More details are either being officially released, or leaked, as we get closer to the launch of the PlayStation 5 in 2020. The most interesting for racing fans so far has regarded the DualShock 5. So will the PS5 controller transform GT Sport and other racing games?
We already know the PS5 will be coming during the 2020 holiday season (October – December) alongside the Microsoft Xbox Series X to benefit from Christmas. And it will have a bespoke 8-core AMD chipset, an SSD storage system, backwards compatibility with PS4 games and PSVR hardware, 3D audio and 8K TV support.
Drawings of the new DualShock 5 controller for the PS5 have been potentially spotted by LetsGoDigital via the USPTO, and VGC via the Japanese Patent Office. They appear to remove the DualShock 4’s light bar, change the size of sticks and triggers and adds two new back paddles similar to the recent DualShock 4 Back Button.
But in a CES interview with Business Insider Japan following the reveal of the PlayStation 5 logo, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed more details about using the PS5 controllers (translated by Gematsu).
“3D audio and the haptic feedback support of the controller are also things that, when you try them, you will be surprised at how big a change they are. Even just playing the racing game Gran Turismo Sport with a PlayStation 5 controller is a completely different experience. While it runs well with the previous controller, there is no going back after you experience the detailed road surface via haptic control and play using the adaptive triggers.
This echoes a report from Wired, who had the first hands-on experience with a PS5 dev kit in October.
Driving on the border between the track and the dirt, I could feel both surfaces. Doing the same thing on the same track using a DualShock 4 on a PS4, that sensation disappeared entirely. It wasn’t that the old style rumble feedback paled in comparison, it was that there was no feedback at all. User tests found that rumble feedback was too tiring to use continuously, so the released version of GT Sport simply didn’t use it.
All of this is really interesting, even for non-PlayStation racers. Adaptive triggers can offer different levels of resistance through the travel which means you could better emulate the feeling of a proper brake, increasing resistance through the travel of the trigger, and reducing some of the benefits of a load-cell brake pedal for your sim rig.
Now combine that with far more detailed haptic feedback to provide more information on the road surfaces and tyre limits, etc.
Will the PS5 controller transform GT Sport? Well, given backwards compatibility and an existing 8 million+ players, it makes sense that an enhanced compatible version on the new controller will be more immersive, and help you to drive more effectively than continuing PS4 racers.
But it might even go beyond PlayStation racing titles. While the PS5 Dualshock 5 won’t take away the desire or need for serious sim racers to invest heavily in wheel and pedal set-ups for their ultimate racing rigs, it might narrow the gap a lot more between the performance of controllers versus wheels. The biggest issue in tackling any racing sim on a joypad is the lack of both stick/trigger travel and feedback, so the PS5 pad could become a serious contender for PC use as well as for the PlayStation 5.