PlayStation 4 News: DualShock 4 Controller Prototype Was Similar to Xbox 360 Controller

Oct 23, 2013 11:28 AM EDT | By Prarthito Maity (p.maity@gamenguide.com)

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While the new DualShock 4 controller coming alongside the next generation PlayStation 4 has already been tagged as one of the biggest deals of the year while competing against the likes of Xbox One, it has been revealed that the controller could have almost looked like the controller for Xbox 360.

Recently speaking with GamesBeat, Sony's Manager of Product Planning, Toshimasa Aoki, confirmed that while plotting the blueprints for the new controller, an earlier prototype of DualShock looked liked Xbox 360’s controller.

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“At the very start, we were thinking of drastically changing the controller. We tried out new devices, changing the form factor. We’d start from there and then try to talk to the game teams and tweak toward what the best form would be to have for those new devices. So we made, I don’t know, more than 20 prototypes. Some had no buttons, just touch panels. Some were rounded. All this crazy stuff,” Aoki stated.

Even the analog sticks, which stayed in the same spot on all three generations of PlayStation were moved around: “We did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the D-pad]. Especially from the shooter teams — we got feedback that that’s what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters.”

Sony tried out just about every combination of analog-stick placement possible for the DualShock 4. “Two sticks on the bottom, like current PlayStation controllers. Two sticks offset, like with the Xbox 360. Even two sticks on top, mirroring what Nintendo’s doing now with the Wii U GamePad and Pro Controller.”

The company had already made a prototype for the same but later denied that version. “When Nintendo came out with that, we were like, ‘Wow, that’s just like our prototype!’ That surprised us. But yeah, we decided that it just wouldn’t work. People are used to having the buttons up there, and this moves the most-used button — the X — so far away [from your right thumb].”

“If we moved the X up there, it just breaks all the muscle memory. The right hand mostly goes for both buttons and sticks, but the left hand stays on one or the other and usually doesn’t switch around [between the left analog stick and the D-pad]. That’s why it’s OK to switch around the left side. But switching the right side really breaks the gamer’s experience,” Aoki concluded.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is currently scheduled to release on Nov. 15 in North America and Nov. 29, 2013 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

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