Sony has been pretty proud of the new haptic feedback features that it’s integrated in the PS5 DualSense controller. As Sony puts it, these features increase immersion by allowing developers to synchronize the feeling of the on-screen action with how the controller responds in your hands. Whether its emulating different surfaces, or increasing tension in the triggers during rigorous moments, all of these haptic feedback mechanics seek to give players a more responsive gameplay experience. When Sony first revealed the PS5 DualSense controller had these features, it did come off as being a little similar to that of Nintendo’s reveal of the Joy-Con sporting its “HD Rumble” technology. As it turns out, those similarities are quite appropriate—the technology comes from the same company.
Good vibrations for the Switch and PS5
Based San Jose, Califronia, USA, the company behind the haptic tech found in both the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and PS5 DualSense controllers is called Immersion. Back in 2017, after Nintendo had its press event early on in the year prior to launch, Immersion stepped out and confirmed that its TouchSense Force tech is what’s really behind the “HD Rumble” moniker (Nintendo came up with a catchier name, IMO).
To parade the new technology, Nintendo developed the somewhat infamous 1-2 Switch as a launch title to show off the technology. Since then, the implementation of HD Rumble has been rather scarce. Just like the DualSense controller, the Joy-Con does a really neat job at haptics, even to the point where they can emit noticeable differences in sounds by means of vibration. While the tech is available to each and every Switch developer, most have simply opted to include standard rumble features. The reason for ignoring the tech when it’s present is anyone’s guess. Perhaps this could be due to developers being unsure how many Switch players will actually bother using it. So, they may feel like it’s not worth the extra effort to optimize their games to take advantage of the technology. For the Switch Lite, Nintendo removed rumble entirely, so there is a class of Switch owners out there who literally do not have access to Immersion’s tech at all.
Seeing that the PS5 just released, it remains unclear if it too will suffer a similar fate. Sony and Immersion seemed to have pushed even further with more advanced features than the Joy-Con, so either developers will be even more inclined to give it a try, or more turned off at the idea of putting in the extra work.