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  1. Sony reveals next-gen PlayStation VR controller for PS5 PlayStation 5 VR controllers will incorporate DualSense tech Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment Sony gave PlayStation fans a peek at the next generation of its PlayStation VR controllers on Thursday, promising “stronger immersion with adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, [and] finger-touch detection” for the PlayStation 5 virtual reality system. Hideaki Nishino, senior VP of platform planning and management at Sony Interactive Entertainment, described the next-gen PSVR controller as orb-shaped and offering a high degree of freedom for players. The PSVR2 controllers will incorporate technology from the PS5’s DualSense controller, Nishino said, touting “an iconic design that will change how VR games are played.” Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment Here are the first details from Sony’s PlayStation Blog: Adaptive triggers: Each VR controller (Left and Right) includes an adaptive trigger button that adds palpable tension when pressed, similar to what’s found in the DualSense controller. If you’ve played a PS5 game, you’ll be familiar with the tension in the L2 or R2 buttons when you press them, such as when you’re drawing your bow to fire an arrow. When you take that kind of mechanic and apply it to VR, the experience is amplified to the next level. Haptic feedback: The new controller will have haptic feedback optimized for its form factor, making every sensation in the game world more impactful, textured and nuanced. When you’re traversing through rocky desert or trading blows in melee combat, you’ll feel the difference, magnifying the extraordinary visual and audio experience that’s so central to VR. Finger touch detection: The controller can detect your fingers without any pressing in the areas where you place your thumb, index, or middle fingers. This enables you to make more natural gestures with your hands during gameplay. Tracking: The VR controller is tracked by the new VR headset through a tracking ring across the bottom of the controller. Action buttons / analog sticks: The Left controller contains one analog stick, the triangle and square buttons, a “grip” button (L1), trigger button (L2) and Create button. The Right controller contains one analog stick, the cross and circle buttons, a “grip” button (R1), trigger button (R2) and Options button. The “grip” button can be used to pick up in-game objects, as one example. Sony announced first details on PlayStation VR for PS5 in February, saying the next-gen virtual reality headset will offer “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity” and “an even greater sense of presence.” PSVR for PS5 will require only one cord to connect to the system, Nishino said at the time, a major improvement over the PlayStation 4 VR headset. Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment The next generation of PlayStation VR won’t launch in 2021 (Sony hasn’t announced a launch date yet), but developers are currently working with early hardware. The original PlayStation VR launched in 2016 for PlayStation 4, and a more streamlined version of the hardware was released the following year. The headset, originally priced at $399, was a comparatively low-cost, but good-enough solution for consoles, and Sony has continued to support the platform with new games over the years. PlayStation VR is currently supported on PlayStation 5, but requires an adapter to use. Source: Sony reveals next-gen PlayStation VR controller for PS5
  2. 8BitDo's Pro 2 controller adds back paddles and a quick profile switcher The $50 Bluetooth controller for Switch, PC and mobile is now available for pre-order. 8BitDo has launched the follow-up to the SN30 Pro+ Bluetooth controller that came out in 2019, and it offers additional features for the same price. The 8BitDo Pro 2 has two back buttons that you can assign any function to, so you don't have to take your thumbs off the thumbsticks if you can help it. To program the buttons — or to remap any buttons you want — you'll have to use the company's Ultimate Software. While the software was only accessible on Mac and Windows in the past, it's now also available as an app for Android and iOS. 8BitDo In addition to giving you a way to remap buttons, the software also lets you create profiles. The good news is that you don't have to fire up the app to change profiles on the controller anymore, because the Pro 2 has a dedicated button that holds up to three of them — just press it to switch between profiles on the fly. There's a new mode switch button, as well, so you can quickly go from one mode to another, allowing you to use the controller in Switch or Android mode, or to pair it as an X-input or D-input device. Finally, the Pro 2 has a textured back that offers better grip than its predecessor. 8BitDo We loved the Pro+ when it came out, and we called it a "near-perfect Switch controller" in our review — we even preferred it over the official Switch Pro controller. With its additional features, we're hoping its successor is even better. You can now pre-order the 8BitDo Pro 2 from Amazon for $50. The package will come with a USB cable, giving you a way to use the device as a wired controller. If you want the smartphone clip and the carrying case the company designed for the model, though, you'll have to buy them separately. Both accessories are now also available for pre-order on Amazon and will ship on April 12th. Source: 8BitDo's Pro 2 controller adds back paddles and a quick profile switcher
  3. Steam is encouraging developers to care about controller users About 10% of daily Steam sessions are played with a controller In total, 48 million players have used a controller for a game on Steam at some point. Valve have shared that and other big numbers in their breakdown on some new Steamworks tools that help developers see the type and prevalence of controller use for their games. For us routine controller users, that could mean developers investing time in better controller support on PC. Or just reassurance that no, we are aren't the only ones dedicated to our gamepads. Valve say that about 10% of daily Steam game sessions are played with a controller, though they point out percentages vary heavily by type of game. "In general, a lot of players like to play a large cross section of games on Steam with a controller–which is something many people, including those of us at Valve, find a bit surprising," they say. I don't find that particularly surprising, but I suppose it's because I'm usually part of that 10%. Valve's new Steamworks reports break down for developers how many of their players are using controllers and which kinds. Developers can also identify how many players who have used a controller in the past are actually playing their games with a controller. Valve have also got suggestions on what developers can glean from all this new data. "If the number of customers with controllers is really high, but not many of them are using controllers in your game, it might suggest that you haven’t done much (or any) work to support controllers in your game." Or it might mean your game is an RTS, which Valve say often have below 1% of players using a controller on Steam. If you've got a fighting game, low controller use might be more concerning. In particular, it sounds like PlayStation controllers could use some extra love. Valve call out a couple options for improving support for PS pad people such as using the Steam Input API or Gamepad Emulation. "If we have just one thing we’d suggest and promote, it would be for more developers to display the corresponding PlayStation icons in game when there is a prompt for a player to hit a certain button." I'm personally an Xbox One controller user but yeah, I feel bad for the DualShock and DualSense folks who see that "X" button prompt that isn't actually the "X" button. You can catch the graphs and more details in Valve's post. If you're rocking a gamepad for all your PC games, don't worry. You aren't alone. Valve have been putting in some work on their end to improve controller support on Steam as well. They were pretty quick to improve DualSense support after the PS5 launched last November. They also began beta testing additional Xbox and PlayStation controller features in January. Source: Steam is encouraging developers to care about controller users
  4. Silicon Motion says it will debut its PCIe 5.0 SSD controller in 2022 Faster SSDs are on the horizon Why it matters: Silicon Motion is looking to cash in on the huge demand for fast storage in the enterprise space, so it's scrambling to be among the first companies to launch a PCIe 5.0 SSD controller. And while that may not mean much for consumers today, it signals that significantly faster SSDs might arrive a bit sooner than expected. PCIe 4.0 has brought little performance improvement on the graphics card end, as we've shown through our testing using the GeForce RTX 3080 FE. However, it did lead to a new crop of NVMe solid state drives that offer incredibly fast read and write speeds, while some models like the Samsung 980 Pro can hit a blistering 7,000 MB per second. On the eve of PCIe 4.0's arrival in 2019, the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) announced PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 6.0 specs, which looked like a peculiar decision. On the other hand, enterprise and industrial requirements are evolving so fast that these standards will no doubt coexist to serve a variety of applications. Silicon Motion PCIe 4.0 controllers support read speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s Silicon Motion recently said that it would start sampling a new enterprise SSD controller that uses the PCIe 5.0 interface as soon as the second half of this year. The company plans to introduce server SSDs based on the new controller next year, which means consumer-grade PCIe 5.0 SSDs are potentially also in the pipeline. Consumer PCIe 4.0 SSDs are plenty fast for most applications, but they're quickly saturating the theoretical maximum of 8 GB per second that a 4-lane connection can afford. PCIe 5.0 can effectively double that bandwidth, which is going to benefit machine learning and big data applications more than gaming or video editing, though Microsoft's DirectStorage API might change that in the near future. Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory) is also working on enterprise-grade PCIe 5.0 SSDs based on its CM6 platform, and is already shipping engineering samples to its customers. At any rate, the soonest we might use a PCIe 5.0 SSD in a normal PC is whenever Intel will be able to ship its Alder Lake CPUs, which could be as soon as this year or early 2022. Source: Silicon Motion says it will debut its PCIe 5.0 SSD controller in 2022
  5. The PlayStation 5 is nearly here, and when it arrives, Japanese players are going to have to contend with a change that seems simple on the surface but could be massive in reality. Apparently, Sony is changing the function of some of the PlayStation 5’s controller buttons in Japan, swapping the functionality of the “X” and “O” buttons. That, as you might imagine, is going to be frustrating for Japanese players who are already used to the current functionality of the DualShock 4 and the controllers that came before it. The change was revealed in a recent hands-on article from Famitsu, and that article brought about a revelation for those of us here in the west: while the PlayStation games we play usually map confirm or accept to “X” and back or cancel to “O,” it’s the other way around in Japan. There, the “O” is accept and the “X” button is cancel, and it’s been that way since the first PlayStation launched. With the PlayStation 5 and the DualSense controller, Sony is swapping the functionality of those buttons in Japan, bringing their functionality in line with the rest of the world. It’s a simple change, but as VR developer Kenji Iguchi explains on Twitter, it’s one that will have Japanese players trying to undo more than two decades of muscle memory. “In Japan, the ‘Circle = Good, OK, Correct’ symbolism has been common knowledge for many decades. When designing the original PlayStation controller, it was likely that the placement of the O/X were hence made to match the Super Famicom’s A/B, and were utilized similarly,” Iguchi explained. Indeed, Nintendo’s controllers use a similar layout, and if you compare a Switch Pro Controller with an Xbox One controller, you’ll notice that the A and B button positions are swapped. So, once the PlayStation 5 and its DualSense controller land in Japan later this year, it seems that quite a few gamers will have to deal with the frustration that comes with muscle memory that’s suddenly been rendered inaccurate. When you consider that Nintendo’s controllers will still be keeping the same layout, those who own both a Switch and PlayStation 5 are in for some particularly annoying struggles. https://www.slashgear.com/this-new-playstation-5-controller-reveal-confirms-a-button-surprise-05641121/
  6. The next PlayStation controller is called DualSense, looks like a cool robot New rumble sensors in the triggers, new light bar placement, USB Type-C, more. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 3 images. While we still don't know what the PlayStation 5 console will look like (or whether it will really still hit its "holiday 2020" release window), we at least know about its controller. The PS5's gamepad, dubbed the DualSense, largely resembles previous DualShock models, but it appears to have just enough changes under the hood to merit a mostly new name. Tuesday's surprise announcement comes courtesy of the official PlayStation Blog. The biggest technical difference comes in the form of a wholly updated "haptic feedback" suite, which we understand compares favorably to Nintendo's "HD rumble" feature in its Switch Joy-Con controllers. Sony senior VP Hideaki Nishino doesn't go into fine detail about how the DualSense's rumbling will differ from the DualShock 4 line, but finer-tuned haptic feedback can offer a greater range of rumble sensitivity and placement than most gamepads offer, at least when done right. "Stereo" rumbling feedback that carefully rumbles from one side to the other could be possible with such a system, but Sony didn't clarify. Nishino only mentions one specific DualSense rumbling bonus compared to other gamepads: "Adaptive" rumbling feedback. Nishino offers a vague description of how pressing the PS5's "L2" and "R2" triggers will let players "truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow." While Nishino's text doesn't say so, the controller's charging port now appears to be a USB Type-C connector, though it remains to be seen whether this will enable faster battery charging in the future or whether the DualSense's internal battery will be any bigger than the wimpy DualShock 4 offering. Without official specs just yet, we're left trusting Nishino's pledges of "strong battery life" and "lessen[ed] weight." And it's not just new rumbling tech that might weigh this controller down; the DualSense will also sport an embedded microphone array, which Nishino describes as appropriate for "a quick conversation." He recommends that players still use a dedicated headset "for a longer period." Neither the above images nor the official PS Blog post confirms whether or not to expect a 3.5mm headphone jack. PS5 design hint? VR issues? Otherwise, the star of the DualSense announcement is its new, bold two-toned design, a first for a launch PlayStation gamepad. While it's the boldest reimagining of the PlayStation controller concept in years, it's still ultimately conservative in comparison to the PlayStation 3's "boomerang" concept, which was eventually scrapped. Sony's first revealed DualSense model sports a white controller with black accents, along with a tiny array of blue LEDs peeking through its newly arranged "light bar." Could this be a loud hint to a similar color scheme in the PS5 hardware itself? Speaking of that light bar: Though the PS Blog doesn't mention it, the previous DualShock 4's light placement was set, in part, because the optional PlayStation Eye camera tracks that controller's location via RGB sensing of its lights—and the same goes for PlayStation VR's array of LEDs. DualSense, on the other hand, includes no such massive LED block transmitting in the direction of a camera, and it's a hint that any new PlayStation VR headset (which Sony has suggested but not formally announced) will use a totally different sensing system. This also puts into question how PSVR backward compatibility may or may not work with PS5—since some current PSVR exclusives currently revolve around DualShock 4 RGB sensing (particularly the stunning Astro Bot: Rescue Mission). Beyond the above new features, every button, joystick, and basic concept from the DualShock 4 (including its giant touchpad) returns in slightly modified form, although its "share" button has been rebranded as a "create" button. Unsurprisingly, Sony didn't describe exactly what will make the button different this time around. Sadly, the most exciting rumored feature for the PS5's controller, linked to a patent about biofeedback sensors built into a Sony gamepad, didn't appear in Nishino's post. Since he didn't include any teases of "more controller features to be revealed," we're not optimistic about Sony surprising us with news of a heart-rate sensor hidden inside the DualSense, but, hey, who knows? We'd take PS5 backwards compatibility with DualShock 4 gamepads as a consolation prize, but we imagine that kind of information will have to wait until later confirmation as Sony continues its drip-feed of PS5 details over the next few months. Listing image by Sony / Aurich Lawson Source: The next PlayStation controller is called DualSense, looks like a cool robot (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
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