Sony’s next console effort might ditch the DualShock for a brand new controller industry sources say.
The latest surprising piece of scuttlebutt concerning Sony’s next home console doesn’t concern engine specs – for once – but its controller instead. According to CVG’s *whispers* industry sources, the PlayStation 4 will includ a radically new input method, one reportedly different from its long-issued and hardware defining DualShock controller.
What’s even more “bueno” about this are the further details surrounding what this supposed new controller looks like. Yes, this is where things get really “say what?!” A couple of sources belonging to studios who are currently working on PS4-related content, confirmed that numerous iterations of the console’s controller either featured biometric sensors and an LCD touch screen.
That’s some highly head-turning info, alrighty. Here’s my take though:
1. Talk of biometric sensors don’t surprise me one bit, everyone from Valve’s Gabe Newell to even Nintendo (remember the Vitality Sensor) have had rising interest in the technology, which through embedded detectors – in this instance, they’re said to be located on the PS4 controller’s grips – picks up key body stats like the user’s heart beat.
Stats you might think would only be “vital” (pardon the pun) for the latest workout game from Jillian Michaels, but that’s only looking at the surface. The use of biometrics can also be of a great benefit to computer A.I. and specifically in-game difficulty, in which through reading the player’s then stress levels, can be accurately adjusted on the spot.
I think it’s a great idea. Just think of a Left for Dead game where the number of zombies increases or decreases according to you heart rate! “Roh-ro” indeed, Scooby Doo.
What’s another fascinating potential use of biometrics in gaming? Predicting the relationship between your fingers and the controller, a method that gauges the proximity of the player’s fingers and determines which buttons they’re going to press. Meaning, that biometrics could – in theory – help eliminate or lessen input lag, an attribute that I’m sure would be a godsend for first-person shooters and the like.
2. A LCD touch screen, eh? I know Nintendo fanboys are going to cry foul at the thought of Sony’s own take at a Wii U Gamepad, but as Biff Tannen says, they can make like a tree and get out of here. Having spent some time with a friend’s Wii U, I would love for every gaming console to give me the enjoyable experience of allowing me to play games off-TV.
And honestly, Sony already does this feature – okay, albeit not as well executed – with the PlayStation 3’s/PlayStation Vita’s Remote Play function, so let’s not throw stones in glass houses.
Don’t forget, too, that with a touch screen controller navigation via PS4’s U.I. – which I’ve heard might be more in-line with the PS Vita’s touch-centric O.S. that for obvious reasons would be a smart way to integrate a weak-performing platform – could be helped tremendously (selecting media, shopping for games) and finally get us away from having to search through the entire alphabet to form one word when messaging friends.
Notice none of what I said has anything to do with… well gameplay, of course. To which I admit is the only part of this touch-screen controller equation I can’t account for besides the typical “oh, you can use the second screen for inventory!” suggestions made by every other Internet talking head so far.
The jury is still out on whether Nintendo’s approach to gaming with the Wii U Gamepad has anything to offer in exciting new game experiences, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t, at least as of now. Hmm, and you know, wouldn’t it be cool, if say, Nintendo wasn’t the only dude in town try to solve this very problem? Aren’t two heads better than one? …Just saying.
Now problem is, if Sony does go with a touch screen design, the price of such a controller could be staggering. The cost of Nintendo’s Wii U Gamepad fetches a high penny on its own (presumably if sources are correct, about $85 USD), so imagine what Sony would price their own version of a Wii U GamePad, a PlayStation Pad if you must.
I… I don’t think I want to know if history is any indication. Guess I could start looking for another job…
But remember folks, these are all just rumors (including these neato controller concepts I dug up from NeoGaf. Thanks Cjdamon042 and neptunes). We’re months away from the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in June and as with any console still in the designing phase – however late – anything from control inputs to its general shape can – and usually does – change in an instant.