If you’ve noticed that your PlayStation 5 DualSense controller’s vibration feels a little better with PlayStation 4 games these days, it’s not just you.
Sony released a comprehensive system software update for the PS5 in mid-April. If you have a PS5, you can remember that after the patch, the console prompted you to plug in the controller to update the firmware. At the time, Sony didn’t give any information about what the update did, but thanks to that we finally have some details The last of us part 2 Co-game director Kurt Margenau.
Shortly after this week’s PS5 performance update for Game 2020, which doubled the frame rate to 60 frames per second, Margenau noted on Friday that players returning to the game “may notice the feel is better” . The reason, Margenau stated in a Twitter threadis that the DualSense firmware update has optimized the haptic feedback when the controller is used to play PS4 titles. PS4 games played with DualSense on PS5 should now feel closer to their original experience with a PS4 and their DualShock 4 gamepad.
Margenau said he had the chance to give feedback to Sony’s DualSense team “a few months ago” to “improve the timing, intensity and texture of the feel” when users use the controller with PS4 games.
A few months ago, I had to give feedback to the Sony DualSense team to improve the timing, intensity, and “texture” of the feel in Backward Compatibility (BC) mode, and to achieve the feel we developed for the original DualShock 4, our games .
– Kurt Margenau (@kurtmargenau) May 21, 2021
Polygon staff noticed the haptic mismatch when the PS5 launched last November, saying that “the vibration schemes of some PS4 games are clearly designed for DualShock 4 – because they were”. We found that the feeling of force feedback is not a “one-to-one transition from DualShock 4 to DualSense”.
According to Margenau, eliminating the inequality was complicated due to mechanical differences between the controls.
The DualShock 4 controller delivers vibrations through two differently sized weights that rotate inside. The DualSense has two weights that move forwards and backwards and can “express frequency and amplitude with extremely high fidelity and low latency (almost like a loudspeaker)”, explained Margenau.
“So the controller firmware in the DualSense has to receive the ‘old’ signals that are supposed to turn a motor (with a much higher latency) and emulate the resulting FEELING in the controller with a completely different mechanical method.” he said on Twitter.
Additionally, this “translation” between the old and new controllers takes place entirely in the DualSense firmware – the PS4 game code doesn’t change at all when run on a PS5. It’s almost like magic! Except because it takes a lot of work.