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Sony: DualShock 4 Light Bar Designed Specifically for Project Morpheus

Significantly diminished battery life for the hope that one day you’ll be able to enjoy virtual reality with controller tracking.

DualShock4_PS4_Lightbar

If you've used the DualShock 4, chances are you love it. It's the most ergonomic controller Sony have ever made, and boy does it look good. But it isn't perfect. Holding less than an eight hour charge, it's also one of the shortest-lasting wireless controllers on the market, all thanks to a constantly glowing light bar on the top.

Jed Ashforth, senior designer at SCEE, explained to TechRadar that the light bar is all part of a bigger plan, a plan that includes Project Morpheus. He said:

The tracking light – it was our department that said we need that on. It was for tracking for VR. And when all these things were coming out six months ago and everyone was going 'it's reflecting in my TV,' we were going 'oh no' because we couldn't tell anyone what it was for.

Tracking is an important part of VR technology. After all, sight is only one of five traditional human senses. Combining 3D visuals with the ability to manipulate a virtual environment with your own hands is one way to amplify immersion.

Oculus Rift will be adding position tracking with its soon to be released Crystal Cove development model. Those who have played around with it have noted how much it improves the VR experience.

Sony planned ahead by including the light bar into every DualShock 4 controller from launch day. The only catch, and it's sort of a big one, is that consumers will have to buy the $200+ Project Morpheus in addition to a PS Eye camera for tracking. That's a lot of money to invest into optional "peripherals".

And for every PS4 gamer, the light bar means significantly reduced battery life on the controller, whether or not they're using virtual reality. Considering there is currently no way to completely disable the light bar, that essentially means everyone has to pay the price. Hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end.