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Former Xbox Director Breaks His Silence On PS5 Controller

Sony finally unveiled the design of the PlayStation 5 controller last week, and it has had everyone talking. As with any new announcement from a major video game company, Twitter essentially exploded. The new controller, called the DualSense, has inspired memes mocking its design, as well as the usual back and forth of fans debating the pros and cons of its new look.

However, we haven't heard a lot out of the folks on the opposing team. Aside from a pointed gif that Microsoft posted to Twitter showing off their Xbox Series X controller yet again, there's been no real response regarding what the company thinks of the DualSense. That has now changed with recent comments from former Xbox marketing director Albert Penello.

While he may have left Microsoft to work for Amazon a few years back, Penello has kept his finger on the pulse of the gaming industry. In a series of tweets, Penello gave his thoughts on the DualSense's overall design. Though some of the more competitive fans out there likely hoped for a more scathing response, the majority of Penello's comments were rather complimentary.

"I like the new #DualSence [sic]. Futuristic looking and I like the Portal/Mass Effect style armor. Some bold (and expensive!) design choices to achieve that layering," Penello tweeted. "Widening the triggers is smart, adding more fidelity to rumble is good looking forward to that."

The mention of Portal and Mass Effect is an interesting point. The sleek and futuristic design of the DualSense makes it look and feel much more like players are holding something straight out of one of their favorite games.  Penello also said that he thought the controller looked to be quite comfortable.

For what it's worth, Penello isn't entirely without gripes. He does mention that there are a few design choices that don't sit entirely well with him when it comes to the DualSense controller. In a follow-up tweet, he added, "I'm worried about the partline that runs down the grips. If you have larger hands, this could create some discomfort in the Thenar." 

Penello is referring to the ball of the thumb, which he fears may not be cushioned very well by the controller's design. He also disliked the fact that the controller is designed to rest on its triggers. This makes one wonder how he'd feel about the apparent back triggers missing from the DualSense's final design.

Penello also mentioned that there were still a few unanswered questions in regards to the DualSense controller. For one, he wanted to know if the controller would be backwards compatible and able to control games on the PlayStation 4 console. He also wondered about the controller's VR applications. With all of Sony's big talk in regards to immersion being a huge focus in the PlayStation 5 era, that's an entirely reasonable question.

Interestingly, Penello noted that he expected Sony to go in a much different direction. Penello tweeted, "For me, I think the Stadia controller is extremely comfortable and I was expecting Sony would evolve more that way than towards Xbox." He also mentioned that the color of the controller has him very curious as to the final design of the console itself.

In other words, Penello is largely on the same page as everyone else. There are thing about the DualSense that are wildly intriguing, but there's still so much we don't know about the controller and the system with which it's meant to be paired. Leaked patents and alleged dev kits aside, we still don't really know what to expect from the PlayStation 5 when it arrives. 

Along with those uncertainties is the question of the console's release date. Last we heard, Sony was essentially playing a bit of a "wait and see" game with the street date for the PlayStation 5. Due to apparent ballooning production costs, Sony is unsure of what to charge for the system. This seems to be a theory that Penello puts a bit of stock into, considering how he refers to the controller as looking quite "expensive." 

The prevailing idea seems to be that Sony is trying to hold out until it becomes clear how much Microsoft will be charging for the Xbox Series X. Then, presumably, a price point and full reveal will be on the table. That's possibly why we're halfway through April and we still don't have a release date for a console that's meant to drop this holiday season.

Regardless of all of that, it's nice to see a fresh perspective on the DualSense. It's particularly cool to see the controller from the point of view of someone who has made it their job to obsess over the details like that.