News Article

Sony Saw Sense and Ditched Asymmetrical Sticks for PS4

Posted by Sammy Barker

Did try it, though

Some strange gamers have taken a shine to the Xbox 360’s asymmetrical analogue stick layout – and that prompted engineers at Sony to reconsider the shape of its famous DualShock device. The discussion goes that the left analogue stick is often the primary input in the majority of modern games, so should take centre stage ahead of the ageing d-pad. We don’t necessarily agree with the argument – your thumbs naturally sit in the same position when making a gripping motion – but the platform holder tried it before settling upon the PlayStation 4 controller’s current guise.

“For the analogue sticks, we did test having [them] on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the d-pad],” designer Toshimasa Aoki told Venture Beat. “Especially from the shooter teams – we got feedback that that's what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters.”

In truth, the platform holder experimented with lots of different styles – including one form similar to the Wii U’s top-heavy Pro Controller. However, the organisation didn’t think that that worked very well. “People are used to having the buttons up there, and this moves the most-used button so far away [from your right thumb],” he explained.

In the end, the manufacturer decided to, er, stick with tradition, and settle on symmetrical sticks. "The prototype team, myself, and also the management team really felt that having this look is the PlayStation look, and we had to keep that,” Aoki concluded. We had had nightmares after learning that the DualShock 3 was on the chopping block that Sony would mimic the Xbox 360’s layout, but fortunately common sense prevailed. Which stick setup do you prefer? Twiddle our bits in the comment section below.


User Comments (25)



Paranoimia said:

If they hadn't, PS4 would be the first system to have me looking at third party controllers. I really don't get on with sticks in that configuration at all.



MadchesterManc said:

I use both on a regular basis. Steam works well with the 360 controller and I can plug a mic into it n Steam picks it up Still, I dont really like it too much. After a while my hand cramps up whereas I dont have that issue with the DS3. It could be due to controller shape instead of stick placement, but ya never know. Symmetrical stick placement seems more natural to me anyway.



Gamer83 said:

I'm so used to both that it wouldn't have been that jarring a change. However, I agree about the PS 'look' and I'm happy Sony stayed with the design we know and love. It'd be like changing triangle, x, square and circle to a, b, x and y because everybody else does that. Sure it doesn't make a huge difference in the way games play but I do think the brand would lose a bit of its identity.



DirectAim said:

Why cant they bring out two styles. I prefer the layout of the 360 pad because I mainly play games that use the thumbstick as the main input.

D-Pad is for football and fighting games, everything else is thumb stick.



InsertNameHere said:

I hate the 360 controllers asymmetrical analogue sticks with an intense, burning passion - mostly due to my semi-obsession with symmetry. The symmetrical analogues are one reason why I found the DualShock 3 to be less cumbersome than omost people would like you to believe.

If Sony had decided to go with asymmetrical analogue sticks, I would have finally bought a 3rd party controller.



Reverend_Skeeve said:

Well, it seems I am one of those strange gamers...I prefer the layout of the 360s pad over the DS3/4 any time of the day. I wish Sony'd offer some choice. Also, I have big hands so I prefered the 360s pad because it is a little bit bigger than the DS3, hence easier to grip for me. That said, I have played many years on my PS1 and 2, so the symmetrical design works for me, too...and since the DS4 is reportedly a little bigger, the sticks tighter with less dead zone and there's finally proper triggers, I should be fine. The awful feeling L2/R2 "triggers" on the DS3 were my biggest complaint.



Epic said:

I will adapt to any controller with time but I still kinda look wierd at the touchpad, I guess I will just have to wait get my hands to it and see if doesn't feel wierd.




@MadchesterManc try Ds3 tool/motion in joy.
I use my remaining Dualshock 3 for my PC with it. Don't play many games on my PC, but picked up Star Wars Starfighter for 3 quid last night on Steam, works like a charm!

On point, much prefer the Dualshock layout.



rjejr said:

I've been using the DS primarily since it released about 15 years ago so I would not have been happy. I used the Dreamcast and Gamecube way back when but I don't even count the Wiimote as a controller. Never had any Xboxen. I wouldn't even consider getting an N64 when it came out and I saw the controller. I still don't get why Miyamoto thought they needed that weird design for Mario 64.



Tasuki said:

The main problem I had with the PS2 controller (can't say about PS3 since I never owned one) was that the analog sticks were too close to each other, thats where I liked the Xbox 360's stick placement. However with the PS4 it looks like they widened the space between the sticks so I am eager to see how that works out.

As for MS putting the stick above the directional pad I would too if my D-pad was as bad as the one on the Xbox 360 controller.



Munkyknuts said:

I've had a playstation since I was 15 and so I've also been used to the iconic playstation controller for all that time as well...when idle my hands fall naturally into the position to hold that shape. Anything else wouldn't have felt right to me.



charlesnarles said:

I thought they considered making the stick and d pad swappable. That wouldn't allow for such small dead zones, tho. DS3s are comfy to me, but 4s are more ergonomic to adult-sized hands. And all 360 controllers feel like they're 3rd party to me cause they always change it.



3Above said:

Iv breifly used 360 controllers and had to form new neural connections in my brian to learn how to use it after so many years of the DualShock. I would have had a fit if they had changed it for PS4.

Is one controller style REALLY better for certain genres or is that just personal preference being expressed as fact on the Internet?



Madd_Hatter401 said:

I love the 360 controllers, the sticks feel very natural.. I'd say it's the only thing I give MS over PS. The PS4 controller looks pretty sweet though I think it will no doubt be my favorite controller.



Crimson_Ridley said:

It's kind of hard to take the rest of the article seriously when you needlessly bash the 360 controller AND the gamers who enjoy it in your opening statement.

I prefer the 360 layout because it just feels more comfortable to me. I've never been a fan of the Playstation layout, and the rubber on the thumbsticks. The 360 controller is one of the finest controllers ergonomically and I'd rather use it over a Playstation controller any day of the week.

That's not to say I dislike the PS3 controller, but it really was in need of a change, and Sony decided to leave it alone.



fishwilson said:

Xbox360 controller sticks I can use, but those buttons.....they are really eating into my thumbs after a while. The DualShock has always been a nice allround controller so I'm glad they kept it that way. It just works.



grenworthshero said:

I don't really care either way. I don't know why 360 gets the credit for the asymmetry anyway--GCN did it well before them.



redd214 said:

Thank god, hate the 360 layout. I have a third party ps3 Controller that mirrors the 360 one and it's awful to use. Been using the Dual shocks since they were first released with Ape Escape. Glad they made this choice



Ginkgo said:

Few, and there I was thinking I would need to dislocate a thumb...



FullbringIchigo said:

to be honest I don't think any contoller has been better than the GameCubes at least to me, but out of the PlayStation and XBOX controllers the PS controller is the best



D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

I get my mix of balance of controllers from every console in my life span so it really doesn't matter how good or how bad the controllers feel just though the XBOX D-Pad was the worst in the fighting games department.

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