That glowing controller light has a real function.
About six months after Sony launched the PlayStation 4, the company introduced us to Project Morpheus. Morpheus is the company's virtual reality effort and comes at a time when the VR industry is on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Though the PS4 was around before we ever heard of Morpheus, Sony has said it has been working on Morpheus for several years, so it should come as no surprise that the platform has influenced certain aspects of the PS4. In fact, we now know that the feature of the PS4 controller that hasn't really made a lot of sense up until now was specifically designed with Morpheus in mind.
Speaking to TechRadar, senior Sony designer Jed Ashforth said that the DualShock 4's light bar is a tracking light put in place by Sony's VR team. As a result, despite complaints about the light draining battery too quickly, reflecting off the TV, or being a distraction, users won't be able to turn it off or deactivate the light completely, even though Morpheus won't be around for quite some time. While that light bar is going to go unused by any kind of VR technology for now (it's going to shine on for the motion tracking camera), it will eventually be used by Project Morpheus, so it stays.
Like most of the VR solutions we've been getting really, really excited about over the last year or so, Morpheus isn't quite ready for prime time just yet. Sony has been working on this project for more than three years, and the company says it will continue to develop Project Morpheus for a "future commercial launch." Nothing more specific than that. We know that Sony is currently working on getting a dedicated SDK out to developers. The company did demos of the technology at GDC back in March, featuring EVE Valkyrie, Thief, The Castle, and The Deep, but it will likely be next year before we see the technology available for consumers.