Early in development Sony toyed with the idea of putting sensors in PlayStation 4 controllers to sense gamer sweat and stress levels, though it ultimately scrapped those plans.
PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny discussed the scrapped features in an interview with Stuff.tv. Some early versions of the controller would detect the player’s galvanic skin response, which can measure sweat and stress levels.
Theoretically, if Sony had kept the feature, games could have used those measurements to change the intensity of games. Horror games, for example, could amp up the scary sections of the game for gamers who aren’t stressed enough for the game’s liking. Microsoft can achieve similar effects with the Kinect sensor of the Xbox One, thanks to its ability to sense a gamer’s heart rate.
Cerny and his team “looked at pretty much any idea we could think of” for the DualShock 4 controller of the PlayStation 4 before ditching the galvanic response sensors. In the end the team added a touchpad to the controller and made it friendlier for first-person shooters than previous DualShock controllers.
“Historically we have heard many times that our controllers have not been ideal for first-person shooter, so we wanted to make sure we had something that would be much better for that genre,” Cerny said. “We tested the throw of the triggers, the position of the triggers, how much pressure it takes. We looked at the joysticks, the dead spot, we looked at convexity and concavity.” The end result, he says, “feels extraordinarily natural.”
With a focus on making the controller better for first-person shooters, games like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Destiny should play very well on the PlayStation 4. The redesign could finally make shooters fun to play on a Sony console.
Coming out of E3 the DualShock 4 was almost universally praised as a big improvement over the PlayStation 3 controller. Cerny says he hasn’t “heard a negative comment about it yet. For a controller with a very different form factor that was just amazing to see.”