We’re getting more and more information about the, still supposed to be released this year, PlayStation 5. If you’ve even a passing interest in PlayStation you may have seen and read about the new DualSense control pad for the PS5 (even if you haven’t it’s been plastered everywhere). It was also recently reported, via Bloomberg that people familiar with the new console suggest the PS5 will be considerably more expensive than the PS4 was at launch. I think one of these can help the other, that there is an opportunity for the DualSense to lower the cost of the PlayStation 5 and that fans are already showing us how.
Bloomberg’s Takashi Mochizuki and Yuki Furukawara reported, via anonymous sources that Sony may be limiting the initial production run of the PS5 due to a number of reasons. This includes the anticipation of a higher price point due to the level of technology in the console. Bloomberg’s article states that developers producing titles for the console anticipate a $499 – $549 retail price. This would be around £398 – £438 (and change) at the time of writing. If this is correct I would expect a £449 price because the UK always seems to get a slightly worse deal due to exchange rates. The PS4 was a remarkable $399.99 / £349.99 driving down the expected cost after the mammoth price of the PS3. If we’re lucky we may see a price of just over £400 but I doubt it even if Sony use the console as a loss leader, something they have done in the past.
In better news, Sony unveiled the DualSense, the new control pad for the PS5. The design is quite different from the DS4, and all of the different iterations of DualShock pad through the years. We’ve known about the technology inside of it for a while now, with Sony talking haptics back in 2019. Noticeably on its reveal the main difference, and the polarising one is its shape and colour. It’s something I’m warming to more but I want to get one in my hands before I commit to proclaiming its excellence. It’s a beefier, more rounded DS4 with improved triggers and what looks like a set of armour protecting it. The two colour design isn’t to everyone’s liking, mine included. Sony’s choice of colour combination is odd considering people love a black box and matching pad to go with their entertainment set up. White editions of consoles fazed out with the Xbox 360 unless they’re special or later editions. If the new pad matches the new console Sony is moving in a bold, new direction. The DS4 did have a similar ability to have two different colours with Sony producing two tone designs for coloured pads. These weren’t nearly as jarring as this white on black design (Although some special edition pads were just awful).
So how can the DualSense pad help reduce the cost of the PlayStation 5 console at launch? For that we need to look at Microsoft and the Xbox Design lab. In this wondrous place you can design your own Xbox One control pad. Design is a loose term as it’s a pretty rigid set up allowing you to choose various colours or styles in combination. Pads start at £59.99 for a standard combination, increasing if you want camo or shadow options, metallic finishes or engraving. Playing with the tool I managed to get a pad costing £87.95 by pricing in all the additional options. That’s pretty pricey for a control pad when you can pick up a standard pad for just under £40 these days.
Any price I suggest for the new DualSense at launch would just be conjecture, especially with all the unique technology going into it. I’m pretty sure it’ll be more than you can buy a DualShock 4 pad for currently. Sony, why not go the extra mile? I could see them setting up something similar to Xbox Design Lab allowing people to make their own designs at a higher price. I think some of this cost could offset the price of the PS5 at launch. Personally I’ve owned 4 DualShock 4’s through the years, and not because they’ve broken but because I could. As someone who plays pretty exclusively solo this is absurd. Why would I need all those pads? Whilst I couldn’t find attach rates for control pads, nor sales figures for Design lab pads anecdotally the people I know who’ve got Xbox’s have more pads than they need. It’s a fun thing to have an individually coloured, engraved pad and something easily gift-able to that gamer in your life. Sony would of course need to do the maths to see if this stacks up for them. If they can get the data and see that the attachment rate on control pads is 3 or 4 pads per console, then sell customised DualSense pads at £69.99 to £74.99 as a starting point a tidy profit of £5 to £10 may be achievable. Estimating £20 or £30 profit, if not more, on pads per console they may be able to just allow us a slither of a saving on the PS5. Make it a loss leader and bam! £400 launch price.
If Sony needed convincing that this is the way forward all they need to do is look at the wealth of custom DualSense designs people have been producing. These range from colour combinations to full themed pads for various franchises. Here are a few of my favourite ones I’ve seen so far. Sony, please look at these designs and try to justify not doing a design lab of your own (Then make the PS5 £400 at launch).
This Gold and Black version from Itsalastor is my favourite so far. Sleek and stylish it reminds me of the Gold and Black DS4 that got stolen from my house, just a flipped colour combination with that nice geometric print.
Boss Logic is known for his excellent design skills and has produced a few different DualSense designs since it’s reveal. This Death Stranding themed design is my favourite with the BB in the touch pad a fantastic addition.
Doesn’t this just scream PlayStation. Classic colour combination from Elca who’s also making a bunch of stuff in Dreams including a huge The Last Airbender themed project.
Someone else big in the Dreams community MultiMoo has produced this Final Fantasy 7 inspired pad. Those colours work very well together and this could rival any official special edition tie in pad.
There are absolutely loads of designs out there to drool over and search through. Searching DualSense on twitter is your best bet to find designs and also brings up some cool fan-art around robot control pads. If you’re a reddit user there is also a thread full of great designs to take inspiration from https://www.reddit.com/r/DualSenseConcepts/
What’s your favourite DualSense custom concept you’ve seen so far? Have you made any yourself or are you waiting patiently to explore your creative side in a design lab style system? Come let me know.