The next generation of console gaming is here, and the hardware has been
nothing but impressive. But today’s spotlight goes to the PlayStation 5. Sony’s
new console has made big leaps from the PS4’s hardware, from better
components to a more integrated UI. One feature that long-time PlayStation fans were looking forward to is the console’s backward compatibility. And while the PS5 is only backward compatible with the PS4, that’s still a whole library of games that you can play on a next-gen console.

However, people have been wondering: if the PS5 is backward compatible with
the PS4, does this include the latter’s controller as well?
 DUALSHOCK 4 

The DualShock 4 is the formal name of the PS4’s controller. The original
PlayStation controller didn’t have the rumble feature, so Sony has called the
accessory “DualShock” ever since the said feature has been introduced. While
the PS5 uses a new type of controller called the “DualSense,” the console’s
hardware is still built to pick up DualShock 4’s signal when connected. To
achieve this feat, manufacturers used net ties to meet the PCB requirements,
which enabled the console to handle various functional challenges. By targeting
the power at specific points in the PS5’s hardware, it can search, distinguish,
and connect with nearby controllers that are built to be compatible with
it—including the DualShock. It can also be used to control the PS5’s user
interface.

However, its PCB or circuit board also functions as a barrier. If the game
running is a PS5 title, the console will bypass the DualShock 4 in their
Bluetooth search.

 LIMITATIONS 

Unfortunately, the DualShock can only be used to play PS4 games. If you want
to play a PS5 title like Demon’s Souls, then you have to use the DualSense.
The DualSense is programmed with a ton of new and extra functions, such as
the “create” button, adaptive triggers, and advanced haptic technology. PS5
titles will use at least one of them (usually the haptic feature). And since the
DualShock 4’s hardware isn’t built similarly, it won’t run on these games. If
you try to launch any PS5 software with the DualShock 4, you’ll quickly get a
message stating that a DualSense is needed to play the game.

The opposite isn’t true, of course. The DualSense’s PCB is built to be
compatible with PS4 games.

 OTHER PS4 ACCESSORIES 

Just because the DualShock 4 can’t be used to play PS5 games, doesn’t mean
that all your PS4 accessories will be left behind. Sony confirms that officially licensed accessories like racing wheels, flight sticks, and arcade sticks will
work with PS5 games. PS5 games can also use the company’s existing PS
Move motion controller and PS VR Aim controller should titles that can use
those accessories be released for the console.

All in all, the PS5 delivered on its backward compatibility promise for most
aspects such as games and accessories. It just so happens that the DualShock 4
is unequipped to handle the advanced settings of PS5 games.

Check out our PS4 category page for more games, reviews, and hardware
discussions on the console.