Gamepads have been on a crash diet since the turn of the century, and while I personally found the Dreamcast controllers a pleasure to use, this gradual amble towards svelte is probably a good thing on balance. Still, while the PlayStation 4 controller is positively svelte compared to its Xbox One neighbours, watching a child try to comfortably hold one can still be like watching someone try to use an iPad Pro as an iPhone.
Fortunately, Sony has an answer for children and people dogged by tiny-handed rumours everywhere: the mini wired gamepad, which is 40% smaller than the original gamepad. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about it, except the fact that it’s as cute as a button, and works with most PS4 games. Why not all of them? Well, to cut it down to size, Hori – which makes the controller – has had to make some sacrifices. It doesn’t have a motion sensor, there’s no light bar, no speaker, no dual motors and following in Apple’s footsteps, there’s no headphone jack either.
What there is, however, is a touchpad. Well, sort of. As you can see from the pictures, the touchpad is shrunk down to be a single rectangular button which sits in the same place. Pressing it does the same thing as touching the touchpad, and if you need a bit more flexibility, swipes can be replicated by holding down the small TP button at the bottom and moving the analogue sticks. Yes, that sounds a bit of a pain, but when was the last time you used the PS4 touchpad? Yeah, me neither.
It’s wired, of course, but unlike Nintendo – which seems to have been on some weird rationing trip with wire in its SNES Mini and NES Classic – the cable is ten foot long, meaning that only the grandest living rooms need not apply.
If you have young children that are frustrated by the PlayStation 4 controller, this feels like a no-brainer. Not only will they be able to pull off more complicated button combinations, but they’ll stop getting your grown-up pad all sticky. That feels like a win-win to me.