If You’re Still Excited About Sony’s Recent Controller Tieups, Here 2 Absolutely Awesome Pro Gaming PS4 Controllers That Could Tie You In While You Wait
So when I recently talked about the new Dual Shock 4 controller making its way to the market, I was very much convinced that Sony would be true to its word when they said that they would not be creating a pro gaming PS4 controller in the similar vein as the Xbox One’s Elite. Little did I know that there was this little loophole that could forever change the game for the entertainment powerhouse.
With its recent launch of the PlayStation Pro, Sony mentioned that they are in talks with other manufacturers in creating specialized controllers and providing them what can be considered an “official license” already. And these are not just any run-of-the-mill brands, no sir – Razer and Nacon are two of the most formidable names when it high quality and top performing game peripherals. Here’s the skinny on the announcement (credits for this video belong to Lillestoel’s Youtube Channel, great stuff!)
Now given that Razer’s Raiju and the Nacon Revolution may not be hitting the markets until the holidays at best, what if you we were raring to leverage the “pro gaming” feel in specialized controllers? Microsoft should not be the only ones in on the fun, so let us look at 2 viable alternatives that are more available or will be available in the very near future.. but first let us have a look at what constitutes these as the other options.
So What Makes a Controller “Pro”?
It is easy to look at any controller that has the complete set of bells and whistles and immediately conclude that it is a pro, or in some cases, elite controller. And it could be easy to deduce that if the product seems to have mashed up said controller with something you might see in futuristic, sci-fi shows.
For me, I think it has less to do with the aesthetic. Don’t get me wrong, it should look cooler than the stock controller for sure! But it has to be with purpose. The controller could have some nifty hyper-response buttons or analog sticks that are a stiff compromise of both convex and concave, but it still does not necessary merit something that could be considered “pro” or “elite”.
In my mind, though, the purpose has to do with extending the controller’s function in such a way that it accommodates how a player’s hand grips around the piece in preparation to press or pull buttons and triggers. I’ve said it multiple times on this site – no two hands are the same, so giving a bit of leeway to trigger response on other parts of the controller can do wonders.
Yeah, that pretty much spells out accessibility.
Now, when I say this word, I use it in an all-encompassing way (as it should be). To the benefit of players who have impairments, an additional mapped button to an area of the product that they can reach is beneficial to them in enjoying the gaming experience. And on the other end of the spectrum, reaction and response is everything in competitive gaming, so the ability to provide a trigger they can quickly access makes a whole lot of difference in-game.
There are plenty of products out there that extend buttons and triggers, and there are ones like the Avenger Reflex which fully augments your controller. All of which are especially great if you are looking to improve the responsiveness in your game, but if you do have the cash to spend, then a full-controller with paddles and everything is what you need.
So with those in mind, let’s talk about the other 2 controllers that are definitely up to the pro/elite gaming task.
The first shot fired, thanks to Hori
We were introduced to the Horipad FPS Plus more than a year ago, with the purpose of improving a player’s performance in, you guessed it, first-person shooters. And although the initial interest in the product had settled from where it was in June of 2015, the quality and features in the pad are still very much notable.
There a couple of features that outright differentiates this from your standard DualShock 4. The most obvious is the positioning of the left analog stick and the D-pad – unlike the stock controller, the FPS Pad copies takes its queue from an Xbox controller where there is a larger distance between left and right analog stick. By putting the left analog stick where the D-pad is usually located, the player’s thumbs do not bump into each other during gameplay and risk slippage as it applies pressure on areas of the stick.
Now while this controller does not have the additional shoulders and paddles at the back of this stick, the rear target button at the back of the product has some quirks. One end, it can be mapped as an additional command in a game and in doing so turns the target button into an almost gun-like trigger. On the other end it also enables the turbo setting for all the buttons up to 3 levels of sensitivity for how much pressure you need to put to the face, D-pad or trigger buttons to get the rapid fire response in-game.
Although it may not have features on the same scale, there is some semblance of customization with the sensitivity adjustment, not to mention a great deal of consideration and accessibility with the placement of the left stick and D-pad. It is not as cool as the new pro controllers, but it still just might do the right job. If I did not buy a second controller earlier this year, I would have gone for this controller on the sheer reason that I love the left stick orientation that I had with the Xbox 360 controller for 6 years.
EMiO, that looks strangely familiar..
There is this age-old saying: “If you can’t beat them, join them”. And in the case of the folks over at EMiO, it applies along with “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”, particularly with their Elite Controller for the PS4.
From first look, you will see that this product is every bit similar in likeness to the XBox One Elite – you have the interchangeable directional/disc pads and stick grips, the switchable rear paddles, and the a lock system for the shoulders and triggers to shorten their travel time for being pressed (which translates for faster response and fire time). And heck, it even has the same matte black housing with silver components, which could really make it pass as Microsofts counterpart! I’m a guy who likes detail, and it definitely convinced me!
Now before anyone else cries foul, hear me out – as much as I am not entirely in favor of what looks to be a blatant copycat of the XBox One Elite, I am not mad about how this opened up both accessible and pro-type gaming for these player types on the PS4. The Dual Shock has always had a history of being a very popular controller since its original inception many years back, but when accessible gaming started to emerge as an aspect of gaming that should not be taken for granted, I feel there was no notable consideration for this in the Dual Shock.
I actually feel that EMiO’s decision to manufacture and release an Elite clone for Microsoft’s main competitor might have been the subtle nudge that PS4 needed to continue being relevant in the current console battles. And as a gamer dad who would hear his family members complain on occasion how their thumbs eventually hurt from the nubs and grips of their gamepads or struggle to reach the shoulder buttons, having this level of customization further I feel helps them in rendering all inputs reachable (dare I say, accessible!), not to mention easier to have them focus on gameplay than how to press this and that.
Closing Thoughts: Pro-Accessibility… now that’s a working contradiction!
I have said it many times in the past (especially on this site), but like a broken record I’ll say it again – in order for a gaming controller to achieve greater successes from hereon out, they have to appeal to every kind of gamer out there. And when I say every, I mean all kinds of player levels, genres and physical capabilities. Everyone deserves to play games with peripherals that accommodate their needs – if it can work with the average joe and the budding pro-gamer, then somehow, SOME WAY, it should also accommodate players with physical impairments and limitations.
Microsoft really elevated their game by making this possible with the cool features in the XBox One Elite and with controller remapping, and kudos to Sony for heeding the same call with this line of third-party (and well supported) controllers. I see a bright future for these pro controllers and the players who wield them, and I expect great results that can be had by these well-meant products.
Do you like the continuous progression of these Pro Controllers? Do you know of any that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments section!