DualSense controller hints at possibilities for high-tech PlayStation 5
I know some people have been complaining about the look of the new PlayStation 5 game console from Sony. Not me. I like the curves and the white with black highlights; it feels futuristic to me.
And the design, I understand, is in part a way of keeping the hardware cool without needing a fan that makes the machine sound like an airplane taking off, one of the complaints people have about the PS4 Pro.
The PS5 is as big as everyone says, though. I’ve got it on its side and oriented that way it’s only a bit wider than the PS4 that it’s replacing, but the new console takes up more space. But it runs quiet and the lighting highlights make it glow nicely in the dark.
It was a breeze to set up the PS5 that was provided to me by PlayStation Canada. The package for the console ($629) came with a power cable and high-speed HDMI. I had it all plugged in and was in configuration mode within minutes.
High power, new interface
The new interface for the PS5 is clean and simple. It provides clear access to games, pushing the system and preference controls to the bottom of the screen. They are only visible when you activate them by pushing the PS button on the controller.
There’s an ultra HD Blu-ray drive (no 3D on this machine), too.
The tech specs on the PS5 are impressive. AMD and Sony custom-built the computer and graphical processing units. They designed them on the same chip and configured them to work together to balance frequency and power.
What it amounts to is better visuals—your experience will vary depending on what your PS5 is displaying on—and faster processing. That means getting into games and switching between them quicker.
This is supported by a custom solid state drive (SSD) that can provide a read speed that is up to 100 times faster than the PS4, according to Sony’s Mark Cerny, who is the architect behind the hardware.
The PS5 internal hard drive isn’t large
The PS5 is also available in a Digital Edition ($499), which removes the disc drive, so you’ll only be able to install games you download.
The concern with this approach is that the internal SSD drive in the PS5 units is only 825 GB in size, and only 667 GB of that is available for storing games and save files.
Given that some games can take up more than 100 GB of space when you install them, there’s not a lot of room if you like to have a bunch of games ready to play. Otherwise, you’re deleting and downloading (or re-downloading).
Sony hasn’t come up with a recommendation or standard for external SSDs yet and while you can plug in more run of the mill external drives, you can’t play PS5 games from those external devices, because they can’t get information out fast enough for the system.
What you should do to get ready for your PS5
That external drive can hold all your PS4 games that you want to play on your PS5. If you’re planning on getting a new console, you can make the transition to your new machine much faster if you move your PS4 games onto a that portable drive in advance.
I did this, and found all of those games instantly available to me as soon as I plugged the drive into the PS5.
PS5 games are a bit lacking at the moment
You may find yourself playing those PS4 games for a bit while you wait for more PS5 games to be released. At the moment, there are fewer than 30 PS5 games. Many of them are games made for the PS4 that have been readied for PS5. (And some are also available for the Xbox Series S/X console, too.)
Sony’s got Sackboy: A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital) and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (which comes with the predecessor Marvel’s Spider-Man), which are available for PS4 and PS5.
There are a couple of interesting PS5 exclusives, though. These include a remake of 2009’s Demon’s Souls, which birthed a sub-genre of action role playing games notable for their difficulty, and Astro’s Playroom, a shiny platformer which doubles as a tech demo for the PS5 DualSense controller.
The DualSense controller is truly innovative
In playing Astro’s Playroom—referred to by game journalist and host Marissa Roberto as an “appetizer”—you’ll get a chance to experience all of the things the DualSense controller was designed to do.
In addition to having motion sensing gyros and accelerometers built in, the DualSense has fine-tuned haptics—much more than just a rumble—that can make you feel like you’re walking through mud or skating on ice.
And the adaptive triggers give you a variable feel when you’re playing. They permit discrete control over game mechanics like thrusters, braking, and pulling the drawstring on a bow.
Aside from Astro’s Playroom, there’s not really any game that takes advantage of this technology. But the DualSense has been built. The games, they will come.
Don’t be in a rush to get rid of that PS4
You’ve got lots of PS4 games you can continue to play on your old console. And you’ll also be able to stream next-gen games from your new console to the PS4 using the PlayStation Remote Play feature.