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PlayStation 3 Controller (JoyPad)

Sony finally admitted they got the design for the PS3 controller wrong and changed it from the very radical (but silly) smooth silver boomerang, to the that clunky old fashioned design that has been with us for many years.

At last, function takes priority over form (who cares what it looks like, it has to work) and the Playstation 3 game console will now have a controller that we know will fit nicely into the hand and allow hours of gameplay without causing pain or cramps; which can't be said for many of the other controllers seen over recent years.

So the shape will be almost identical to the previous PS2 controller and the new black design of the joypad will make it look similar at first glance, but there have been some huge changes inside that may very well change the way we play games forever.

ps3 console black ps2 controller black up close ps2 controller black up close

PS3 pad is Wireless

The most obvious change has to be the removal of the cable that connects the PS3 joypad to the console. Wireless gaming is the future, in fact wireless everything is the way technology is moving and Sony has proven in the past that their products can last the test of time; the original Playstation console lasted over 10 years.

As a gamer, the biggest advantage of wireless Playstation 3 pads is that you can instantly connect more controllers to the console. The biggest disadvantage is that if the battery runs out when you are in the middle of an race in Gran Turismo, then you can kiss goodbye to that high score. Oh yeah, and if you are a parent, the biggest advantage is that horrible tangled mess of cables in front of your TV will soon be a thing of the past.

The Playstation 3 uses Bluetooth technology to transmit your actions on the controller through the air. Bluetooth will be familiar to you if you own a modern mobile phone. It has low power consumption so the controller will only need to be recharged after 24 hours of gameplay, and a huge range, allowing you play games over 30 feet away from the console (for those people with a huge TV !).

ps3 usbTo get around the problem with the PS3 wireless controller running out of battery power, Sony has added a mini USB connector onto the front-middle of the pad. These sockets are that same as those on most new digital cameras and so the same lead you use to get the images from the camera onto your home computer can be used to charge the battery on the controller.

Charging time could be as little as 2 hours, and you can see how much power is left on your pad from the four LED’s just above the USB socket. Just remember not to leave the cable connected for any longer than absolutely necessary, or you will be back to owning a wired controller again !

PS3 pad Detects Movement

Sony describe the new control pad as "Having 6 degrees of movement", but What on earth does this actually mean ?

Put simply, if you push the pad...

forwards (1)
backwards (2)
left (3)
right (4)
up (5)
down (6)

...then the pad is clever enough to sense that movement and covert it into the way your character with a game reacts.

This small change has a massive impact on how games can now be played…

You can now fly a plane, just by twisting and turning the pad

You can now return a serve in tennis just by holding the pad like the handle of the racquet and swinging your arm

You can throw a grenade in a first person shooter just the right distance and direction, just by holding the pad (tightly) and doing a throwing action

You can lean into the corners on a motorbike by tilting the pad

…or you can just use the buttons (like we did in the ‘good old days’). The choice is yours, but the possibilities of changing the way we play games forever… are endless.

This is one of those rare occasions where there is a big advantage in not being the first manufacturer to release your next generation console. Sony has had a chance to see what other manufacturers are doing and by making this a standard feature on every PS3 joypad, we can be sure that the game companies will incorporate this feature into most of their games.

Welcome to the next generation of gameplay .

PS3 pad loses Dual Shock

The only change to the controller that we will really miss is the removal of the vibration feature. Sony have stated that it has been taken out because it causes problems with the movement sensors, which makes complete sense; but that doesn’t stop it from being a really nice feature that involved you more in the games you play.

The only good thing to come out of this change is that the new controller is now lighter than the PS2 pad; amazing, since it also has a battery pack inside. A light joypad is essential if you are going to be holding it up, twisting, turning, raising and lowering it.

There are 90 million other good reasons why Sony might have removed the force feedback from the PS3 pad. A company called Immersion sued Sony (and other game console manufacturers) because they owned the rights to the idea of allowing a device to vibrate in time with a game’s actions. While other companies settled out of court, Sony thought they could win this case and went all the way. After several years of battling, they are now $90.7 million poorer as Immersion won the case and the appeal. The patent only applies to the USA, so in theory, Sony could still add this feature back into the Playstation 3 controllers sold in other countries.



PS3 pad has a Home Button

ps3 controller home buttonIf you have used the Xbox360 joypad, then the idea of having a ‘Home’ button that switches you from inside a game back to the console main menu will seem very familiar.

This feature allows you to quickly check to see if any of your friends are online, see what games that the people you are currently playing with own (and how good they are at them), change the music you are listening to, start a chat session with someone playing a different game and much more.

The real beauty of this idea is that it gives you something to do while you are waiting for a game level to load, or when sitting in a game lobby waiting for people to start playing online.

Again, there is no doubting that Sony have borrowed this idea, but as a PlayStation gamer, this can be only a good thing.

PS3 pad has Triggers

The one thing that the PlayStation 2 pad was always missing, was triggers on the back of the controller.

Analogue triggers allow almost perfect acceleration and braking on any racing game, without even thinking about it; something that takes a huge amount of practice to learn to do using the pressure sensitive buttons on the old pad. They also mean you can play for hours without hurting your fingers.

ps3 controller triggerThe triggers themselves look very strange, almost like a normal button that is falling out. The good news is that it feels really good in the hand and the material the button is made from grips the finger nicely.

The button above the trigger is also now pressure sensitive, allowing for even more control of the new games than was possible on the PS2.

Your views on the PS3 Pad

Let's hear what you have to say about the new Playstation 3 controller...

Did you like the silver boomerang design better, or are you pleased that Sony has gone back to the old design ?

Do you think that the motion sensing controller will improve gaming, or will it just be a waste of time ?

Tell us what you think of the PS3 Controller

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