The DualSense Requirement is Not Anti-Consumer

A short while ago, it was revealed that PlayStation 5 games would require the use of the new DualSense controller. For some reason, this seems to have sparked a minor outrage among the gaming community. Some call it anti-consumer, while others say Sony is now playing right into Microsoft’s hands. The thing is though, this isn’t a controversial move by Sony; it’s standard practice. In fact, it’s been the standard practice of every hardware maker with every new console for the entire history of gaming. This isn’t new. It’s normal and it’s not the big deal that so many people want to pretend that it is.

To be fair to those who are upset about this, controllers are indeed expensive. For both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, new controllers still cost around sixty dollars. Those who go out and buy premium, third-party controllers often spend even more. Having to replace these controllers is indeed a pain, but this is still nothing new. Every new hardware generation inevitably and completely replaces the old, controllers and all.

DualShock 4 Steam Support
It’s also important for Sony to establish a new hardware baseline with the launch of the PlayStation 5. Having a standard set of specs and features to work with is part of the appeal of developing for console. It’s also a source of confidence for those that buy into a given platform. Gamers can rest assured that their purchase will grant them access to at least the next six years of gaming, and this has held true even with the advent of half-step machines like the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. The DualShock 4 has been serving PS4 owners for six years now, so it’s likely not too much of a stretch to say that most users have gotten their money’s worth by now.

The PlayStation 5 is the next generation of Sony hardware just like the Xbox Series X is for Microsoft. Both consoles have new hardware baselines and their controllers, being a major part of the new hardware system, are just as subject to it as any internal component. Unlike the new Xbox controller, the DualSense is very different from the DualShock 4 in several ways. It only makes sense that Sony would require it for PlayStation 5 games. They wouldn’t reasonably be able to expect developers to take full advantage of the new technology if it wasn’t required.

DualSense Trailer Image
Please keep in mind that all aspects of game development require time and resources. If developers think that a relevant portion won’t have access to DualSense feature, then they likely won’t put resources into taking advantage of that feature. This can be applied to all the new technology and features packed into the DualSense controller, which undermines the whole point of having a new controller in the first place. Gamers can’t have it both ways; it’s either stick with the DualShock 4 and reject all future first-part controller development or continue to accept the old idea that with new consoles come new controllers. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that all consoles have always come with at least one controller packed-in with it and that’s not likely to change with the PlayStation 5.

Sony’s decision to require the DualSense for PlayStation 5 games is neither anti-consumer nor is it giving the advantage to the Xbox Series X. It’s standard operating procedure for launching a new console and it’s a decision that ensures developers will do their best to use all the system’s new technology. Micorsoft may indeed be bucking that trend a bit with the Xbox Series X controller, but then it’s almost the same controller as that of the Xbox One; it’s even backwards compatible with the Xbox One. It’ll save Xbox users some money, but it comes at the cost of any real advancement. Good advancement is worth paying for. If the DualSense’s new features prove worthwhile, then it’s likely that PS5 users won’t actually resent having to pick an extra one for their friends.