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January 21, 2013

Sony PlayStation 4 Controllers May Have Big Changes Afoot

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

There had been a remarkable lack of rumors and stirrings in the next-generation console market for some time, especially if the unveiling of said devices is indeed only a few months out with the next E3 event. But a new report suggests that the venerable old Sony controller may be looking at some upgrades when it finally makes its appearance, as new versions are currently being tested which will mean radical changes afoot for a familiar controller.

While gamers have been using essentially the same controller for the last 16 years for PlayStation gaming--leave aside some comparatively minor changes like the Sixaxis controls--with a pair of analog sticks backed up by four buttons and four shoulder bumpers, some much bigger changes may be afoot, according to an undisclosed source who recently provided word to "Computer and Video Games" magazine in the U.K. Naturally, the final controller hasn't been set as yet, so these are just some reported possibilities. Still, they're possibilities that may well be big changes for gamers. 

Image via Shutterstock

Some reports suggest a version of the controller that boasts biometric feedback for its users. Other reports claim that Sony is out to steal a bit of Nintendo's thunder by bringing in their own LCD touchscreen control scheme into the next PlayStation controller. Perhaps the biggest change, though, is in overall design scheme.

The reports indicated that the PlayStation 4 would be out to replicate "...the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita," likely meaning more integration between the two. This in turn would make a good jumping off point for the rumored touchscreen to get involved, as it might well even allow for gamers to take their controller with them, Vita-style, to play games on the road and then return home and use their controllers to control a larger, more powerful system.

Given that the PS Vita isn't exactly getting on with gamers like a house afire, it may not be the best of ideas for Sony to start taking cues from that system for their next console. Earlier attempts to change the DualShock's design--the so-called "banana" controller among them--haven't exactly been met with a lot of success on Sony's part, either. But Sony is at least recognizing the challenges ahead.

Nintendo has a lot of fans in the casual gaming market. Microsoft's (News - Alert) Xbox line has done well with the hard-core segment. But where is Sony's fandom? Thus, these moves are likely an attempt to give themselves a critical new distinguishing feature. But will it be enough to draw gamers back into the fold and give Sony a fighting chance in the console wars it used to win without incident? Only time will tell the ultimate results of these moves, or how the controller even looks, but it's clear Sony won't be going down without a fight.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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