PlayStation controllers have come a long way with innovative gaming technology, and here is how the evolution progressed over the years.
With every new PlayStation release, fans expect new gaming technology, and Sony has always fulfilled their promise by always being the first to introduce innovative technology. As for the current-gen consoles like PlayStation 5, the DualSense Edge controller has taken things to a whole new level by providing speaker and microphone access in your hands (literally).
But it wasn’t always the same as we’ve come a long way ahead in gaming technology in this modern-day era, where Sony PlayStation is working to provide their players with the most immersive gaming experience. In this article, The CPU Guide will discuss the evolution of PlayStation controllers from DualShock to DualSense Edge.
The first in our list is the original DualShock controller, released in 1997 for Japan and 1998 for North American regions. The DualShock controller was a vibrating version of the PlayStation’s Dual Analog controller with the same button mapping and joystick design.
The first DualShock supported a rumble effect which caused the controller to output vibrating feedback against any on-screen activity to make the experience more immersive for the players. This controller was housed with two-vibration motors attached to both handles of the controller.
The first games that used DualShock technology were Crash Bandicoot 3 and Ape Escape. Even though PlayStation 2 was a few years before release, the DualShock technology would’ve supported some of the most iconic PS2 games.
The DualShock 2 came out with the PlayStation 2 release in 2000 and seemed more like a beautified version of the original DualShock. This controller was supported with the original PlayStation and also worked with the PlayStation 3 with some attachments, which I wouldn’t recommend.
There is a new color on it now, the buttons seem more squared, and the analog controls have become more pressure sensitive, like a button to press. If you don’t like the black color, the new DualShock 2 comes in a wide range of aesthetic prints and colors like satin silver, ceramic white, ocean blue, and much more.
The DualShock 2 seems compatible with three different generations of PlayStation consoles. However, it might act a little weird with the PlayStation 3 as the controller may not support various Sixaxis features since it is attached to third-party accessories.
The new Sixaxis controller was released in 2006, and it came with the new PlayStation 3, redefining the gaming experience by making slight changes to the design and some compromises of features.
The Sixaxis controller is known to be PlayStation’s first wireless controller that saved the players from the mess of the wire web. As defined in the name, the Sixaxis controller can freely detect motion from 360 degrees. However, Sixaxis does not have the vibration rumble feature, which made it seem more like a downgraded version of its predecessor DualShock 2.
The wireless capability was much like the competitive design of the Xbox 360 controller. Unlike the Xbox controller, PlayStation’s Sixaxis controller had its dedicated battery pack inside the system. Sony also faced a hefty $90.7 million fine for losing the lawsuit regarding the rumble functionality, which led to the evolution of their next-gen controller.
One year after the official launch of PlayStation 3, the DualShock 3 hit the market with the same old design as the original DualShock. However, this one almost checked all the boxes and got players’ approval for the rumble effect immersive gameplay experience.
The DualShock 3 was more like a replacement for the Sixaxis controller, announced at the Tokyo Game Show. This controller had the six-axis motion detection and wireless design just like the Sixaxis controller, but with a new and improved haptic feedback feature which was much requested by the fans. Plus, it was 40% lighter because of these new vibration motors.
A year after the launch of the DualShock 3, the Sixaxis controller was officially discontinued from production, and the DualShock 3 was released as the official controller for PlayStation 3.
The new and improved DualShock 4 was released with the PlayStation 4, and it looked and felt like a new-gen controller. After almost a decade, Sony finally decided to make some changes to the design, and that’s how the features of this new controller evolved as well.
The new DualShock 4 featured a captative touchpad on the front and motion detection features. It also had this cool-looking RGB neon light that synced with the activity’s colors while playing the game on PlayStation 4.
The design changed too, as the ‘START’ and ‘SELECT’ buttons were replaced with ‘OPTIONS’ and ‘SHARE’ buttons, which makes more sense in modern gaming. The L2 and R2 button became more curved, featuring an outward-facing design.
The new DualShock 4 was a giant improvement in the PlayStation’s history as you could extend the controller’s battery life for up to 7 hours. Moreover, it can be linked with Steam Deck or PC within seconds, allowing the PC master race to experience how console gaming feels like.
The DualSense controller set the new bars for an immersive gaming experience after releasing PlayStation 5 on November 2020. With PS5 making a record of selling 3 million units across Japan only, the DualSense controller kept up with the demand worldwide with its cool new features and a redefined design.
The DualSense borrows many features from the DualShock 4 but with an advanced haptic feedback system and improved adaptive triggers design of L2 and R2 buttons. Sony claims that DualSense brings a sense of touch to PS5 gameplay with various powerful sensations. The lightbar has extended to the sides of the touchpad, portraying a more futuristic look. The changing light feature has various indications, defining multiple activities in the game.
This new PlayStation controller also features a mic and speaker, adding to the immersive gameplay experience. The ‘SHARE’ button has been replaced with the ‘CREATE’ button, which doesn’t fully indicate the purpose behind its functionality. Moreover, the new design has a two-tone color, significantly different from the old-gen PlayStation controllers.
With all the advanced technology packed in one compact design, the PS5’s DualSense controller is nearly the same weight as its predecessor. It is easy to use and relatively simple to reset if you wish to perform DIY troubleshooting.
The new DualSense Edge was released on February 23, 2023, and it’s the latest ongoing PlayStation controller in the market. This newer version of DualSense is the direct competitor of Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Controller. Sony claims that the DualSense Edge is going to first-ever high-performance, ultra-customizable controller developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
With the new DualSense Edge, players can deactivate various outputs and fine-tune their aim by adjusting the stick sensitivity to define dead zones. Moreover, you can adjust the distance’s travel distance, which is pretty advantageous for shooter combat games like Call of Duty.
The best thing about this customizable experience is that you can create multiple profiles for each control profile. This way, you can make customized control settings for each game without changing the adjustments. Plus, there is no restriction on switching; you can activate any profile, even when you’re in the middle of a game.
The new DualSense Edge comes with three different types of interchangeable stick caps: standard, high, and low. In addition, two interchangeable sets of back buttons in the half dome and lever design. In this way, each player can design a controller that fits their interactivity.
The new DualSense Edge has all the cool features of the original DualSense, and they come with braided USB Type-C cables with a carrying case that charges the controller when stored in it.
After comparing the evolution of PlayStation controllers over two decades, I can confidently say the technology is evolving rapidly. Consoles are bringing innovations to make the gaming experience so immersive that we might feel like we’re in the game. Due to this technology, games like Forspoken were released with PlayStation 5 exclusivity to deliver the best of gaming software via hardware.
Which PlayStation controller was your favorite one so far? Let me know in the comments.