The new DualSense wireless controller of PlayStation 5 has a large touchpad in the middle much similar to the last-generation DualShock 4 controller. The main difference being that the touchpad might actually be used by developers for PS5 and not be abandoned like for PS4.
According to a recently published patent, Sony Interactive Entertainment intends to use the touchpad of DualSense as a mouse. Users can “soft-touch” to enable and move a cursor across the screen without sending location data, and then “hard-touch” to move a cursor while also sending location data which includes “inputting a letter from a virtual keyboard.” The patent further notes that PS5 uses machine learning to predict the next letter or word during the process.
The instructions are executable to, responsive to the touch signal indicating a first pressure, move a cursor on a display distanced from the controller and not establish a selection of a letter. The instructions also are executable to, responsive to the touch signal indicating a second pressure greater than the first pressure, establish a selection of a first alphanumeric character and present the first alphanumeric character on the display.
There was a similar patent from a while back that coupled the DualSense touchpad with an on-screen interface. The idea proposed was to create regions on the touchpad that will be shown on the screen for users to act upon without looking down on their controllers. For example, having users perform a gesture on the right side of the touchpad.
The two aforementioned patents can hence understandably work together for various functionalities. Whether the touchpad gains attention from developers though remains to be seen. It will likely serve a purpose for menus and such, but beyond that falls mostly on the new adaptive triggers and haptic feedback technology of DualSense.
PlayStation 5 launches on November 12, 2020. DualSense, for those interested in purchasing a secondary controller, retails at $70.