Source: Windows Central
The Xbox Series X is a monstrously powerful machine, and has the PlayStation 5 firmly beat in raw specs. Of course, specs alone aren’t the full story, and the ultimate proof will be in how games actually perform once these consoles ship later in 2020. Regardless if innovations when it comes to internals, Sony’s ambitious controller design for the PlayStation 5 is turning heads already, with the broadest revamp to its controller’s designs since the inclusion of dual joysticks.
The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller marks a total revamp for the controller’s design, moving far beyond what we’re getting with the Xbox Series X, which is iterative at best. In some ways, Sony has played catch up to the ergonomics present in Microsoft’s leading controller designs, while Microsoft has been playing catch up with the inclusion of a share button, finally, on the Xbox Series X controller.
There are a couple of things on the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller that Microsoft should’ve sought for its own controllers years ago, and it’s something we’ve actually argued for in the past. USB-C, Adaptive Triggers, and an onboard microphone, which brings some huge potential to the PS5 in ways Xbox Series X may miss out on.
DualSense vs. Xbox Series X controller features
Additionally, Sony is claiming that its controller’s triggers are adaptive, creating a sense of resistance in different contexts. For example, when pulling the string on a bow in a fantasy RPG, the DualSense controller’s triggers should induce a stronger sense of tactile resistance. This goes further than the trigger haptics you get in the current-gen Xbox controllers. At least in theory, as we still don’t necessarily know the details in how this sense of resistance is induced.
Microsoft has claimed similar feats are possible with its haptic triggers, and indeed, games like Forza Horizon, among the few titles that use Xbox controller haptics properly, do create a sense of granular resistance. Therein lies the kicker, though — not very many games are actually using this feature. Perhaps with Sony getting onboard with controller haptics too, we’ll see it in more multiplatform games outside of the titles Microsoft has explicit marketing deals with.
Cutting through the vagueries is tough until we get more detailed information on what some of the branded DualSense features mean for the PlayStation 5, but for me, the crown jewel is that onboard microphone, which is something Microsoft should’ve done years ago.
How a microphone could be a game-changer
Source: Windows Central RIP Kinect.
Kinect’s microphone array remains an incredibly impressive piece of tech, with far-field capabilities enabling futuristic user interface scenarios that anyone with an Amazon Echo-connected smart home hub now likely takes for granted. While it seemed like Microsoft was serious about voice-activated smart assistance at the time, we all know what’s happened to both Kinect and Cortana — stripped out of the Xbox platform entirely.
Having an onboard microphone in either the controller or in the Xbox Media Remote (something we argued for back in 2017) would’ve gone a long way to making Cortana voice assistance on Xbox make more sense.
Source: Windows Central
The fact every PS5 owner is confirmed to have a microphone may enable gameplay creativity that you simply wouldn’t be worth exploring, without knowing for a fact every potential user has the feature. That’s one reason Microsoft bundled Kinect with the original Xbox One in the first place, to give developers the guarantee it would be present. Ultimately, inflating the price of the Xbox One by $100 simply wasn’t a viable strategy. A simple controller microphone would have trivial impact on the overall price of the PS5, but granting developers a potential additional input for interactivity is a creativity boost that Xbox Series X won’t have.
It all depends if people actually use it, though
DualSense could have a big impact that leaves Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controller feeling “last-gen.”
I’ve seen people say that the microphone will be terrible for chat, since you’ll be able to hear clicking on the controller and that sort of thing. Post-processing techniques should eliminate a lot of that, though (do you really think Sony wouldn’t have thought of that?) and there are some older patents to suggest that the PS5’s solution is made up of three microphones to enable greater positional awareness and processing.
I don’t think for a second that Sony built a microphone into the controller simply so more people could yell at each other while playing Fortnite. This will very likely move beyond simple voice comms. DualSense could have a big impact that leaves Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controller feeling “last-gen” in the process.
What do you think of the DualSense? Let us know, down below.
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