brand-new button unto itself beyond the actual touch-sensitive uses it'll have.  I'm not entirely sure what purpose it will serve, being clickable, but hey, more pushing things is always good.  I could surmise that the 'clicking' is only used in place of the mentioned-missing Select and Start buttons (depending on which side of the pad your finger is on) where the touch part will be available for games to make use of.  I sort of hope that isn't the case for the obvious reasons, but also because, well, I just kind of want that to be a new button.  New buttons are fun.

The other blatantly obvious piece on the controller itself is the big old sensor on the top that is lit up with a nice little blue.  Cloudy white plastic with an LED beneath on a Playstation Controller?  Well, it doesn't take a big leap to think of Move in that case, especially with so many reports using Move -in- possible controller designs (to the point where I got really excited for one such really excited).  However, I have to question just -how- Move will be implemented if this is how it's integrated into the controller proper.  On the Move Wand, the sensor (the ball) is on the end with you holding it and actively controlling where it points and, more importantly, -how- it points.  It is a thing that was designed with depth, is my point, and depth, this controller does not have.  If that little sensor is how the camera will register the move bit, that means you are holding your controller in both hands to point the sensor at the camera.  It is not, in that case, a pointer by any means and in fact becomes quite concerning if you even contemplate trying to -use- it like Move in existing games that support it.  For instance, hold a DualShock 3 and tell me just how in the hell I'm to expect the top half of it to be able to be flicked as a wand in Sorcery or swung as a sword in Sports Champions.

There is also what appears to be a speaker underneath the touchpad.  I'm just throwing that out, as I really have nothing to say about that except "yay, directional sound".

It is comforting to know that this isn't the final design of the controller if it is, in fact, an official design at all, even a prototype one.  Which it's....more or less more of what we've grown to love with the DualShock 3 with some improvements, it has some oddities about it that I would like to see corrected or, at least, explained.  If they are, in fact, moving forward with Move and keeping it integrated into the PS4, I do hope that we'll be able to use existing Move equipment for that, as I doubt there could be -much- changes made on that that would warrant a revision.  Or...again, at least as long as Move is -feasible- next generation, then I would be fine with that as well.  I am just going to need a lot of convincing if the sensor stays where it is, as it is, for basic implementation because that is the default.  And the default looks weird and unwieldy as hell, but of course, maybe it's just a thing you'll grow into.  All I know is that I'm sick of saying "We only have to wait a few more days, possibly" because the 20th is rapidly approaching and cannot, in fact, come soon enough.

Update!:  Or perhaps the new controller is this!

I could dig this one.  Certainly looks a little newer and more refined, and there's apparently a headphone jack in it for...some reason.  Perhaps to divert whatever sounds will be coming out of the speaker to your ears directly.  Still, the same problems I mentioned for the other prototype still exist for this and I'm still not completely happy.  Though it does look much more palatable.

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