DualSense Controller Praised by Microsoft’s Head of Gaming Phil Spencer

PlayStation 5 DualSense

The DualSense controller (which recently became officially supported on Steam, albeit only with the features of a regular PlayStation 4 controller) is one of the most praised innovations shipped by Sony with its PlayStation 5 console.

The DualSense received plenty of appreciation from players, reviewers, game developers, and now even from none other than Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft - PlayStation's chief competitor in the console space. In an interview with The Verge, he said:

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I applaud what they did with the DualSense controller, not actually for — well, I shouldn’t say not for the specifics of the controller, but more than just the specifics of the controller. I think for all of us in the industry, we should learn from each other and the innovation that we all push on, whether it’s distribution of business model like Game Pass, or controller tech, or the Wii back in the day, which clearly had an impact on us when we went off and did Kinect and Sony did the Move.

Why didn't Microsoft try to do some kind of controller innovation like Sony with the DualSense, though? Spencer expanded a bit on the topic later in the same interview.

The Xbox controller has kind of become a default, even outside of gaming scenarios, which is always bizarre to me. I’ll see somebody controlling a robot and they’re using an Xbox controller somewhere in an enterprise scenario.

That’s something where we have to think about superset, subset. Not all of our controllers have all exactly the same capability. The Elite has the buttons on the back and stuff. I don’t think it precludes us. There is something about the common expectation that people have [of] our controller and its ubiquity that’s out there, that I think is a string. It doesn’t keep us from innovating. Clearly, we do have to think about all of the use cases that are out there. We can’t turn the controller inside out because there’s so much expectation about the way it should work now. We can innovate on top of that, and we’re going to look at what any other company does and learn from it, and see if it’s something that we want to apply to what we’re doing.

It sounds like there could be innovations further down the road coming to Xbox controllers, though if that came in the form of an optional controller like the Xbox Elite series, it would be hard for developers to broadly adopt any unique features when the default controller coming with the consoles doesn't support them.

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