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The PlayStation 4’s touchpad and the law of unintended consequences

In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.

As a way to control video games, the touchpad on the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller is a failure.

Sony has long used the PlayStation controller as a place to innovate. Some of those ideas stuck, like rumble and dual analog sticks. Others, like the PS3’s disastrous “Sixaxis” motion controls, were bigger failures, used by launch titles and then quickly abandoned.

And while many of the additions Sony made with the…

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