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DualShock 4 Light Bar Can’t be Disabled

by Eric Frederiksen | July 9, 2013July 9, 2013 3:00 pm PDT


You’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, guys. After that incredible E3 press conference and the sick burn of a YouTube video that followed, we all wondered when Sony would screw up. Well, now they have and we’re here to call them out on it.

The PlayStation 4 is always on. Well, the light bar on top of the PlayStation 4 DualShock controller is, anyway.

Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, confirmed via Twitter that the light bar can’t be turned off. The light bar, which is shown as blue in advertisements, is a multicolored light designed originally to take the place of, or at least extend the use of the technology behind the PlayStation Move controllers. When Sony decided at the last minute to nix the inclusion of the camera in the PlayStation 4 box, that became largely moot for the exact same reason that Microsoft had to include the Kinect with the Xbox One to ensure widespread adoption: people don’t really buy optional pieces of systems in large numbers.

Thankfully, that’s not the only useful feature of the light bar. It can also be used to identify one controller from another, or even (in games like Killzone: Shadow Fall), it can show simple status like a player’s remaining life. But you can’t turn it off. There’s two reasons this has raised the ire of concerned fans. First is simply that of battery economy. The second is the way the blue light reflects off some televisions.

Are those issues really a big deal? Probably not. LEDs, despite being a constantly improving technology, are already a minimal energy drain and likely negligible in the long run. And blue lights, as everyone knows, are the brightest thing known to humankind. Surely, we’ll be able to choose our light bar color for our profile, right? It seems like an obvious thing. Like the reflection of our faces, lamps, and window blinds on the television, the controller will blend into the background we filter out.

If the light’s really a problem, a short strip of blue painter’s tape ought to cover it up without damaging the controller.

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Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...