At this year’s E3, I’ve managed to play a couple of next-gen titles on the next generation platforms such as Knack, DriveClub, Killzone , Ryse and Powerstar Golf on Xbox One. And as expected it was exciting to get hands-on both of the systems controllers.
So how different and new the controllers are for Xbox One and PlayStation 4? In this preview, I will be discussing a couple of main concerns that people have on current controllers on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and how the new hardware is improved on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and what to expect.
I will also be comparing Xbox One Controller and the PlayStation 4 in terms of features and tech and improvements to each other and over the last generation. First, I will talk about my hands-on experience with the Xbox One Controller and then talk about the DualShock 4 for PlayStation 4. At the end, I will have a separate section that compares the two controllers together, and I will add a conclusion to the overall verdict on my final say.
Xbox One Controller
The Xbox One controller looks sleeker and more appealing than Xbox 360’s controller. When I got my hands on the Xbox One controller everything just felt entirely natural. The X, Y, A and B buttons are no longer colored with the exception for the letters themselves, all the buttons are actually black, and I think that actually looks more appealing.
The X is as always blue, Y is yellow, B is red, and A is green. The Xbox symbol is now on the far top instead of the center middle, some people actually didn’t like that, but I don’t mind it.
The biggest change with the Xbox One controller is the addition of automatic motors that are built into the triggers and the pads on the bottom. There was a demo that demonstrated this feature, and I thought it was kind of neat.
The trigger-motors vibrate based on what’s going on in the game, for example if you’re firing an auto-assault rifle that shoots in bursts, you feel the vibration in that same rhythm just like in real life when shooting in burst mode from a gun.
The same thing can be said for a car engine. As you start up the car in a racing game then you would feel the vibration on the front of the triggers and the bottom pads in the rhythm of the “Vroom….VROOM!” sound as the engine is starting to run. It’s a neat feature that can be used to immerse gamers more than before. However, the true test lies in how developers will take advantage of this in future titles.
The thumb-sticks look much more elegant, sleeker and have a new texture to them. The new texture makes the thumb-sticks feel less toy-ish/plastic. Another vital feature is that the battery compartment is now actually inside the controller as opposed to outside like on the Xbox 360.
With the removal of the exterior battery compartment, the controller will be easier to hold, and you don’t have to worry about having your fingers getting stuck in-between the triggers and the battery compartment anymore.
Removal of the exterior battery compartment, addition of the trigger-motors, improved thumb-sticks with new textures and a small design change of the actual controller itself is all it genuinely needed. The size of the Xbox One controller is also a tad smaller than the Xbox 360’s controller and not as bulky. Overall, I believe the Xbox One is an improvement over the last-generation of Xbox 360 controller.
DualShock 4 Controller (PlayStation 4)
Sony hadn’t changed much when it came to PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 controllers. Buttons, functions and rumble, were the same all through-out. Not much was new in the exterior design either, as a matter of fact the design never changed until now. The DualShock 4 is one of the most remarkable controller I have ever used so far.
Sony realized that it was time to change the controller’s design and add new functionality and technology inside their next-generation controller, and DualShock 4 is exactly that.
The biggest change for me was the way the controller felt in my hands. The DualShock 4 was much more comfortable to hold as opposed to previous DualShocks and you can thank Sony for finally getting rid of the somewhat angular design from the controller.
Since the DualShock 4 is much more ergonomic and has more of a cylindrical design, it has become more comfortable to hold, and your hands don’t get as cramped after holding the controller for a while. Another huge improvement in the design is the shape of the triggers and shoulder buttons. The triggers and shoulder buttons are now curved-out and because of that it feels a-lot more natural for your fingers.
Sony has moved the PS button to the bottom of the controller and added a touch-pad right in the middle of the controller. The touch-pad is not only touchable for different functions, but it’s also a button on its own that can be pressed. Sony pulled a ninja when it came to adding a new button input without clarifying it in the first place. I personally didn’t know you can actually press down on the touch-pad and have things happen in the game until I’ve tried it.
The Share button is on the top left of the control. This is the button you will use to share videos and record gameplay footage with your friends via streaming or uploading to YouTube. Unfortuenately, Sony didn’t demo how the Share feature exactly worked, so I have nothing to say about the actual functionality. The Options button is on the top right, this button combines Start and Select buttons into one.
The touch-pad can be used in different ways, for example; when I’ve played Killzone you can flick your finger upward to use a zip-line and traverse across an area. I was also able to use it to change Owl’s attack modes, Owl is a AI Drone that follows you that can be controlled via touch-pad. However, the most prominent features of the touch-pad were clearly shown by The Playroom. The Playroom is a tech demo which showcased the controller’s many new functions in conjunction with the new PlayStation Eye Camera.
The Playroom demonstrated Augmented Reality functionality with controller, thanks to the sensor bar that is in front of the controller. The sensor bar detects the 3D position of the controller via the PlayStation Eye Camera and also identifies players by color coding. For example, blue color will always be player #1; meanwhile player #2 is always red.
The Playroom Demonstrated some intriguing new rumble features in such a way that was never thought of before. During the tech demo, a bunch of augmented reality robots jumped into my controller, and based on which way I turned the controller (left or right) the rumble would shift towards the side the robots are going inside the controller.
So, if I shift my controller to left and the robots going to the left inside my controller, then you’d feel the pressure more on your left hand/left side of the controller as opposed to the right hand/right side of the controller.
This was something I never thought of Sony would do, and it’s truly unique. I can’t wait to see if and how developers would implement such features. However, The Playroom was just demonstrating the new capabilities of the controller and what it can do.
Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every game will actually take advantage of that and knowing that the technology is there is kind of a neat because it always opens up your mind for something new and exciting.
Comparison between Xbox One and DualShock 4 (PlayStation 4)
Microsoft and Sony both did a admirable job in terms of improving their next-generation controller hardware over the previous generation. The Xbox One controller has a better looking design than it’s predecessor, removed exterior battery compartment and trigger-motors that add new ways for developers to create rumble immersion.
The DualShock 4 is an enormous change from previous generations and Sony unquestionably needed it. The new ergonomic design, improved thumb-sticks, triggers and shoulder buttons, were actually necessary if Sony wanted to be successful with their next-generation controller. The addition of the touch-pad and sensor bar truly makes the DualShock 4 stand-out on its own as a powerful piece of technology.
I think both of the controllers are prominent in their own way. I never had an issue with the Xbox 360 controllers as much as I did with the DualShock 3. However, with the new improvements in DualShock 4 it’s thrilling to see that Sony not only improved the controller, but also made it superior in terms of adding more technology and functions that no other controller has on the market.