Sony's PS5 DualSense controller is here – and it ain't pretty

DualSense controller
(Image credit: PlayStation)

Sony has revealed its upcoming PS5 controller named DualSense, and it's the most radical departure ever for a PlayStation controller design. Unveiled in a blog post on PlayStation's website, DualSense's headline features involve (as the name might suggest) the senses – particularly touch, with new haptic feedback vibrations. Sounds like it'll feel good, but does it look good? Er, we're not keen.

It's been a rocky road for the new system so far, design-wise. The PS5 logo reveal was met with disdain in January, and the new controller hasn't fared much better. Fans are unhappy with the white colour as well as the lack of colour-coded buttons. Several Twitter users have pointed out that the new, rounded design looks more like an Xbox controller, while others think it resembles a helmet (keep scrolling for a range of reactions).

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DualSense controller

Definitely not the controller's 'good side' (Image credit: PlayStation)

With its bloated shape, the DualSense doesn't exactly scream 'first-party' design to us. Ditching the iconic, svelte silhouette of the original in favour of this rounded affair creates the impression of a knock-off that wasn't allowed to use the official shape. And then there's the headache-inducing black-and-white colour scheme which, along with those all-grey buttons, looks like it'll make for a navigational nightmare. And does the touchpad really need to be the size of a small island? All that white space makes the whole thing look unnecessarily large. 

Sony acknowledges the changes in its blog post. “DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings," says Sony's CEO, Jim Ryan. "Traditionally our base controllers have a single colour", adds Playstation's senior vice president Hideaki Nishino. "As you can see, we went a different direction this time around, and decided on a two-toned design." 

While no explanation is given for the decision, we're told that Sony went through hundreds of concepts and mockups – we dread to think what they look like. Twitter was quick to pounce on the DualSense design, with various memes quickly appearing (below). One user even slapped a MadCatz logo on it to emphasise how unofficial it looks.

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In terms of tech, along with its refined haptic feedback, DualSense includes a built-in microphone for talking to friends without a headset, and the 'Share' button has been renamed 'Create'. Sony promises to reveal more on that later, but claims it will "create epic gameplay content to share with the world".

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It's not all bad news on the design front, though. One Twitter user shared a mockup (above) of how the controller would look if it ditched the two-tone design in favour of a more traditional all-black appearance. This was met with an overwhelmingly positive response, with many claiming that it looks "much better" (although several replies suggest the colour-coded buttons still need to make a comeback). Sony typically releases several colour variations of its PlayStation controllers, so we may yet see a more attractive option. 

Sony is yet to reveal the design of the PS5 itself, but we're bracing ourselves for the results. Still, if it's a powerful enough system, perhaps most gamers won't mind how it looks. Indeed, Sony seems to be favouring function over form with this generation the PlayStation. Of its controller, the brand says it wants gamers "to forget its even in their hands!" Sounds like a good thing to us.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.