E3 06: Hands-on with the final PS3 controller

We get our grubby mitts on Sony's new controller and you know what? It feels pretty good.

LOS ANGELES--At last year's E3, Sony displayed a prototype controller for its upcoming console, the PlayStation 3. The boomerang-shaped wireless device was something of a lightning rod and didn't seem like it was terribly well received. This year, Sony has unveiled the final controller, and it should look pretty familiar.

The PS3's controller now looks roughly like a Dual Shock 2. The size and button placement seem identical. But there are a handful of key differences. You'll feel right at home when you pick it up, but this controller has definitely evolved.

For starters, it's wireless and startlingly lightweight. The Bluetooth device has a mini USB plug on it, presumably for charging. The L2 and R2 triggers are analog and feel quite nice. There's a new central button that has the PlayStation logo on it. It doesn't appear to be functional, but it seems like a likely spot for some sort of "home" or "menu' button.

The biggest change is inside the controller. There are motion-sensing gyroscopes inside the controller that will detect tilting as well as raising and lowering. We get the feeling that wii've seen this in another upcoming console, but we'll save that discussion for message boards or something. Warhawk is one of the games that supports the tilt sensor, and it feels surprisingly tight and easy to use. Flying the plane by tilting the controller is very intuitive.

One thing you won't find in this new controller is force feedback. The rumble feature was said to interfere with the motion-sensing devices. Sony's Phil Harrison even went so far as to tell us that "rumble was last generation, movement is this generation."

We also managed to bump into Criterion's Alex Ward at Sony's grand unveiling, and he said he was really excited about the controller, saying that he "can really see how it fits in his games." We imagine a Burnout game can't be too far behind.

So if you wanted to be a cynic, you could say that this is a wireless PS2 controller with analog triggers like the Xbox, a central guide button like the Xbox 360, and it has internal motion sensors like the Wii. But what's probably most important is that the controller feels pretty nice and it already seems to work well.

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Jeff

Jeff Gerstmann

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
960 comments
Deadwalker_135
Deadwalker_135

david 4 or whatever u vatch ur mouth nintendo sucks

Davids_4_Life
Davids_4_Life

tipical sony.. copying nintendo yet again! how can anyone like sony? all they do is rip-off other companies ideas! I f*****g hate sony for adding motion-enceing controller just because nintendo did it.. what w***ers

singleton92
singleton92

Well, I'm a diehard sony fan, and PS3 is definitely going to kick a$$ in the long run. Best graphics, best controller, and DEFINETLY best games. What does the Wii have? Zelda. Thats it. What does Xbox 360 have? Gears of War, AKA a pretty sweet halo knockoff I have to say. but finally, waht does PS3 have? well, how about GTA4, Resistance, MGS4, God of War 2, and all the other kicka$$ franchise sequels. so what if sony copied a few good aspects of some other companies. It's EXACTLY what the Xbox did, and nobody's complaining about microsoft. If you don't like it, suck it up and accept that the producers of PS3 were smart enough to to take the time and blend the best things together into their next-gen console, while the others were too focused on releasing their consoles with the most speed. Look at the Wii. I admit, playing Zelda on it is fun, but the graphics for the Wii version vs. the Gamecube version are literally IDENTICAL. take THAT, captainalpha1. Truthfully, I do think the Xbox 360's graphics are clearly superior to the Xbox's, but after about 30 minutes of playing it, I didn't really care anymore. It just got boring, not to mention that it's the only console I've ever played with lag on it. in the end, it all dwindles down to the system's appeal over time, and it looks like Sony is the only company that actually understands that. looking back, PS kicked N64 and Dreamcast's butts, PS2 kicked Gamecube and Xbox's butts, and now there's no doubt that PS3 is gonna kick the Wii's and Xbox 360's butts. Class dismissed.

rougehunter66
rougehunter66

I agree with jedikv. Go look at the picture of the controller. Just above and to the right of the mini-usb connector. Notice anything? Those are the exact same squares on the Wiimote, showing which controller port the controller is sensing. Sony steal everything. Remeber back in the day when sony didn't have thumbsticks? Then when the N64 was a resounding success with analogue sticks, they brought out one. The Dreamcast comes out, and they release a smaller "PS1", that looks identical to the Dreamcast almost. Half the pay roll of Sony would be undercover spies to detect what Microsoft and Nintendo are doing, then reporting back and stealing their ideas. Absolute ****

killyoufun
killyoufun

no rumble that sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lennygundam14
lennygundam14

ok, heres an idea, why not make the rumble feature an option for use while playing, heres an example, turn off the motion sensing feature while playing a fighting game the can be used with the rumble feature???

DaNgErOuSmOmO
DaNgErOuSmOmO

im still not completely sold on the tilt sensor adn with no vibration thats going to be weird

maoonparas
maoonparas

almost perfect! its not pefect because theres no vibration....

ChrisMx2
ChrisMx2

No rumble feature will ruin any of Kojima's plan to make a good torture sequence in MGS4. Though, Snake would probably just die from another torture sequence. You know what would be cool? If you could a button (L1 for example) during MGS4 and tilt in the direction you want to dodge so you can pull of some of Raiden's cool moves (if you ever get to play him a bit). Just a thought.

jedikv
jedikv

"And nobody should be sticking up for microsoft whos xbox controller looked pretty similar to a dual shock, and have been pinching peoples ideas since the company first started. The most "unoriginal" award for a company goes to Microsoft." benn_da_hud you are a utter moron. XB controller looks nothing like the dual shock, its much better, the thubsticks are placed futher apart which allows for a more free movement between the thumbs. PS3's conference clearly shows that Sony deserves that award. I believe MS was the company that decided to put hard drives in consoles, a very good network service (Live) and games running in hi-def. Sony copied them in all those departments with inferior products (ps2 hard drive and network play for ps2 both failures) and the lack of HDMI gives the cheaper PS3 a 2-year death sentence for when HDCP is implemented. I am no fanboy of any company, i think its extremely stupid to blindly support a corporation just because you bought something from them.

Gamer1079
Gamer1079

A motion sensor on the controller? It's funny how Sony didn't add the controller sensor till AFTER the Wii controller was introduced. Look's like Sony copies Nintendo yet once again, but oh well, that's business.

schalkwijk
schalkwijk

sony has no honor!!! Nintendo made a weird controller, and tons of ppl hated it, but did they give in to the pressure? Nintendo gave its console a wiird name (HA), and tons of ppl hated it, but have they given in to the pressure? Id have more respect for sony if it just kept is ugly boomerang... now i just dont like phil harisson.

netlou
netlou

Like many people have said... don't mess with success... so what if rumble interferes with the motion sensitivity... just make it less frequent! Not a terrible move... but it was unnecesary.

dan543
dan543

Sony is desperate to have a good competition against Microsoft and Nintendo: they certainly are trying to excell XBOX 360 graphics and they copied somenthing wii know... MAN! Graphics are not everything and copying the motions sensor puts Sony on a bad position... and btw, that machine is gonna leave you in bankrupt!

autobot01
autobot01

Sony is copying Microsfot and Nintendo!!!!

benny_da_hudd
benny_da_hudd

"So eventually in a kid loses his abilty to wave his arms around and that makes him/her a "man"" "man/woman" you mean? in answer to your question...yes/no :P I'll leave the waving arms around for you. I will just be lazy and use my thumbs and occaionally my index fingers. The only thing i will miss about rumble, is putting the dual shock on my crotch (oh yeah) PS: Wii is a $h!te name.

R3v0luti0n
R3v0luti0n

Wii will be another kiddie console. I'm not too keen on waving my arms around like a kid. So eventually in a kid loses his abilty to wave his arms around and that makes him/her a "man"

vitpm
vitpm

Great sony... even I could have designed this one... this news could have been awarded as the "most predictable piece of info in E3"

benny_da_hudd
benny_da_hudd

I'm a sony fanboy, please abuse me!! Sony stuck with a decent design that works and has been tested by millions of happy gamers. And nobody should be sticking up for microsoft whos xbox controller looked pretty similar to a dual shock, and have been pinching peoples ideas since the company first started. The most "unoriginal" award for a company goes to Microsoft. Wii will be another kiddie console. I'm not too keen on waving my arms around like a kid.

meccy1
meccy1

I want the rumble feature to stay. Who cares if a couple of flight games can use the tilt feature . At the end of the day Gran Tursimo , every racing game and fighting game out there will be a shallower game with the loss of the rumble feature. Sony in the same postion as George Lucas just before he made the god arwfull mistake of the Phantom Manace. Someones got to tell Sony not to do a Jar Jar Binks.

DarkoAvenged
DarkoAvenged

What some moron said.,, [[[[[[[blank2_12 PS3 "losing" GTA4? Yeah, sure. You know it'll never be on Nintendo, right? Not that anyone could imagine how to play it with wii's TV remote. And "Why pay $600 for a PS3?" Well maybe because PS3 will have the best graphics, most advanced gameplay and the BEST games? Nintendo, on the other hand, has by far the worst graphics, from what i've seen from the preview videos, the worst gameplay and worst games. Also, ~600 is the expensive version, the cheaper version costs ~450. Come on, surely you know that PS3 will kick "Wii"'s ass just like PS2 kicked Cube's ass and PS kicked 64's ass. And "Super Smash Bros"? Are you 10 years old? @jonniemactyler: Sonys controller "uncomfortable"? It weighs less, is smaller and has a better shape than XBOX controller. How exactly that makes it "uncomfortable"... well you tell me. ]]]]]]]]]] Your a moron no one is going to pay $600 to play GTA when you can play it on 360 for cheaper with the same graphics. Yea sure if you compare the system to the nintendo, the company thats going for in your words "MOST ADVANCED GAMEPLAY" whats so advanvced about a controller we've seen for the past 10 years come on sony. When your going to bash something atleast have a good comparison like 360 graphics vs. Ps3 graphics you dumbass, nintendo isnt supposed to be graphically amazing. Also the cheaper PS3 is $499 and is missing alot of stuff that the $599 version has big difference from MS where the only difference was harddrive and controller things you can upgrade where as the thing taken out of the PS3 can't be put back in later you just wont have them EVER... and your talking about growing up how about a new controller i already ranted about sony lack of design concept apprarently your the crowd there trying to steal money from but hey this world was built on idiots like yourself so it should fit in fine. How about your take your nose out of sonys bung hole..oh and the xbox controller is better then sonys and the wavebird beat xboxs so yea but thats my opinion. You Blockhead... Oh yea and on a final note cuz I'm actually getting mad while typing these comments which is a little sad... but before you start running your mouth about stuff read around that post about sony having the idea first.. they are not the same the sony tech and nintendo tech in the controllers is completely different nintendos being innovative and sonys just giving you the same thing with some better graphics all your sony fans should be cheering nintendo on, cuz if they manage to making the gaming community large due to making games easy for other to get into that only means that in the end more money is coming to the video game industry which mean all your dorks will have bigger and better games to play in the future so sony fan boys stop hating on nintendo cuz all they are doing is making it possible for you to be playing alot more amazing games in the future, Competition brings Evolution....

Brandnew677
Brandnew677

This is nothing like the Wii controller... its not a point and click controller, its a tilt based one Personally, i didnt even notice the vibration on PS2 games so im not that sad to see it leave

DarkoAvenged
DarkoAvenged

SONY IS LAME.. don't get me wrong I have all the systems and I play an equal amount of games from PS2, GC, and Xbox. I'm no fanboy just love good games, but i'm really tired of Sony not being able to create something original. They don't care about making games more fun they just take everything that people like or find interesting from other concepts and say well were sony so its better get our cheap imitation and people are so stupid and hung up on sony being so good that they wont try anything else. I own way to much sony crap and it almost all sucks like this computer i'm typing on now.. ::punches screen:: Come on sony how long has it been i'm tired of your controller, I was really hoping for something new cool looking that would make me want to get a PS3. Talk about a let down, I hope sales on the PS3 are bad and they have to drop the price, cuz Metal Gear Solid 4 isn't enough to make me buy it and um yea... rumble is a good feature you fanboys say you wont miss it now but when its gone you'll realize how much of a difference those little kicks in your controller add to gameplay.... yea you ever play metal gear games... exactly they screwed with the MG atmosphere... ok thats enough sorry... just a little annoyed I JUST WANT A REASON TO BLOW $600 + but i haven't been given one yet....old controller ::slaps all the suits at sony for being money hungry vultures::

Archangel_86
Archangel_86

I would pay 600. With all the stuff on this PS3!? They have a blue-Ray movieplayer in there. One of those babies cost from $1000 up! The Blue Ray discs will soon be replaceing DVD's any way. Does any one remember the VHS? I just don't think I'll be using the "2 HD TV function" I don't even have one HD TV! : )

amkalfus
amkalfus

They are just banking off of Nintendo's ploy for motion sensitivity. They are running out of ideas and starting to take everyone else's... and for $600! You have got to be kidding me... I'd rather put a down payment on a car!

GMCTrucks
GMCTrucks

Hey how do you no Nintendo didn't copy sony they jus could of kept it secret

MK24ever
MK24ever

Great discover!!! Happy now Nintendo Fanboys?!

gsquad2002
gsquad2002

New information!!!!!! its not a copy, Sony had this idea since 1999!!!!!! PS3 controller patented in 1999 Patent number: JP11099284 Publication date: 1999-04-13 Inventor: KOBAYASHI HIROAKI; YORIZUMI MINEO Applicant: SONY CORP Classification: - international: G06F3/033; G06F3/033; (IPC1-7): A63F9/22; G06F3/033 - european: Application number: JP19970265541 19970930 Priority number(s): JP19970265541 19970930 View INPADOC patent family Abstract of JP11099284 PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To instruct an operation by the movement of a small controller that is close to the movement of a character by making the controller movable, detecting its movement and outputting a signal, and switch-recognizing the direction of the movement on the basis of the outputted signal. SOLUTION: The controller detects an angular speed by a detection section provided in a connecting section that connects the right and left operating sections of a controller unit 82. For example, rotation in the direction of rolling in relation to the right and left operating buttons 55, 56 of the left operating section is detected as an angular speed in the direction of rotation in the XY plane by the detection section 70 with the Z axis as the central axis. The detection section 70 is comprised of a movement detection section 71 made up of an angular speed sensor 72 and an amplifier 73, and a direction detection section 74 made up of movement direction recognition switches 79, 80. Therefore, movement can be instructed by the movement of the controller without operating the operating buttons 55, 56, etc.

blank2_12
blank2_12

PS3 "losing" GTA4? Yeah, sure. You know it'll never be on Nintendo, right? Not that anyone could imagine how to play it with wii's TV remote. And "Why pay $600 for a PS3?" Well maybe because PS3 will have the best graphics, most advanced gameplay and the BEST games? Nintendo, on the other hand, has by far the worst graphics, from what i've seen from the preview videos, the worst gameplay and worst games. Also, ~600 is the expensive version, the cheaper version costs ~450. Come on, surely you know that PS3 will kick "Wii"'s ass just like PS2 kicked Cube's ass and PS kicked 64's ass. And "Super Smash Bros"? Are you 10 years old? @jonniemactyler: Sonys controller "uncomfortable"? It weighs less, is smaller and has a better shape than XBOX controller. How exactly that makes it "uncomfortable"... well you tell me.

jonniemactyler
jonniemactyler

I have had many systems and think that the most comfortable is the X-Box 360. Sony's controllers have always been uncomfortable. No rumble is a moot point, but I would not be banking on tilting the controller to be the next big thing in gaming. It has limited use & only marginal appeal.

captainalpha1
captainalpha1

It's also a little sad when you see Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros. LOL!!!

captainalpha1
captainalpha1

Just a new controller? please... The Wii's graphics are muche better than the GC's, though It I won't have the audacity to say that they're just as good or better than the PS3 or xbox360. Also, the Wii will now have internet access, and much better 3rd party support than the GC. Now on to their new controller. This controller will truly revolutionize the gaming experience. Obviously the Wii-Mote is a threat, or Playstation wouldn't have added the gyroscope to their's. Also, The PS3 looks ridicoulas in front of the Wii. They've put almost all of their resources into amazing graphics, which is really upping their price. Sony has really outpriced themselves in the gaming market. Plus, their losing some of their greatest gaming titles, like GTA4. I beileve that the president of the xbox program said it best, "Why pay $600 for a PS3, When you can buy the Xbox360 and a Wii for the same price." I, personally agree with him.

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

hopefully people will have eyes to play FPS games so yeah no need for rumble to know that u were shot at hehhehe.... Nintendo fanboy just give up u know that the Wii is ridiculous in front of the PS3 so just don't try to squeeze ur self in this next-gen forum cause Wii is not nect-gen at all. btw, why didn't Nintendo just come up with the same controller for the GC? cause obviously it's the same console in terms of Graphics, features and games. If Nintendo really loves their fans then they would just keep the GC and try to come up with a way how to use the new controller with it. not have u spend an extra 250 or 300$ to buy the same thing just with a new controller.

captainalpha1
captainalpha1

Wow, Playstation still has no originality, though I can't say that I'm surprised. If anything, this was eaxactly what I expected.

sgtsandwich
sgtsandwich

lol, and u think without vibration it will be easier to play games. you wont realise ur getting shot in FPS and starting waving the controller round in panic. and cos of the tilt u'll fall flat on your face. haha

blank2_12
blank2_12

Ahem... to all the Nintendo fanboys out there: i wonder who ripped off Sony's controller design? Surely not Nintendo with their "game cube" right? And i would really like to see you play football or driving games with your Wii TV remote. As far as i can see, Wii's Mighty Motion Sensitivity would only work in FPS's where it's also pointless, and maybe... um, golf games? Admit it, you're making all this rumble over PS3's gyroscope thingy because you know that PS3 is going to have better graphics and a lot more and a lot better games. You can keep your beardy zeldas and metroids. We'll prefer Sony's 500 better games. Alright, i hope i didn't upset any more barely pubescant angry Nintendo fanboys. btw: "Wii"???? wtf?

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

I'm sure that 3rd party controller companies will come out with a rumble version of the PS3 controller. so calm down! btw, the controller rocks!!

Kuhlgamer
Kuhlgamer

it does make sense nto having the rumble if they have tilt sensitivity . . . i mean in an airplane sim if you got hit youd have the natural reaction on the screen added to horrible jerking from the controller . . . i will miss the rumble though

DarkXAce
DarkXAce

WHAT!!???? No vibration??? That's what brought a lot of games to life!!! argh!!!!!!!!! you can't be serious!!!!!!

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

whatever you Sony haters will say, at the end it's PS3 who's gonna win. History repeats its self. I personaly think that the conroller is alright. Long life to the Playstation family.

cyber_myth
cyber_myth

I totally agree with rocks, yeah Sony ripped everyone off and will suffer horribly for it but honestly how many of us are not gonna have Nintendo and Microsofts consoles anyways. So while Sony is trying to imitate, we'll have what they're basing it off of. But the no vibration is a bad move while changing the controller is a good one.

s1d
s1d

If you're talking about analog sticks, the technology comes from your average computer mouse, Wireless technology comes from the Military, Gyroscope technology comes from the Military, Buttons come from the PC, the Internet comes from the Military, rumble comes originally from Flight Simulators... the list goes on. The main point is that it's how the developers use the technology, not where they got it from. And I personally think that the motion detecting in the new Sony controller will be ok, but not as good as the Wii. I just can't get excited about the PS3 as I can about the Wii and the 360

xenogaia2003
xenogaia2003

i just hope sony realize that without the feedback rumble, they are giving nintendo and microsoft a big edge in the their competition.

Texas69
Texas69

Excluding the rumble feature was probably the single stupidest thing that Sony could of done. I'm speculating about buying it. If there weren't some fantastic games coming out, I wouldn't buy it.

shadowflashx
shadowflashx

For those who complain about the "waving your arms" and stuff, at least ur getting some goddamn exercise with the Wii instead of a cheap ripoff like Sony's PS3 controller. I doubt any games will use that stupid gyroscopic stuff anyway, ur better off getting the Revolution for like $300 less and geting other stuff with the money (like games that cost less than 60 bucks). And really, in the end, it's Nintendo who leads us into new eras of gaming rather than Sony and Microsoft who just ripoff Nintendo and try and make their systems faster and stuff.

mgsseries4life
mgsseries4life

DrMatta whats' ur point? anyways...... this controller rocks, actually Sony helps us save some money cause instead of buying the Wii for its controller and the Xbox360 for xbox live, now we can buy one wonderful console with all in one and more!! this time, like before, SONY is going to own every other company out there!! ALL HAIL PS3!!! .........................................................MGS4 ROCKS!!.............................................

DrMatta
DrMatta

boyblob wrote: --------------------------- I love angry Nintendo fanboys. I mean I'm not going to be getting a PS3 (already have 360) but if I did I would love the controller. who cares if it's a copy. PS1 had a better controller than N64 after it went dual shosk. Sony knows how to make a great controller. I also wouldn't make a big deal out of the motion sensor thing. It's just a gimicky extra like the entire Wii controller. No wait. Sony knows how to make ONE controller.