Sony Opted To Keep "The PlayStation Look"
If you're buying a PS4 this November, you'll be getting to grips with the new DualShock 4 controller, which features in a couple of interesting news stories today. The peripheral is apparently compatible with existing PS3s if connected via USB, while its early designs actually experimented with changing the thumbstick layout to match the Xbox 360 controller... before Sony decided to retain the 'PlayStation look.'
PlayStation planning department chief Toshimasa Aoki spilled the beans in an interview with Gamesbeat. “For the analog sticks, we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the D-pad]," he said. "Especially from the shooter teams — we got feedback that that’s what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters.”
"The feedback from the user test team said that we needed to test this version, the Xbox version, and this version. [But having the two sticks symmetrical on the left and right sides] is kind of in our DNA. The prototype team, myself, and also the management team really felt that having this look is the PlayStation look, and we had to keep that," Aoki concluded.
Opinion is split on whether the central thumbstick layout is more comfortable than the Xbox 360's asymmetrical placement. Personally I much prefer the latter, since it exerts almost no strain and tension on the left thumb over extended gameplay sessions, but I should point out that the DualShock 4 is much more ergonomic than its predecessor. Surprisingly so, actually. Having tried it out earlier this year, I can report that its longer handles and increased width make a world of difference. We'll get the measure of both peripherals next month.
In other news, a new video from computerbild.de writer and Youtuber Udetto claims that you can connect a DualShock 4 to a PS3 via USB cable, and retain basic functionality. It's a shame it doesn't work the other way around (or, you know, wirelessly - thanks new wireless protocols), but hey, we'll take any bit of backwards compatibility we can get.