Sony tested Xbox stick layout for DualShock 4

Many shooter players have grown accustomed to the asymmetrical placement of both left and right sticks on Xbox 360's gamepad. Sony had to mull over whether or not they should follow.

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Before settling on the largely-familiar design of the DualShock 4, Sony had experimented with a number of new controller ideas for PS4. One facet the company was mindful of was the placement of the analog sticks. Many shooter players have grown accustomed to the asymmetrical placement of both left and right sticks on Xbox 360's gamepad. Sony had to mull over whether or not they should follow. "For the analog sticks, we did test having the analog sticks on top, since the Xbox has the left side on top [above the D-pad]," Sony's Toshimasa Aoki said. "Especially from the shooter teams--we got feedback that that's what they wanted. They knew that consumers liked the 360 for shooters."

Wii U Pro Controller

Sony experimented with every possible combination of stick placement, even going so far as prototyping a controller with both analog sticks on top--much like the Wii U Pro Controller (above). However, Sony discovered that it didn't work. "People are used to having the buttons up there, and this moves the most-used button--the X--so far away [from your right thumb]," Aoki told VentureBeat. "If we moved the X up there, it just breaks all the muscle memory. The right hand mostly goes for both buttons and sticks, but the left hand stays on one or the other and usually doesn't switch around [between the left analog stick and the D-pad]. That's why it’s OK to switch around the left side. But switching the right side really breaks the gamer's experience." Ultimately, "tradition" was what won out at Sony, with Aoki saying symmetrical sticks are part of the company's DNA. "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."
From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 21, 2013 2:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Sony tested Xbox stick layout for DualShock 4.

    Many shooter players have grown accustomed to the asymmetrical placement of both left and right sticks on Xbox 360's gamepad. Sony had to mull over whether or not they should follow.

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      October 21, 2013 2:39 PM

      [deleted]

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        October 21, 2013 4:03 PM

        I agree. The xbox style controller just feels more comfortable.

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      October 21, 2013 2:42 PM

      I always thought the Xbox asymmetrical layout was totally bonkers. MS only did it to be different to the Playstation. I guess in terms of gameplay it makes little difference but as a design I think it's truly wretched.

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        October 21, 2013 2:46 PM

        MS wasn't the first to do it. The Dreamcast had the analog stick up top, even if it only had the one. I never cared for it, and much prefer a symmetric layout.

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          October 21, 2013 2:53 PM

          Gamecube had it before the Xbox as well. Although that c-stick was garbage.

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          October 21, 2013 2:58 PM

          That was one of if not the most uncomfortable controllers ever made.

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        October 21, 2013 2:59 PM

        Personally, after playing with the asymmetrical layout for so many years, the DualShock just feels very uncomfortable for me

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          October 21, 2013 3:05 PM

          it's the opposite for me, but for the same reasons (longtime dualshock user -> recent 360 controller).

          but it's only for first and third person shooters. in 2D games the transition went without a hitch. that being said, i've never played a 2D game with the dualshock (like mark of the ninja or super meat boy).

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        October 21, 2013 3:00 PM

        I think it makes a lot of sense, because it's symmetrical in the sense that your thumbs are roughly in the same spots most of the time, because the left thumbstick and face buttons are primary inputs. The Playstation controller is based on design when the d-pad was still widely used, but now, most players would have their left and right hand placed asymmetrically to use the left thumbstick. It always feels awkward to me and it feels like they focus too much on the aesthetic sense of the device instead of how it feels to hold.

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          October 21, 2013 3:10 PM

          i think it depends on the game.

          i'm trying to think of when i most often use the right thumbstick, and it's only really been in first and third person games.. where view control is relatively important. in other games, where just the left thumbstick is necessary (like god of war), i suppose it would be more comfortable having a thumbstick where the d-pad is currently.

          i think sony has the right idea with the symmetry. let's hope the steambox controller teaches us something.

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      October 21, 2013 3:02 PM

      And yet they kept the left stick in the wrong place for the wrong reason. fuck your DNA

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      October 21, 2013 3:10 PM

      I'm always surprised that stick layout is such a big deal since I alternate between by 360 controller and PS3 without any difficulty. I think the problem isn't primarily the symmetry of the DS3, it's more that handle design makes it feel smaller and cramped for bigger hands which I think the DS4 seems to be addressing.

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        October 21, 2013 3:14 PM

        Yeah, I use the 360 controller on PC and my PS3 controllers on PS3 alternately without any issues. Both are probably among my favorite controller designs (though I prefer the Sony ones).

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        October 21, 2013 3:48 PM

        Yeah. I think the ps3 controller is fine from a stick layout standpoint. I have no issues transitioning between it and a 360 controller. The issue with the ps3 has to do with the shape, heft, and generally "cheap" feeling of the ps3 controller versus a 350 controller.

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        October 21, 2013 4:11 PM

        I also use both and don't even notice

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      October 21, 2013 3:11 PM

      so glad. i really cant stand the 360 pad at all, and the reversed left side is probably my biggest problem.

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      October 21, 2013 3:34 PM

      I really dislike the close placement of Sony's symmetrical sticks. I think it's just the size of my hands, though. My thumbs actually end up bonking into eachother when I have to bring both sticks together. Nothing else really bothers me. Aside from the occasional collisions I don't really see a major difference in effectiveness between the two setups.

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        October 21, 2013 3:41 PM

        The Wii U controller, with about 8.5" between analog sticks, is amazingly comfortable.

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          October 21, 2013 3:45 PM

          I've been toying with the idea of buying one, but I can't justify the purchase because the system doesn't have enough games that I'm interested in. Hopefully that'll be addressed over the next year.

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          October 21, 2013 4:30 PM

          Worst feeling controller ever. :(

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            October 21, 2013 4:43 PM

            You are soo wrong. After using the Wii U controller, everything else is substandard.

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          October 21, 2013 4:43 PM

          Yep. I thought I preferred the 360's due to their placement of the sticks, but after playing through ZombiU I realized the PS3's were simply too close together. It can feel a tad cheap at times but I really love the feel of the controller.

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        October 21, 2013 6:36 PM

        This. For whatever reason, I find the PS3 controller very uncomfortable to hold for extended periods of time. I can't really explain it other than the PS3 controller feels very tiny to me.

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      October 21, 2013 3:39 PM

      The controller is okay but sometimes I have issues with the trigger buttons as my hands feel cramped trying to get to them. The Xbox controller feels natural and I never have issues with buttons.

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      October 21, 2013 3:41 PM

      Said it before, but the Wii U Pro controller's layout is now my favorite.

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      October 21, 2013 3:46 PM

      All I'd ask for on the DS4 is a little more spacing between the sticks. I don't mind that they're side-by-side, but the frequency with which my thumbs touch is too often.

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        October 21, 2013 4:28 PM

        Good news, they are further apart

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          October 21, 2013 5:02 PM

          It's really not that much, and only due to the controller having the touchpad in the middle now.

    • ArB legacy 10 years
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      October 21, 2013 4:16 PM

      I've always preferred the ps layout, but I don't have a problem with either controller. wutevs

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      October 21, 2013 4:21 PM

      I really like the Wii U's gamepad. It's soo wide.

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      October 21, 2013 4:25 PM

      Just how much tweaking of these dual analog controllers are they going to do before they realize that EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT? Geez, I would've been happy if they stopped with the PS2 dual shock controller or Xbox's original controller and left it at that wires and all.

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      October 22, 2013 5:12 AM

      Take the PS3 controller and make it wider so that the sticks are further apart, but I don't need to sprain my thumb to move them outward. Make the triggers lower and the grips fatter.

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