PS5 DualSense controller: 5 things it tells us about Sony's console

PS5 DualSense
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony just revealed the DualSense controller for the PS5. But the actual look and software features of the console remains a mystery. Still, with a bit of educated guessing, we might be able to figure out what else Sony has in store for the PS5 based on these features. 

Much of the DualSense is familiar: it's got two analog sticks, four face buttons, four directional buttons, and four shoulder buttons, with a touchpad and a couple of menu buttons in the center to finish it off. But this is the biggest departure Sony has ever made between controller designs for console generations, and the new stuff could tell us a lot about the PS5 itself.

A fresh, two-toned design

ps5 dualsense

(Image credit: Sony)

The PS5 will most likely have the same two-tone design as the controller, if previous PlayStation generations have told us anything. We've had black PlayStations and we've had white PlayStations, but now might be the time we get a black and white PlayStation. From the gray of the PS1 to the all-black of the PS2, PS3 and PS4, every launch model of the PlayStation has matched the color scheme of its console pretty closely. 

A bigger focus on content creation

The inclusion of a Create button hopefully tells us what Sony is hiding within the menus of the PS5 user interface. Sharing video clips and screenshots is now commonplace, so what else might Sony have added to make it feel like "Share" wasn't a good enough descriptor? A GIF creator? An instant livestreaming option for the Twitch fans? Perhaps some more robust video and image editing tools too? There are a lot of ways to enjoy games beyond just playing them these days, and Sony would be wise to optimize the PS5 accordingly. And from the looks of the Create button, it is.

Immersion over raw power

PS5 DualSense

(Image credit: Sony)

The inclusion of haptics and adaptive triggers, along with the 3D audio that has been pushed hard in recent PS5 hardware announcements, may lead Sony to aim the PS5 as a more "complete" gaming experience compared to the Xbox Series X, which looks to be focusing having the best graphical fidelity. No doubt we'll see some early first-party titles reflect these priorities. Like the Sixaxis motion-controlled games that appeared in the early days of the PS3, we may see the first few PS5 games lean heavily on audio and haptic effects to create experiences you can't have on other consoles. 

Easier communication tools

A built-in microphone and mute button (underneath the PS button), shows that Sony is being more thoughtful about how voice chat is essentially a necessity for online interactions these days. Being able to mute yourself from the controller without needing to navigate through a menu is such an obvious feature that it's weird nobody did it before. No doubt the microphone's quality will pale in comparison to a proper headset; Sony itself says as much in its announcement blog. But having these features present is a sign that Sony understands how its players use its consoles, and hopefully means we'll here more about other social features on the PS5 in future announcements.

New ways of displaying key game info

On the DualShock 4, we saw the debut of the Light Bar on the top of the controller, indicating in-game moments or your player identity in a multiplayer game. It's now been moved onto the front of the controller, which seems like it'll be easier for players to see. As such, it's possible that the Light Bar will become a more integral part of PS5 games, possibly serving as an indicator of things such as health and ammo that players can see with a quick glance.

We've yet to see the PS5 in the flesh, but the DualSense teases some key features that seem like a no-brainer for Sony's next console. Since the PS5 might not be able to beat the Xbox Series X in raw power, Sony could win with smart social features, immersive rumble and audio and innovative content creation tools. We'll know for sure as we get closer to the launch of both consoles this holiday season.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.