The DualShock 4 marks the first time in over a decade that substantial changes have been made to the design of a PlayStation controller. But what we ended up getting is nowhere near as drastic a change as we could have got.
In a great piece on VentureBeat examining the development process behind the DualShock 4, Toshimasa Aoki - the man charged with leading the design team - explains how Sony went a little nutso in the prototype stage.
"...we made, I don’t know, more than 20 prototypes", he said. "Some had no buttons, just touch panels. Some were rounded. All this crazy stuff.”
That's nothing compared to what else they dabbled in.
"For the analog sticks,” he says, “we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the D-pad]. Especially from the shooter teams — we got feedback that that’s what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters."
Seems that despite the Xbox influence, this particular prototype was almost identical to the Pro controller Nintendo would release for the Wii U, with the face buttons below the right stick. Sony didn't go through with the idea because the team felt that it put the X button in the wrong spot.
The PlayStation 4 controller: The weird stuff that could’ve been (part 1, exclusive) [GamesBeat]