Next-gen VR on PS5: the new controller

Stronger immersion with adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, finger-touch detection and more.

Following the recent reveal of our next-generation virtual reality system for PS5, I’m excited to unveil more details about the new controller that will play a critical role in providing gamers with the VR experience we’re working to deliver. Our new VR controller speaks to our mission of achieving a much deeper sense of presence and stronger feeling of immersion in VR experiences. It will build upon the innovation we introduced with the DualSense wireless controller, which changed how games “feel” on PS5 by unlocking a new way to tap into the sense of touch. Now we’re bringing that innovation to VR gaming.

Design

The first thing you’ll notice with our next-gen VR controller is the unique design, which takes on an “orb” shape that allows you to hold the controller naturally, while playing with a high degree of freedom. There are no constraints with how you’re moving your hands, providing developers with the ability to create unique gameplay experiences.

We also designed the new controller with great ergonomics in mind, so it’s well-balanced and comfortable to hold in each of your hands. We applied learnings from testing users with a range of hand sizes, as well as the decades of insights from controllers across all PlayStation platforms. The result is an iconic design that will change how VR games are played.

Features

The new VR controller enables players to feel and interact with games in a much more visceral way. There are several features, including key features from the DualSense controller, which match our vision for what next-generation VR games can be.

●      Adaptive triggers: Each VR controller (Left and Right) includes an adaptive trigger button that adds palpable tension when pressed, similar to what’s found in the DualSense controller. If you’ve played a PS5 game, you’ll be familiar with the tension in the L2 or R2 buttons when you press them, such as when you’re drawing your bow to fire an arrow. When you take that kind of mechanic and apply it to VR, the experience is amplified to the next level.

●       Haptic feedback: The new controller will have haptic feedback optimized for its form factor, making every sensation in the game world more impactful, textured and nuanced. When you’re traversing through rocky desert or trading blows in melee combat, you’ll feel the difference, magnifying the extraordinary visual and audio experience that’s so central to VR.

●       Finger touch detection: The controller can detect your fingers without any pressing in the areas where you place your thumb, index, or middle fingers. This enables you to make more natural gestures with your hands during gameplay.

●       Tracking: The VR controller is tracked by the new VR headset through a tracking ring across the bottom of the controller.

●       Action buttons / analog sticks: The Left controller contains one analog stick, the triangle and square buttons, a “grip” button (L1), trigger button (L2) and Create button. The Right controller contains one analog stick, the cross and circle buttons, a “grip” button (R1), trigger button (R2) and Options button. The “grip” button can be used to pick up in-game objects, as one example.

SIE’s Product, Engineering, and Design teams have collaborated to build our new VR controller from the ground up with a goal of making a huge leap from current-gen VR gaming. We’re thrilled with the controller we developed, but what matters now is how game creators will take advantage of the features to design the next generation of VR experiences. Prototypes of our new VR controller will be in the hands of the development community soon, and we can’t wait to see what ideas they come up with and how the controller helps bring their imagination to life!

There’s still much more to share about the next-generation of VR on PS5. On behalf of all of us at SIE, I want to thank you for taking this journey with us!