Sony Explains DualShock 4 Minutia, How Stick Stiffness Was Chosen

Following his comments about the DualShock 4 and its many iterations yesterday, Manager of the Product Planning Department Toshimasa Aoki was once again featured in an interview by GamesBeat, where he talked about the DualShock 4’s analog sticks and d-pad.

When it comes to the DualShock 3 and its analog sticks, Aoki admitted, “We knew it was slippery,” with Guerrilla Games Lead Gameplay Programmer Tommy de Roos adding, “The shape never felt completely right.” So, to improve the quality of the sticks for the DualShock 4, Aoki explained:

We tried concave, fully convex, and different types of ridges. The convex, it just slips off. We knew that even if we changed the material, that would still happen. The concave one – when you have your thumb in the middle, it fits, and it’s pretty good. But in user tests, a lot of users still [pushed the stick tips from the side]. When you’re using the concave one, it kind of hurt a lot for those people [because of the sharper edge]. So the decision was to go with the ridged version.

With Gran Turismo being a huge selling franchise, Sony changed the DualShock 2’s stiff analog sticks to the lighter DualShock 3 ones based on Polyphony Digital’s feedback. This is because “they use it for steering, if it’s too stiff, when you’re going back and forth a lot, you get tired, so they wanted to make it lighter.” But for the PlayStation 4, the developers behind shooting titles “wanted more precise aiming.” Following tests with different types of stiffness, Aoki said, “Right in between DualShock 2 and DualShock 3 was the best stiffness that people liked. We decided to use that.”


Something else those shooter developers had a big influence with on the DualShock 4 are the L3/R3 buttons when you click in the analog sticks. “The DualShock 3, when the sticks are straight,” Aoki said, “It’s easy to press them down. But it was really hard when they were angled or sideways. So we fixed that as well.” As for accidental clicks, Aoki continued, “Yeah, accidental presses also happened with the DualShock 3. That’s a balance [issue for us]. You can press the sticks easily now, but you don’t want accidental presses, so we don’t want to make it too easy to press.”

As for the d-pad, Killzone: Shadow Fall Game Director Steven ter Heide said, “For us, it was important that you could feel the different button presses, that it would all make sense from a muscle memory point of view. You would immediately feel where the button was and which direction you could push it in. I think that’s something that we improved over the PS3. They have a little bit more definition to them.” Tommy de Roos then added, “There’s more of a click to it as well. You feel the press.”

On the testing side for the d-pad, Aoki said they “used a lot of Street Fighter, of course.”

Have you had a chance to try the DualShock 4 yet? Are you excited for all the changes? Let us know in the comments below.