Ready player two: No-frills mini PS4 gamepad is designed for small hands
The PlayStation DualShock controller has kept the same basic shape for over 20 years now, because, well, if it ain't broke ... But they can be hard for kids to wrap their little hands around, so Hori has unveiled the Mini Wired Gamepad, a licensed controller for the PS4 with a child-friendly form factor and a pocket-money price tag.
Between Knack 2, the Crash Bandicoot remake and an endless stream of Lego games, the PlayStation 4 has plenty of games to keep the kids going, but the hardware itself is still fairly adult-oriented.
Hori says the Mini Wired Gamepad is 40 percent smaller than the standard DualShock 4, but it crams most of the usual buttons and sticks into that smaller, flat form factor. The twin sticks are accounted for, as are the D-pad, action buttons, shoulder bumpers, and the share, options and PS buttons in the middle. That means that most games should be perfectly playable, just the same. As its name suggests, the gamepad is connected to the console via a 10-ft (3-m) wire.
Shrinking down the controller hasn't come without its casualties though, and among the features lost are the touchpad, light bar, headphone jack, speaker, vibration and Six Axis motion sensor. Sony says that some of the touchpad inputs can be performed with the thumb sticks instead, and there's a new button in the middle of the controller to replace the function of pressing the touchpad in.
Most of those features are nice-to-haves anyway, and shaving off those frills has helped bring the price of the controller down. The Mini Wired Gamepad will be available in the US and Canada in time for the holiday season, for US$29.99.