Why Sony Should’ve Made The PS4 Controller 100% Compatible With The PS5 Console (Opinion)

Sony just released more details about the PS5, and one major detail is that the PlayStation 4 controller will not work with all of the games on the PS5 console. 

Yes, okay, the PS4 controller will support PS4 titles. But it won’t work with new PS5 games!

So, it got me thinking about how much waste this actually is, for one thing.

I mean, there are millions of PS4’s and PS4 controllers in the world, why just let them go to waste! Think of all the plastic waste this is actually creating each day.

Sony could save our much-loved, and much-used, controllers from this horrible fate by making one simple decision: make the PS4 controller compatible across all PS5 titles.

Instead of millions of pieces of Sony PlayStation branded plastic particles suffocating our oceans, clogging up whales’ stomachs, and collecting dust in our homes, these controllers could have a second life when the next console generation begins.

So I started thinking…

Why should Sony have made the PS4 controller work with the PS5?

Determined to discover an answer, in my typical “The Welsh Sherlock” style, I donned my Burberry hat, ignited my pipe, and jumped into another episode of CareerGamers: Investigating For You… 

This is what I found. 

The reasons why I think the Playstation 4 controller should work with the PlayStation 5 are:

  • The new DuelSense controller’s features are almost identical to the PS4 controller’s features
  • PS4 Games are backward compatible so it makes sense for the controller to be too
  • The PS5 Devkit used PS4 controllers
  • It’s an easy way to please the fans
  • Companies are looking to save on plastic waste
  • An easy entry point for PlayStation Now users who don’t by the console
  • Xbox One controllers are forward compatible with Xbox Series X, so Sony will need to do the same to compete in the market 

Read on to learn more about each of my reasons. And let me know what you think in the comments section!

Reason 1: DualSense And DuelShock 4 Are Almost Identical 

Ok, the DualSense looks like a 31st-century boomerang.

But if you look beyond the new ergonomic chassis, haptic feedback, and reactive triggers, the DuelSense controller and the PS4 controller are pretty much identical.

In fact, some may have commented that the new DualSense controller, outside of marketing lingo, is essentially the same controller, except for a few tweaks and the evolution of the core tech found in the DS4.

So, the PS4 controller is essentially the DualSense controller. You should, in theory, be able to plug a DualShock 4 into your PS5 and it should be able to work immediately.

It would save people so much time and money! Plus, it would make playing any split-screens far easier because you wouldn’t have to go out and buy a new PS5 controller.

Reason 2: The PSVR Is Forwards Compatible With The PS5

The PSVR, Playstation’s answer to the VR craze, is compatible with the PS5. 

That means that the PS4 Camera and the Move controllers are too. 

But what has this got to do with the PS4 controller working with the PS5? 

Well, if Sony has gone to the trouble of making the PSVR headset and extras compatible with the PS5, then why have they not made the PS4 controller backwards compatible for all titles on the PS5 too.

Makes sense, right? 

Reason 3: It’s An Easy Way to Gain Fan Favour

Ok, let be honest, in the rev up to the release of the next-gen consoles, Microsoft have stalled multiple times. 

After they showed the Xbox Series X console, fans expected the world. This monster console was massively powerful. 

Yet, when it came to games, Microsoft failed to impress. On the first live games broadcast we saw nothing but pre-renders and in-game cutscenes. 

Fans were disappointed. 

Then Microsoft tried again a month later. And this time we got endgame footage of Halo Infinite. And once again, it was disappointing. 

Fan interest in the Microsoft console and ecosystem has been eroded. 

Whereas, Sony was in a strong position.

They could’ve beaten Microsoft by announcing 2 things:

  1. PS Now will get first-party titles on the day of release 
  2. PS4 controllers would work with the PS5

The first of these, First party titles on PS Now, might be hard to achieve. 

But the PS4 controller working with the PS5 really was possible and would’ve been an epic win over Microsoft for Sony!

Reason 4: PS4 Controller Was Working on the PS5 Devkit

In Early 2020, a cleaner at a games dev company posted an image of the Prototype PS5 Devkit. And plugged into it was a good-old PS4 controller. 

Though this is not conclusive evidence that DS4 works with the PS5, what we do know is that games on the Devkit work fine with the Playstation 4 controller. 

And that the PlayStation 5 recognized the DualShock 4 as a controller. 

So, all they’d need to do at Sony was drag those controller drivers over to the new PS5 and the PS4 controller would work just fine with the PS5.

It could literally be that simple. No fuss and hassle. Just compatibility!

Reason 5: Companies Are Looking At Ways To Save On Plastic Waste 

These days, every company across the globe has become extremely environmentally conscious. With rising levels of carbon dioxide and more plastic in the oceans than fish, we collectively need to do something about how we use the natural world for our gain. Otherwise, Mother Nature will get angry and will flick a switch and the human race will go the same way as the dinosaurs. 

Games companies such as Sony and Microsoft are always looking to save on waste – particularly plastic waste – in an effort to decrease their “carbon footprint”.

A great way to decrease plastic waste, and stop old controllers being discarded to landfill sites, is by making them compatible with new consoles. 

Additionally, fewer controllers would need to be made, which would save Sony and Microsoft buying raw plastic. And it would save on the amount of plastic we all throw out each year!

Reason 6: An Easy Entry Point To Cloud Computing: Playstation Now

Microsoft has their Xbox Game Pass. Sony has PlayStation Now. Both of which you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use. 

In business, it’s far better to have a known recurring income from a subscription than to have sporadic income coming from things such as controllers. Income can be easily predicted, data can be collected on buyers, and money can be safely reinvested. 

Both services live up in the cloud and can serve people across the globe. We are looking at a future where you could play Halo Infinite on your mobile on the bus home from work, then immediately jump on the Xbox when you are home, to finally jump on the Ipad when you go to bed. Seamlessly playing the same game across multiple machines. 

By enabling forward compatibility between the DS4 controller and the PS5, Sony could open a world of gamers up to PlayStation Now that would not necessarily buy a PS5 console. But would still be willing to pay for PlayStation Now and stream PS5 games to their TV. 

Reason 7: Xbox One Controllers Work On Microsoft’s Next-Gen Console, So It Makes Sense For The PS4 Controller To Work On The PS5

When Microsoft first announced the Xbox series X, they announced that our old Xbox One controllers, including the Xbox Elite controller, would work with the new console. 

This was fantastic news for couch co-op gamers such as myself. New controllers are often more expensive than games, so it was great to hear, from day one I could be playing split-screen Halo Infinite with my partner by just plugging in an old controller. 

For this reason alone, I think Sony should’ve enabled backward compatibility between the PS5 console and PS4 controller.

Yes, you’d miss out on the DualSense’s new features, such as the much-hyped haptic feedback. But if it means saving $70, which can be spent on a game, I’d be happy to go without. 


I think there are enough reasons why Sony should’ve made the PS4 controller more compatible with the PS5 console.

Given the fact that Microsoft has already confirmed that the Xbox One controller will work with Xbox Series X, Sony seem silly not to do the same for their latest console.

But, sadly, this isn’t the case. We’ll just have to keep an eye out for any further releases from Sony.

What Next? 

So, what should you do next? Don’t worry. This handy little section will direct you and help you out.

I have an adaptor that lets my PS3 controller work on PS4. Will my PS3 Controller work on PS5 with the adaptor? No. The PS3 controller will not work at all. The technology is simply too old, and too many features that are included in the DualShock 4 controller and the DualSense controller, are not present in the DualShock 3 controller. 

How much will the PS5 controller cost? It will likely cost a little more than the current PS4 controller. I’d say, you should expect the cost of the DuelSense controller on the PS5 to cost about $60-$70 each. 

Will I be able to use an Xbox One controller, such as the Elite controller, with the PS5? Even though there are adaptors available that let the Xbox controller work with the PS4 console, no such adapter exists, yet, for the PS5. And, unfortunately, these sort of adaptors won’t likely exist until we are well into the next generation of consoles. 

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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