Should the DualShock 4 Have a Rear Touchpad?

The PlayStation 4 is coming – not today, not tomorrow, probably not even at E3, but within the coming years. With that in mind, speculation has begun as to what the PS4 specs will be, mainly focusing on how powerful it will be. But the controller could also see a change as the platform involves – so could Sony use the Vita’s rear touchpad for the DualShock 4?

The Emmy Award winning DualShock began way back in 1997 in Japan, replacing the Dual Analog Controller (which had longer hand grips and ridged shoulder button) and soon became a popular choice for console gamers. The DualShock 2 was virtually the same controller, with different screw positioning in the back, and one fewer screws. It also had a differently shaped connector, was lighter and had stiffer analogue sticks for more precise controls.

The DualShock 3 changed the formula up a little, doing away with cables and adding SixAxis motion control support.

But the DualShock 4? Sony could keep the controller the same again, possibly boosting the battery and making rumble more powerful, but the company could also add something new to try and give the PS4 an extra edge in the next console war. A drastic change to the shape of the PlayStation controller was tried by Sony before – the original PS3 controller was set to be an unwieldy behemoth nicknamed the boomerang – so it’s unlikely that Sony will try to do the same thing again. But adding a rear touchpanel wouldn’t require too much change to the design.

When the PS4 releases, presumably in 2013 or 2014, the Vita should be in full swing and shifting millions of units worldwide every month (unless the doom and gloom articles are right). Having a rear touchpanel will allow for an unparalleled level of interactivity between the PS4 and Vita, as well as meaning that games that are developed for PS4 and Vita can have touch based elements as a core part of their design, rather than just side elements for the Vita.

Having a rear touchpad also means that even users that don’t have a Vita will have a controller that has more control options. Like on the Vita, they will be able to drag their finger across the back of their controller to play games like Little Deviants, climb walls like in Uncharted Golden Abyss, or boost like in WipEout.

Of course, adding more to the controller will certainly increase the costs of the device, but considering both the Vita’s OLED screen and the rear touchpad are estimated to cost $50 combined – with most of the cost being associated with the screen – it’s unlikely the smaller DS4 rear touchpad will cost too much.

Would you like the DS4 to have a rear touchpad, or any other changes? Or do you want Sony to keep the controller exactly the same? Share your thoughts in the comments below.