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Posted 10:38pm

Hands-on Impressions: DUALSHOCK 4

PlayStation 4

Following its debut at PlayStation’s February 20th event in New York City, DUALSHOCK 4 has emerged at E3 in near-final form. Though DUALSHOCK 3 has proven to be a capable and dependable wireless controller for years with PlayStation 3, the PS4′s new weapon of choice is clearly an improvement across the board. Here are some quick impressions.

For me, DUALSHOCK 4′s most impactful new feature is a subtle but shockingly satisfying detail: A glossy cross-hatched texture that wraps around the larger handles. This texture is a delight because it provides a snug, more comfortable grip on the device compared to DUALSHOCK 3′s slippier feel. This is one of those things you’ll need to try for yourself to truly understand, but once you experience it there’s no going back. It’s a delight.

Then there are the redesigned and retuned analog sticks, which now boast a concave surface and slightly stiffer deadzone that makes it easier to maneuver the camera using small, precise movements. The surface is also more tactile, but not so much that it impedes your thumb’s ability to glide around the inner rim as your make subtle adjustments to your aiming reticule in shooters like Blacklight: Retribution. Much like DUALSHOCK 4′s new textured grips, the revamped analog sticks are a clear improvement to the classic design sported by DUALSHOCK 2 and DUALSHOCK 3. It’s no contest.

DUALSHOCK 4 - PlayStation 4

The directional pad — always a strength on PlayStation controllers — also impressed. It boasts a unified design that reminded me of PS Vita’s well-liked pad, only oversized and sporting a more tactile matte finish. The depth and response of the pad felt just right: Not too clicky, not too mushy; not too deep, not too shallow. Meanwhile, the new Share and Options buttons that have replaced Start and Select were unobtrusively placed and felt satisfyingly click — appropriate for buttons you’ll use less frequently.

Finally, the new R1 and R2 triggers are exactly what you would hope for and expect. Featuring a slightly “hooked” design and less pressure resistance, these puppies are a perfect fit for your itchy trigger finger. I was also pleased to find that DUALSHOCK 4′s L1 and L2 buttons feel almost identical to those on PS3. Why fix what ain’t broken, right? It will be interesting to see if developers of PlayStation 4 shooters enable the player to swap the firing buttons between R2 and L2 like they often do on PS3, or if R2 becomes the universal standard going forward.

I didn’t get a chance to try out any titles that made use of DUALSHOCK 4′s new lightbar, touch pad, integrated speaker, or the mono earbud that enables online voice chat out of the box. But those will surely come in time. For now, I’m pleased to report that DUALSHOCK 4 is hands-down the best, most comfortable console controller I’ve ever used.

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75 Comments 0 Author replies
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fps_d0minat0r 14 June, 2013 @ 10:50 pm   1

Looks great but I still dont understand why we cant use our dualshock 3′s with the PS4.
Hopefully other PS3 accessories like steering wheels and headsets will be supported.

fps_d0minat0r 14 June, 2013 @ 10:52 pm   2

…and one more thing, It would be good if there was a push to talk button, maybe on the back. I cant stand a lobby full of players continously talking over each other.

residentSteve 14 June, 2013 @ 10:55 pm   3

Looks great love the new look dual shock 4 it almost looks like a 360 controller has its almost looked the same for nearly 20 years, that makes me feel old.
The only thing I’m not sure about is the ear bud I almost thought it was from the vita.

DarkCloud79 14 June, 2013 @ 10:59 pm   4

That’s great, what I’ve been wearing from other E3 goers to.
Just one thing when you say “the new R1 and R2 triggers” I think you mean the R2 and L2 triggers, same with R1 and L1.

Paulnaref 14 June, 2013 @ 11:13 pm   5

Any chance to know if I’ll be able to use my “SONY PULSE wireless stereo headset elite” also on Ps4? (wireless or at least with Dualshock 4)

stargateheaven 14 June, 2013 @ 11:18 pm   6

Tell me those headphones aren’t the “headset” that comes with the console…
Those are headphones for a portable device.

killer3-G 14 June, 2013 @ 11:30 pm   7

I only have two questions about the PS4. First, will we be able to connent through our current PSN account and interact with other ps3 players?And secondly, is it true that we will have to play in order to play online multiplayer?Please somebody tell me now!!!

jokerduo3 14 June, 2013 @ 11:47 pm   8

@7 I know your current PSN account transfers over w/ all ur trophies, I would assume you can interact w/ PS3 users like you can on the PS Vita but not 100% on that one. Your 2nd question about paying for online you will need a PS+ account to play (F2P will not require a PS+ account) but w/ all the free stuff it’s worth it. P.S. you get DriveClub free if you have a PS+ account. Hope that helps

MaxDiehard 14 June, 2013 @ 11:50 pm   9


You will be able to interact with PS3 players in that standard method such as messaging.

And yes, a PS+ Subscription is required to play online games. But with that comes a free PS4 game a month on top of the 3 games for PS3 and 2 for Vita. Starting at launch with #Driveclub.

Any PS+ subscriptions you currently hold will be automatically transferred over to PS4 provided you use that account and your subscription is still ongoing.

MaxDiehard 14 June, 2013 @ 11:52 pm   10


Thanks for clarifying also. But be aware that PSN is still free in the traditional sense. You don’t require PS+ to use social features such as messaging friends, it’s purely for the activation of multiplayer games.

This much is clear until officially stated otherwise.

What is exactly the functionality of the audio jack – is it only for voice chat or does it provide a full stereo sound experience in case a person wants to play a game with headphones on?

SwingerE11 15 June, 2013 @ 1:29 am   12

I don’t really like the controller
And I don’t get why people like the share button over the select button.
I would never use the share button, so it would be useless to me.
In most games, select button is used to open the map.
Now we have to do it the long way? What if I get lost and need to open the map quickly?

SwingerE11 15 June, 2013 @ 1:33 am   13

I like how you can use headphones for the controller.
It can’t be for voice chat only, can it? That would be disappointing.

R3dC3llTran3 15 June, 2013 @ 1:54 am   14

@SwingerE11 You see the touch pad thing, On the back of ps vita you could assign it for L1 L2 R1 R2 so it could be the same with the DS4 you could assign stuff to it such as open map in a game or open your friend list or ps store, i think its a good ideia, hope sony does it. What do you think guys? :)

There are some great innovations in there, awesome!
I heard someone say the touchpad was clickable (like a button). It sounded odd to me but is it true?

SwingerE11 15 June, 2013 @ 3:10 am   16

CD was for PSone
DVD was for PS2
BD for PS3
It’s always different
What will PS4 have, still Blu-ray Disc?

ChazzH69 15 June, 2013 @ 4:17 am   17

@15 (OttoT) It is clickable. It feels good and works very well, bearing in mind I had the last prototype and not this version to try out.

@16 (SwingerE11) A higher capacity Blu-ray disc and faster drive.

I love this amazing bit of kit.

Voodoo341 15 June, 2013 @ 8:01 am   18

Those headphones don’t look that great. In fact they look cheap and nasty and would be seriously uncomfortably for long gaming sessions. I’m assuming you can slot any mic enable headphones in there? Will the Playstation Wireless Stereo headset work with the PS4?

DoYouLikeMyID 15 June, 2013 @ 8:25 am   19

@fps_d0minat0r (#1)

If they let people use their Dualshock 3′s, then people you wouldn’t be able to use, for example, the touch pad features. This might easily result in that you will avoid games that use the touch pad. If many people avoid games that make use of the touch pad, then the developers would avoid using it as well. The same thing goes for the light bar and built-in speaker.

Thus, if Sony let people use their Dualshock 3 controllers, it would impede future games from utilizing Dualshock 4′s new features.

Brave27heart 15 June, 2013 @ 8:43 am   20

The headphone socket is stereo, but the headphones that come as standard are mono. I see no reason why you couldnt plug stereo headphones into the DS4.

Also please note thats its a PS Plus version of Drive Club, not the full version. There will be differences such as less cars/tracks.

Vayshen 15 June, 2013 @ 9:15 am   21

Is there a confirmed official source that says that the headset jack is stereo?

I would absolutely LOVE to see an accessory adapter that lets us hook up a PC headset to Dualshock 4. My headset has one 3.5mm stereo jack for the sound, and a seperate one for the mic. I love my headset to death and would appreciate this so so much.

Vayshen 15 June, 2013 @ 9:16 am   22

And yeah I would hope that you can feed all the sound to the controller, not just voice…

LightningSamus 15 June, 2013 @ 9:22 am   23

@1 DS3 doesn’t have share button, touch pad or options button so it wouldn’t be right.

I don’t know why you want to use an older controller, you just need to get used to DS4.

ProGamerX56 15 June, 2013 @ 9:23 am   24

Looks next gen!

iESCUDO 15 June, 2013 @ 9:23 am   25

Hi Sid, i know this isn’t the best place to ask however since there’s no more details yet i’ll ty.

Regarding the PS4 console launch bundles, will there be a day one bundle like the Vita had? And bundles with games at launch?

CluckNuggets 15 June, 2013 @ 9:37 am   26

It looks like Sony did a beautiful job in reinventing the Playstation controller. Real intelligent changes combined with the standard design, Not just changes for the sake of it.

Is the bottom of the controller rubber or matte plastic? Hope not matte as it puts my teeth on edge.

toxic-inferno 15 June, 2013 @ 9:59 am   27

Looks great! The only thing I was uncertain about was the directional buttons, which to me looked cheaper and tackier than the previous iterations. But it seems (from this report and others) that they are a massive improvement, and so I am no longer worried!

Just a little concerned that my hands will have become so used to clutching the standard Dualshock 1, 2 and 3 shape that they will be unable to form correctly around the 4! :P

monoliet 15 June, 2013 @ 10:02 am   28

i hope pauze = home buton so every game freeze when u go to new top menu of u ps4.
select need to be the new option buton !

sharebuton = not wil use : if i want to be social = i use in top menu en go to facebook + others ….

monoliet 15 June, 2013 @ 10:04 am   29

also headjack , u give but i not need
i never use , i hate al screaming kids .

neutronbomb 15 June, 2013 @ 10:06 am   30

Oh no. Please say that is not the ‘Headset’ with every controller? That is not a headset.
In-ear headphones for online gaming are a big no no. Comfort issues ahoy.

Seriously Sony, change this before launch or just don’t bother because those are going to be useless.

THE_FORCE 15 June, 2013 @ 10:09 am   31

I’m hoping that, for most games, the touchpad will be assignable. As mentioned previously, SELECT has been well used in the past for opening up maps. Hopefully, the touchpad can be utilised for this option.

Not sorry to see the START button go as most games use X to start anyway.

Overall, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. 8-)

hayzink 15 June, 2013 @ 10:39 am   32

Any word on pricing of these?

Amazon currently have price of £89.99 which is way too high, if this is the price its like the its all over again, fantastic price for unit but the extras you need cost too much.

Pricing needed to be around ds3 price (£10 higher mabey)

toxic-inferno 15 June, 2013 @ 10:44 am   33

@ 32

Amazon now have them listed at a more respectable £54.99, which, while steep, is a lot more affordable, considering the number of extra features in this controller, and the overall more robust appearance.

I once paid £54.99 for a Dualshock 3 (a Japanese import – several months before they were widely available in this country), so I think this price is fairly acceptable.

THE_FORCE 15 June, 2013 @ 10:57 am   34

And alot cheaper than what I paid for my Colorware DS3s!!

I wonder if these will get the Colorware treatment? Might not be technically easy, but I do hope so. 8-)

I like it :P Not to keen on the ‘wires’(or ‘wire’) tho for the Mic thingy. I guess you still can buy a wireless head-phones to do all that online chat stuff(not that, that is me thing anyway, i am unsociable) :D

hayzink 15 June, 2013 @ 11:31 am   36


That’s cool I don’t mind that amount.
Game at one point charged £51 for ds3 claiming it was down to the tsunami affecting battery costs and pushing up pad price.

solarwind12 15 June, 2013 @ 11:39 am   38

Really looking good and cannot wait to try it.. though barring ds3s use ‘totally’ IS imo wrong.. obviously the above posts points Are valid. So why not enable ds3s use as spare ie 4player local co-op devices, either directly or through a adapter, with a ds4 being required to start game/navigate xmb/menus ?, sure it will be easily implement -able, but i guess the gamers at heart proclamation is only ‘so long as they’re Paying’ formula.. Not a massive problem for me, just hitting family gamers more.
One feature lacking for me in this E3 and PS4 reveal was lack of a trophy revamp, i mean lets be honest, trophy and number of plats earned have totally lost their meaning. Ever since the vita rewarded 2 sets of em for playing one game it’s gotten worse, the once valued plat earned number you’d see on a gamercard basically are no longer worth the .. (erm) paper their printed on, saying.. Myself i would of liked to see this feature restored to it’s ‘former’ meaning/relevance.. yeah i know, there were those hanna montanna/(some)wrestling games that weren’t ‘worthy’ of Plat, b4 vita’s system, But it’s gotten Really, really silly now, imho.

cat-charlie 15 June, 2013 @ 12:31 pm   39

What’s the weight of it? I MUCH prefer the Sixaxis over the weighty dualshock3.

Please say there is a light-weight controller!

ipot_04 15 June, 2013 @ 12:39 pm   40

it looks like i can finally use my earphones to play console games.

solarwind12 15 June, 2013 @ 12:40 pm   41

Does anyone know how to register a new console’s serial number in my sen account, i been trying for ages but cannot see the way, the page with my friends, profile and trophies is where i think i did last time, but couldn’t find any option to register, so signed into sen account page, all my devices are there, ie 2 ps3s, vita, tv and phone. but again no option to register new consoles serial number.. Have they simply stopped requiring this option, or have i missed something ?.. i liked to do this register thing as it used to both give me a little peace of mind, ie in case i got flagged as possible gamesher, or if some toerag burglar stole my stuff etc, plus it used to say once/if you register you’ll be entered into a prize draw.. Can a mod tell me if i should continue searching, or not. Thanks.

CFC_SuperFrank 15 June, 2013 @ 1:04 pm   42


mgilly08 15 June, 2013 @ 1:07 pm   43

As i have a ps+ acount on my two ps3 and will be getting ps 4 (deposit paid) will i still be able to add the ps4 or will i have to remove one of the ps3s , i intend to run them along side each other , and one in the bed room ?

solarwind12 15 June, 2013 @ 1:45 pm   44

I would imagine the PS4 will have it’s own Seperate amount of allowed devices, so you will probably only deactivate/reactivate a PS3 for it’s PLUS use, ie only allowed on 2 consoles At any one time, like games. the video store will also be allowed on one PS4, like it is now (on ps3), so can’t see much of a problem, as deactivate/reactivate a Game/Plus service is very easy IF consoles are in same location, takes 30 seconds.. should work well as you could use the PS4 for video content in living room and the ‘spare’ PS3 for video in bed/other-room.. and if you want continue a PS3 plus game in bed, just deactivate living room one first… will be Very surprised if it isn’t that easy…
Not really sure if i will be keeping 2 PS3s, only reason i have 2 atm is DS3 required firware 4.31 (the console killer), so after updating my lens/BD loader broke about 3 weeks later, 9 month old console, unfortunately i got it from HMV. whom had just gone into administration, no choice except get another, spare ones handy occasionally though.

solarwind12 15 June, 2013 @ 2:10 pm   45

RE-Above post.
Have just realized, we have both Plus and cerain games. like minis/ps1s that are actually working on both 2 PS3s And a Vita, am sure i had no problem playing a Resi game (ps1) that was on 3 seperate systems at same time.. even plus alone working on vita And both PS3s, so that’s thrown my ideas back into air… interesting to get solid info regarding it all ?.

killer3-G 15 June, 2013 @ 2:23 pm   46

I would like to thank @jokerduo3 and maxdieHardt for answearing my questions. God bless you.

killer3-G 15 June, 2013 @ 2:26 pm   47

I would like to thank @jokerduo3 and maxdieHardt for answearing my questions God bless you

Stonesthrow 15 June, 2013 @ 3:12 pm   48

The joysticks are my biggest issue. Flat with a border around the edge, they almost look like they’re supposed to be touched with the tip of your thumb instead of the entire thumb. It looks like it’ll feel (more) uncomfortable in any position but default. Hate the Xbox joysticks with their borders too. It comes with too much resistance in my opinion, like as if the border is stuck to your thumb like a needle. The glossy texture looks nice though. Directional buttons still look ok (love matte finish) but a bit oversized. Share button is definitely unnecessary for me and and doesn’t really belong on a controller in my opinion. Have my doubts about the ‘hooked’ trigger design but that remains to be tested. Also, I hope devs leave us the choice to have shooting/aiming down sights on the R1/L1 buttons, because I heard Killzone will have this on R2/L2 by default.
All in all, it seems like most of these ‘subtle’ changes are an attempt to make the controller more suitable for people with bigger hands. I wonder how the Japanese market reacted to this new design, as they usually aren’t very big there either.

ocelot07 15 June, 2013 @ 4:34 pm   49

This looks really nice. I like the new standard headset. Am just wondering is that headset a 3.5mm headset? If so I assume you can use any 3.5mm headsets with the PS4?

fps_d0minat0r 15 June, 2013 @ 5:10 pm   50

@ DoYouLikeMyID
yeah I thought of that but I also remembered PS2 controllers didnt work with PS3 but still hardly any developers used sixaxis feature.
the tracking light and touch pad are just adding extra costs and are features which no-one will use.
I could bet my life that nothing great will come out of it. Sixaxis was such an awesome idea in theory but it still failed, but the touch pad isnt even a great idea in theory.

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