Sony’s PlayStation 4 may be winning the next generation battle against the Xbox One but there’s one feature that has caused gamers quite a bit of grief: the light bar. This glowing beacon has a variety of uses like changing colors to indicate health in Killzone: Shadow Fall or indicating visibility in Thieft but its brightness created multiple complaints early on.
Sony eventually issued an update that allowed players to dim the brightness but even still, there’s no way to totally disable it. That seems a bit silly for a trivial feature yet as it turns out, the inclusion of the light bar has a far greater purpose.
During a recent interview with TechRadar, Jed Ashforth, Senior Designer at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, revealed the true reason why the light bar exists. And no, it’s not to assist with health bars or visibility – it’s for virtual reality tracking.
As Ashforth notes, the virtual reality department pretty much demanded it be added to the DualShock 4 controller. That’s because the team was working on Project Morpheus alongside the PlayStation 4 – it just so happened that one arrived much sooner than the other.
Ashforth also added that his team was a bit nervous when people started complaining about the light bar months ago because they couldn’t tell anyone what it was for.
Project Morpheus, if you aren’t aware, is Sony’s virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4. It was revealed at GDC 2014 in March and features a 5-inch, 1080p display that’s capable of 360 degree positional head tracking. It’s currently in prototype form and doesn’t have a specific launch date or target price point.