If you use a PlayStation 4 controller, this $30 attachment is a no-brainer

If you use a PlayStation 4 controller, this $30 attachment is a no-brainer

Image: adam rosenberg / mashable

I ask you, fellow video game nerds: Whomst among us doesn't crave more buttons to press?

There's nothing especially fancy or unusual about Sony's new Back Button Attachment for the DualShock 4. It's a clip-on controller adornment that gives you two extra buttons to play with on the back of the controller, right where most of us rest our middle fingers.

The buttons can be anything you want them to be, within the constraints of a Dualshock 4's control scheme. There's a little, round OLED screen right in the middle of the attachment that, with a light press, shows you which of three custom profiles is active and which command each of the two back buttons triggers.

Changing a profile is as easy as long-pressing the bottom of the OLED screen and tapping either the left or right back button until you see the button icon you want to map highlighted. You can't set up multi-button combinations, but any single Dualshock command, including the L3/R3 analog stick "buttons," is fair game.

That's it, really. How this works in practice depends on your own needs in various games. Fans of first-person shooters, for example, might want to put their jump and reload commands on the rear buttons so they can keep both thumbs on the analog sticks when the action gets heavy. The attachment's usefulness to you really depends on the kinds of games you play and how you play them.

What's great is that, for $30, it's not a huge investment either way. Controllers that include rear buttons or paddles are often fairly pricey. The second generation of Microsoft's paddle-equipped Elite controller sells for $180 and its predecessor dropped at $150. Third-party controllers from Scuf Gaming, one of the market leaders in high-end custom controllers, start at $140.

If you use a PlayStation 4 controller, this $30 attachment is a no-brainer

Image: adam rosenberg / mashable

If you use a PlayStation 4 controller, this $30 attachment is a no-brainer

Image: adam rosenberg / mashable

Compare that to this alternative: You can get a DualShock 4 for around $50, sometimes even less. Add in $30 for the Back Button Attachment and that's a generous amount of money saved. You're limited to just two rear buttons, compared to four on some of the other options, but two will be plenty for most people.

Sony's cheaper option also benefits from being custom-designed to fit the DualShock 4. It clips right into the expansion slot on the bottom of the controller, just below the PS button. There's a headphone jack passthrough, too, so you're not out of luck if you use a wired headset.

More than that, though, the Back Button Attachment is molded so it sits flush against the controller. It's an improvement on the more typical paddle design for back buttons, which can sometimes catch on the fingers of players who are new to this kind of expanded control scheme.

The buttons themselves offer a decent amount of resistance, too. Not enough that you'll find yourself straining to press them, but it's also not easy to just hit one by accident. I love my own Xbox Elite controller, but I've found that those paddles can be a bit too sensitive, especially when I'm playing something tense that requires extra focus.

That simply hasn't been an issue during my time with Sony's Back Button Attachment. It's as if it was built to be idiot-proof. In PlayStation 4 games, PC games, and PS Now games streamed to my laptop, the add-on has worked just like it's supposed to. I had some trouble initially using it with a PC game (Outer Wilds, in case you're wondering). But it's worked in every subsequent play session, including multiple hours in Outer Wilds. So that first-time issue I ran into was probably just human error.

If you're looking at this thing and struggling to think of any games where back button commands might be helpful, then sure, this probably isn't a product for you. But Sony's first attempt to offer fans a cost-effective option for adding back buttons to the DualShock 4 is a big success, and a no-brainer purchase if you've ever shopped for that feature and balked at the third-party prices.

The DualShock 4 Back Button Attachment arrives in stores on Jan. 23.