Posted by loudology (205 posts) -

Edit: Blog post = opinion

The Dual Analog controller, which eventually became the DualShock, launched in 1997 for the original PlayStation. Sony wanted to add analog sticks to their controller, and in an era where the D-Pad was the main input method, the only logical place to add two analog sticks was in-line with one another on the bottom of the controller. This made sense and it worked fine at the time.

The DualShock 2 was released with the PlayStation 2, and gaming had moved toward analog sticks as being the main input method for movement in most games. The rise of console first-person shooters, sports games, and 3D action-adventure games played a major role in this change. And by the time the PlayStation 3 launched in 2006, D-Pad’s were designated for inventory management and weapon swapping. The SixAxis, and eventually the DualShock 3, still did not change the analog stick layout.

Sony has made the mistake again with the newly announced DualShock 4 controller. Logically, when you hold a controller, your hand should have natural and comfortable access to the left analog stick, the face buttons, and the trigger(s) because that’s simply how you play the vast majority of todays games.

The reason the analog sticks were placed where they were was because it was an added on feature to a D-Pad era controller. Sony has mistakingly attributed part of the success of their DualShock controllers to the placement of the analog sticks; but all along it has always been one of the worst things about them.

Well, Sony has finally made two long-awaited changes with the DualShock 4. The trigger buttons introduced in the Sixaxis/DualShock 3 are now concave, and the analog sticks are no longer rounded. Both of these changes will prevent your fingers from slipping off like they did on the DualShock 3; which was simply not optimal for modern first person shooters.

The DualShock 4 is feature packed; with a touch panel, Sixaxis, vibration, a dedicated share button, and a light bar to interact with the new PlayStation 4 Eye. All of that’s great, but it doesn’t solve the issue that gamers seem to unanimously agree needed fixing.

#1 Posted by ssj4raditz (1125 posts) -

I can use a DualShock just fine, so I don't understand why there's this debate. Then again, I though the original Xbox "Duke" controller was not bad, so maybe I'm wrong...

#2 Edited by Otacon (2194 posts) -

Yeah I don't really experience this issue either, I really like the DualShock's layout and I play 360 and PS3 pretty much equally nowadays. The only problem I do have with the DualShock is how flimsy the sticks feel, but I've heard that this has been rectified for the DS4.

#3 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6788 posts) -

I loved the rounded analog sticks on the PS3 controller and I've always loved the analog stick being where it's at on the DualShock controllers. I'm glad they didn't move toward a more Xbox-y controller.

#4 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1357 posts) -

I’ve never found the dual-analog position on the DualShock uncomfortable. I think (and I don’t have a 360 controller on hand to confirm this) that the size and layout of the DS3 makes using the lower left analog stick way more comfortable than it would be if the 360 controller shared the same layout. If you pick up a DS3 and pretend the analog stick and d-pad are swapped, it’s pretty clear (at least to me) that both would be more uncomfortable. That’s a bit of a red herring because I’m sure the shape of the controller would also be changed to accommodate that, but I think it’s worth considering.

There’s also a lot of cases in which having the D-pad in the natural position is preferable. I much prefer to use a d-pad when navigating menus or playing a 2D game. I tend to default to the d-pad, and only use the sticks when they’re clearly the better option or required. Even then, I’ll only use the analog sticks for camera and character control, not navigating menus.

I have the sense that a lot of people who complain about the layout are just more used to the 360 controller, and want to attribute a logical reason to something that really comes down to habits. I find it weird going back to the 360 controller and having the stick be in the “wrong” place, and I’ve still not really come to terms with the way the d-pad has been sidelined on the 3DS.

Basically, I don’t think this is as cut-and-dry as you’re saying. I know for a fact that a lot of people prefer the symmetrical design. I’m sure Sony have considered this more than you’re giving them credit for.

#5 Posted by Morningstar (2049 posts) -

I like both.

#6 Posted by Shakey1245 (59 posts) -

The only issues I had with the Dualshock 3 was that it lacked the weight of the Xbox controller, which is more a personal preference than a design flaw, maybe that the analogue sticks needed tightening up when compared to their Xbox counterparts but otherwise it's always felt perfectly comfortable in the hand. The placement of the analogue sticks is fine.

#7 Posted by Drebin_893 (2872 posts) -

I really like the Dualshock's design. This is such an old discussion that at this point I would've thought everyone realises it's all down to personal preference.

#8 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -

They have the same basic buttons, make 'em work cross platform ;)

I think the 360 controller is very comfortable, but I've been using the Dualshock design for so long that I don't really care which one I use.

#9 Posted by 49th (2546 posts) -

I prefer the dual shock to the 360 even after using both a bunch. Having the stick above the d-pad just feels weird to me, and why isn't the right stick above the buttons too?

#10 Posted by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

I prefer the Dualshock to the 360 controller, actually. And as you can see from this thread, nobody is unanimously agreeing on anything.

#11 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

ugg this again..

#12 Posted by DeanoXD (607 posts) -

From what i can tell Sony has sold 72m PS3's so i don't think its that much of a issue, i personally don't mind the DS3 in comparison to the 360 controller the only thing i would like from the PS4 controller is tighter sticks and a little heavier.

#13 Posted by loudology (205 posts) -

@cloudenvy: Well obviously those who disagree are most likely to post responses. =]

#14 Posted by mercutio123 (454 posts) -

I actually prefer the dualshock, and I don't really get the complaints which are 'your left thumb falls naturally on the 360 sticks', the obvious symmetry of the Playstation design is what makes me like it more, and as @grantheaslip said, if you do place your thumbs where they would be on a 360 type pad while using the DS3, then it is uncomfortable. However the redesign of the triggers is obviously going to be a good thing, though I never really had any issue for using R1 and L1 in shooters on the Ps3, and the triggers never really bothered me.

#15 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

It's all personal preference, and that's why the DualShock is better.

#16 Edited by EXTomar (4125 posts) -

Meh I don't think the 360 controller is that great because it is too big but whatever. It would be nice if all the vendors made controllers of at least two sizes.

#17 Posted by DaMisterChief (628 posts) -

I like the 360 controller.

#18 Posted by AiurFlux (899 posts) -

I have no problem with the Dualshock, but I will give it to you that it could and should be more ergonomic. But doing a direct copy/paste of the 360 controller isn't the right thing to do either.

I have a Saitek Cyborg gamepad that I use on my computer. If I could have the sticks next to one another instead of offset, with more heft, proper triggers, and the analog pad that the PS3 has that would be a good controller. The offset analog sticks, to me at least, are just wonky. I'm used to them and I still don't like them. And I'll be honest, the bumpers on the 360 pad kind of stink. Both controllers leave a lot to be desired honestly, which is why holding one up as the bastion of light seems stupid to me.

#19 Edited by Spoonman671 (4374 posts) -

No particular piece of real estate on a controller is intrinsically primary. Whether you place your analog sticks in the Dual Shock's position, or the 360's position, you are not indicating any kind of prioritization. If this were the case, then you would be asking that both the 360 and Dual Shock controller also move the right stick to the upper position, as most modern games have you operating the camera more often, and for greater duration, than they have you pressing face buttons. If you feel marked discomfort from operating the Dual Shock's analog sticks, then you should see a doctor, because there is an anatomical issue with your hand--otherwise, you are simply not used to having the left stick be in that position. You're perfectly comfortable with the right stick location, despite it requiring a symmetrical positioning of your right hand to your left.

Also, you can't edit your blog to emphasize its subjective nature after you've stated that people unanimously agree on something that they do not actually unanimously agree on. That's not an opinion.

#20 Edited by mandude (2667 posts) -

It certainly beats the assymetrical Xbox controller, in my opinion. Especially in the case of FPSs, where both analogue sticks are being used 99% of the time.

#21 Posted by StarvingGamer (7566 posts) -

I have literally never heard of player's thumbs slipping off the Dualshock 3's analog sticks until PS4 discussions started. Do you all just have really sweaty thumbs or something? 99% of my console gaming for the past seven years has been on PS3 and I have never had my thumbs slip off the sticks once.

Also what kind of hands do people have where asymmetric thumb placement feels more natural?

In summation:

All of that’s great, but it doesn’t solve the issue that gamers named louis0nfire seem to unanimously agree needed fixing.

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#22 Posted by Hippie_Genocide (511 posts) -

@Louis0nFire I'm perfectly at home using a dual shock controller, or a 360 controller. I'm not arguing your reasons for why Sony placed the sticks where they did - everyone knows the analog sticks were cobbled onto a controller that previously didn't have them in an effort to replicate the analog control that Nintendo pioneered with the N64. But to me, it was sublime serendipity. If you put your hands in a natural position as if you were holding a controller, you'd see that your thumbs rest in the exact location of the analog sticks on a dual shock controller. So, I'm getting a bit tired of hearing people say that Sony must mimic the layout of the 360 pad, as if its some inarguable law of ergonomics or something. At this point the shape of the Sony dual shock is almost as iconic as the Triangle/Square/Circle/X face buttons.

#23 Posted by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

@louis0nfire: But if people disagree then gamers aren't unanimously agreeing, which was kind of my point.

#24 Posted by Evikull (60 posts) -

Well this thread seems to have backfired spectacularly.

I too prefer the layout of the DualShock to the 360, though that could be more to do with a longer experience of that style of controller, thus being more accustomed to it. I can't speak for someone who might be new to either controller layout, which would be interesting to find out.

#25 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4282 posts) -

@louis0nfire: I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't understand why Sony doesn't at least offer the option to have a 360 style controller on their platform. It's more comfortable because it's ergonomically correct. Sony made good moves in making the triggers and sticks concave, but the placement of those sticks will still throw me off to the point of annoyance.

Hopefully Sony will recognize that there is a (probably larger than you think) group of gamers who like having off-set sticks and would be willing to pay for them.

#26 Posted by rolanthas (238 posts) -

people don't agree unanimously that symmetrical sticks are bad, we really have no way of determining that.

I'd love if that could be researched though. not likely.

also I do not believe stick positioning have any long term effect on the gameplay performance of a seasoned gamer. we learn, rather instinctively, thousands of different configs / controllers / pointers for this hobby, we can probably get used to sticks on the back at this point.

#27 Posted by Wacomole (811 posts) -

I need to update my dictionary with this newfangled definition of "unanimous".

You kids and your changing the meaning of words.

#28 Posted by Pr1mus (3520 posts) -

I like the position of the stick better on the DualShock and i also find the texture and shape of the stick vastly more comfortable on the DualShock 3 compared to the 360 controller.

That said the changes to the shape of the L2/R2 buttons is a much needed improvement as long as they keep the softer feel of the buttons. The longer and rounder shape of the DualShock 4 does look more comfortable in the palm of your hand but this is something that we can't judge yet of course. Let's put it this way, i never though the DualShock 3 wasn't comfortable in the palms of my hand but rather that the 360 controller was noticeably more comfortable.

Overall i prefer the PS3 controller and the DualShock 4 appears to be an improvement on every front.

#29 Posted by Nightriff (4349 posts) -

Both controllers are fine and the new controller looks great, can't wait to use it

#30 Edited by Spoonman671 (4374 posts) -

@oldirtybearon said:

@louis0nfire: [The 360 controller is] more comfortable because it's ergonomically correct.

You're going to have to back that one up.

#31 Posted by PenguinDust (12414 posts) -

I like both.

I'm in this camp, but I don't play a huge number first-person shooters anymore, so that might be the reason why I am so dispassionate about this controversy. I've gotten used to some of its unique elements, so picking up a 360 controller occasionally feels off. There's nothing wrong with being different though.

I've always wondered something, though. People always cite how the analog stick placement on the 360 feels better than on the Dual Shock 3. What if you're left-handed? Wouldn't it be easier to adjust to the PlayStation controller since the sticks are in the same spot no matter which side you favor?

#32 Edited by believer258 (11047 posts) -

@louis0nfire:

but it doesn’t solve the issue that gamers seem to unanimously agree needed fixing.

Uh... not everyone thinks this is a problem. I don't think it's an issue at all.

@penguindust said:

@morningstar said:

I like both.

I'm in this camp, but I don't play a huge number first-person shooters anymore, so that might be the reason why I am so dispassionate about this controversy. I've gotten used to some of its unique elements, so picking up a 360 controller occasionally feels off. There's nothing wrong with being different though.

I've always wondered something, though. People always cite how the analog stick placement on the 360 feels better than on the Dual Shock 3. What if you're left-handed? Wouldn't it be easier to adjust to the PlayStation controller since the sticks are in the same spot no matter which side you favor?

I'm a lefty and have no issues with either. If you're asking if I play games with the southpaw control schemes, I don't. That sounds almost as insane as playing inverted.

#34 Posted by StarvingGamer (7566 posts) -

@oldirtybearon said:

@louis0nfire: [The 360 controller is] more comfortable because it's ergonomically correct.

You're going to have to back that one up.

Seriously, how is asymmetric design more ergonomically correct? Is everyone else constantly giving thumbs-up with their left hand and I just haven't been noticing?

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#35 Posted by dsi1 (136 posts) -

The only big issue with the dualshocks were the backwards ass triggers.

They fixed that.

#36 Posted by Aaron_G (1603 posts) -

I've never had a problem with the DualShock controllers. The analog sticks seem fine to me, but I did kinda reach video game maturity at the beginning of the PS2-era so maybe that is my reason why. The Xbox controller is great, and always will be, but I think the DualShock is just fine too.

#37 Edited by PenguinDust (12414 posts) -

@believer258: Ha-ha, I play inverted. Thanks for the insight, "lefty".

#38 Edited by loudology (205 posts) -

Unanimous wasn't the right way to put it, but I think the majority of gamers dislike the DualShock's analog sticks and that's what I meant. Xbox Live isn't the only reason more people play shooters (and any multiplatform games) on Xbox 360.

#39 Posted by Slag (3345 posts) -

You could, you know, just buy a knockoff PS controller that has the sticks where you want them to be. That's what i do

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#40 Posted by TooWalrus (12977 posts) -

@louis0nfire: Maybe the fact that the PlayStation is huge in Japan where First Person Shooters aren't the priority is a big part of this. If it was simply "a mistake", I don't think it would have lasted 4 generations. The DualShock 3 is actually my favorite controller... I don't think this is as big of a deal as you're making it out to be

#41 Posted by natedawg_kz (230 posts) -

It all comes down to personal preference and what console you use the most. I prefer the dualshock simply because the PlayStation has always been my first choice console.