Take a first look at the next-generation controller for the long-awaited PlayStation 5

PlayStaton 5 gamepad (DualSense)

Sony

The new PlayStation 5 gamepad, which Sony is calling the "DualSense."

  • The PlayStation 5 is scheduled to arrive this holiday, and we've yet to see what it looks like.
  • Sony offered a first look at its next-generation game console on Tuesday with the unveiling of its gamepad: the DualSense.
  • The new controller is a departure from the last several generations of Sony's PlayStation gamepads, which are all part of the DualShock line.
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment head Jim Ryan said that choice was intentional - an effort to convey "just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5."
  • Take a look at the new controller in closer detail below.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sony is finally rolling out the PlayStation 5 with Tuesday's debut of the DualSense, the new gamepad for the next-generation console.

With the DualSense, Sony is making a deliberate choice to stray from the decades-long path it carved with the DualShock line of gamepads starting way back in the mid-'90s.Advertisement

"DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5," Sony Interactive Entertainment head Jim Ryan said in the controller's announcement post.

So, other than how it looks, what's so different about the new gamepad? Let's dig in:

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Major new features: haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone array.

Major new features: haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone array.

There are three major new features in the DualSense that the PlayStation 4 gamepad doesn't have: haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in microphone array.

The first is an extension of already existing rumble — haptic feedback makes controller rumble feel more realistic, "such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud," the blog post says. What this could mean for, say, a driving game is that you'll feel the car driving through said mud more directly.

The second, adaptive triggers, is another evolution of an existing gamepad feature. The left and right triggers on current-generation gamepads act, more or less, like buttons. They may look like triggers, but they're not pressure sensitive — after a certain amount of pressure is exerted, they activate (like a button), rather than gradually reacting depending on how hard you pull.

But with the DualSense's adaptive triggers, you could use a trigger the same way a gas pedal in a car works. The more you push down a pedal, the harder your car works to accelerate — adaptive triggers provide the same function.

And in the case of the built-in mic array, Sony says it can be used in lieu of a gaming headset. It "will enable players to easily chat with friends without a headset," the blog post says.

The look: The overall shape is very different than previous PlayStation gamepads.

The look: The overall shape is very different than previous PlayStation gamepads.

Sony has stuck with the same general gamepad design for years, starting with the PlayStation 1 and going all the way through to the PlayStation 4. It's an iconic shape that's known the world over.

But with the PlayStation 5, the design is taking a major turn.

"We went through several concepts and hundreds of mockups over the last few years before we settled on this final design," the blog post says.

The reason Sony settled on this design, it says, is because of ergonomics.

"DualSense has been tested by a wide range of gamers with a variety of hand sizes, in order for us to achieve the comfort level we wanted, with great ergonomics. Our goal with DualSense is to give gamers the feeling of being transported into the game world as soon as they open the box. We want gamers to feel like the controller is an extension of themselves when they're playing – so much so that they forget that it's even in their hands!"

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One big alteration: The "Share" button was swapped for a "Create" button.

One big alteration: The "Share" button was swapped for a "Create" button.

With the DualShock 4 — Sony's PlayStation 4 gamepad — the company introduced a "Share" button for the first time.

The button had one major function tied to it: The ability to quickly stream gameplay directly to platforms like Twitch and YouTube.

With the PlayStation 5, Sony is expanding out the functionality of the Share button with a new button it calls "Create."

What the button does, beyond the already existing functionality of the Share button, has yet to be revealed. "With Create, 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," the blog post says. "We'll have more details on this feature as we get closer to launch."