A (confirmed) leaked image showing the PlayStation 4 devkit and controller has set a fire under peoples pants. When you look at the image do take note… this is a prototype.
Rumours have been rife that the PS4 controller would have a touch screen of sorts, and all recent mockups showed a copy-cat version of the rear panel on the PS Vita (which actually looked remarkably attractive). Now we have a prototype that shows a front-facing touch screen, mic and a new design to the analog sticks.
What’s interesting is that vgrevolution have further details with rumours surrounding the idea of the controller being able to split apart from the center.
So, lets look at the features and see if we can figure this thing out…
The PS2 and PS3 iteration of the controller has always featured convex rubber nubs on its analog sticks. This new design avoids sweat and heat damage to those nubs by having a ridge within. It might also aid grip (anyone who regularly plays FIFA knows about these issues).
The directional pad on the PS2 and PS3 controller has also rarely seen an update. In fact they’ve seen themselves fall into obscurity with the rise of the FPS and a need to use the analogue sticks more than the d-pad for directions. With that, the buttons on this prototype appear to be closer together and made with different material.
This is obviously the biggest difference, and something that has been long rumoured. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets released more like the rear of the PS Vita, but the idea that this is a screen that can display text & images might be interesting. The main issue would be, if this is a standard screen, how long would the battery last powering this? From a gameplay standpoint, it adds a lot of weight to games that feature inventory and the like, as well as opening up new input ideas.
There appears to be a small speaker on this unit too, and while that’s not revolutionary technology it could be a nice touch. Hopefully it’s used in a less redundant fashion than the Wii controller’s speakers are.
On the top ridge of the controller there’s a gentle hue glowing from it. If I were a betting man I would say this opens it up to being used as a move-style controller (perhaps removing the need for SIXAXIS technology).