The Big Question: Dual Shock 3 Or Xbox 360 Controller

Something strange occurred to me during E3. I was receiving a demo showing me all the new functions of the Xbox One controller. At first I was thinking, 'how trivial, just show me the games'. But then I realised: controllers are important. Super important in fact. As someone who prefers the Xbox 360 controller, it's one of the sole reasons I play most (not all) multiplatform games on the 360.

So today's question is simple: which controller do you prefer — the Xbox 360 controller or the Dual Shock 3? I've heard some good arguments on either side, but I think in the end it simply comes down to personal preference, what you're used to, and what fits in your own hand.

Still, I'm keen to see the result of this poll!

Which Controller Do You Prefer?


    My major criticism of the Dual Shock 3 is that the sticks were placed without considering basic ergonomics. If you relax your hands, you'll find that you thumbs are positioned much closer to the sticks on the 360. To use the Dual Shock 3, you have to move you thumb almost to its extension. I doubt it causes thumb ache, but over the long term, its going to be bad for your hands. think everyone would agree the triggers also blow.

      I don't know about you but my left thumb is not considerably longer than my right. When I relax my hands the sticks on the DS3 are fine. I HATE the asymmetry of the X360 controller and also hate the feel of the rubbery sticks. Also the ABXY buttons are too big and blobby. Oh and the dpad on the X360 is really uncomfortable too.

        Most games rely on you using the left stick and the right buttons at the same time. So your hands are in an asymmetrical position while playing more games on PS3 but not so on the 360.

          That statement depends entirely on the type of games you play.
          Most games I play have you controlling a character in either 1st or 3rd person, so 90% of the time the symmetry works perfectly on PS3 for me.

          I find these days most games require me to use both sticks at the same time. Left to move, right to look. I find games tend to use the shoulder buttons / triggers more than they use the face buttons these days. So yeah, the PS3's symmetrical stick layout wins for me.

          I see what you're saying, but i think the gap between the right stick and the face buttons is smaller than the X360 so it's less of a stretch/reach overall, and because the left stick is slightly closer up to the dpad on the left side it's slightly more lined up horizontally with the face buttons on the right side, making it less asymmetrical.

        The 360 pad isn't perfect. The left stick is pretty much exactly at the relation point. The relaxation point on the right is between the stick and the fact buttons. I'm guess that MS came to the conclusion that people need to have equal reach to both. It seems Nintendo came to same conclusion.

        I don't like the dpad on the 360 controller, but I also hardly ever use it.

          It's a shame because the dpad on the DS3 sucks. I hate that it's segmented up top, but underneath it's all joined, it's especially frustrating when you have to select a diagonal but there IS NO DIAGONAL. urgh.

          I think the dpad on the Mega Drive was pretty awesome, although a bit sharp at first on mine (original Mega Drive).

      The sticks for the 360 controller are in different positions, so only one of your thumbs will relax to that position.

      That being said, the Dual Shock wasn't so much designed as continued. It is a SNES controller with handles thrown on and then analog sticks added in the only space there was for them. The SNES controller was designed with the D-Pad in mind, so it has the pride of place on the left side. The D-Pad isn't used for movement anymore, often just minor things like weapon selection. Having it in the prime position just seems silly.

      Also, the Dual Shock is too damned light and small. Even with my tiny girly hands it feels too small.

      I honestly think that those that prefer the Dual Shock have been using Playstation as their primary console for several generations. Not because it is the best but because it is what they're used to.

        That's true, but even the right stick is in a better position than on the dual shock, which places both sticks in basically the worst place you can still reach. It's hard to tell, but I don't think the DS4 will fix this issue either.

      think everyone would agree the triggers also blow.
      I concur.

        360 controller is amazingly good after using a dual shock for a lifetime.. The dpad could have been better but anyways pretty keen on the new Xbox One controller it looks amazing whereas I think Sony need to bring out an asymmetrical controller for fps games... And don't get me started on the old Sixaxis I still have two of them bastards with dead battery charge

      I'm fine with the positioning of the sticks. I've been using various Dualshocks for 15 years now and my hands are fine. I reckon if it was going to have any long term negative effects then they'd have started showing up by now.

      I find the triggers annoying not so much while playing games but rather when I put the thing down on the table and it inadvertently hits one of them. That's REALLY annoying when watching a movie and that happens and suddenly it's fast forwarding or rewinding. Apparently the DualShock 4 has improved in this area, so I'm looking forward to trying that out when I get a PS4.

        I swear they do this just to make you want to buy a stand alone remote. Happens to me ALL the time.

      How small are your hands dude???

      Not a worry for me. I haven't used the 360 controller but it does look like a more comfortable shape in your hand.

        My hands are massive. Size isn't the issue thought, and the angle between the index finger when holding the dual shock thats the problem.

          I've got big hands too and it's totally fine on my end. My thumbs are nowhere near full extension. It actually sits very nicely in my hands. I think it's too small to be honest, and it could definitely be a more human shape.

          Not saying you're wrong at all. Just that my experience is very different.

            I should make a video. I can show people the hand resting position, and we're it sits on each pad. I think my point would be clearer.

              I'll watch it!

              And I'll do a photo or video of my hands on the DS3. Just in the spirit of caring and sharing.

              No joke. You put it up and I will too!

    no contest, still results closer than I would have thought, unless only 3 people have voted haha

    'one of the sole reasons' ? :P

    But dualshock all the way, though if I had my choice I'd play every game on the Gamecube controller, so comfy.

    Dualshock 3, its much nicer to hold, more suited to my hands

      Even though I voted DS3, I would probably say for ergonomics the X360 might be slightly more comfortable around the underside, but the ease of use is definitely prefer DS3.

      I think the gamecube (original) controller is the best controller I've ever used ergonomics wise, in terms of how you grip the thing and how it feels weight wise, but not so much buttons/placement. It looks like they have taken a leaf out of the gamecube controller's book when designing the hand grips for the new PS4 Controller, which is definitely ok by me.

        hmm my thought is the N64 had the best controller ever, with my large hands it works great, the GC controller is alright but nothing major

          Try playing Nfs underground on GameCube for a day... The L and R buttons were horrendous holding it down to accelerate gives you finger cramps and shit after a few hours and I personally don't like remapping controls unless its seems out of place

    always hated the PS controllers, too small and clumsy feeling.

    @markserrels FYI, the poll is slightly broken, i can continuously vote :P

    Last edited 19/06/13 11:30 am

    I have detested every PlayStation controller since they started making them. Don't like the d-pad, don't like the analogue sticks, don't like the analogue triggers, don't like the shape of where the prongs meet the controller under the main button sections (that spot where your middle finger rests). So I almost have to go with the 360 controller by default. Though I do much prefer it, yes.

    That said though, I can't wait to try out the PS4 controller. It looks like they've finally made some actual improvements to it, and it could be quite good.

      Oh, and the real answer to the question is actually "GameCube controller".

        Gamecube controller? Shudder.

        It's probably an adjustment thing, but trying to drive that baby... my brain just can't do it.

        sorry but dreamcast is the best

        Shame about that Z button.

          I honestly never understood people's problem with it. I mean maybe the fact that there wasn't another one over on the left side could be a downside in some games, but otherwise it seemed to served its purpose just fine.

            The triggers had ledges that your fingers sat in making it had to easily slide from the default position to the Z button.

    I grew up with the Nintendo but swapped over to a playstation, I've been playstationing ever since, so I guess I'm just used to it, my hands naturally relax to the position of a PS controller. Find it difficult to use a Xbox controller.

    My main frustration with the xbox controller that I'm not sure why but nobody else seems to have an issue with is playing FPS, seeing as xbox is the forefront of Halo and COD (all trailers show xbox ads beginning and and and they have the contract for DLC) I cant stand playing anything that uses LB because my hand hates the pinching motion from having the Analog stick and the Left bumper are just way too close to be using a lot at the same time, PS3 is fairly symmetrical which works well with my hands, I don't get cramps and I can play for hours. Xbox my hands ache literally about 45mins in.

    The PS4 controller looks like the best controller ever made :D (ever so slightly wider and nicer thumbsticks+all its new features) Soo excited.

    My hands feel too close together with the Xbox controller. Plus I've spent so long with the PS controllers my hands sort of just naturally to to where they need to by now.

    I've been playing Last of Us on the PS3. It's reminding me just how much I hate the L/R2 triggers. Can't squeeze the damn things without feeling like the controller is going to slip out of my grasp.

    Grew up on PS and used to the controller so I have no issues with it.

    Found the Xbox and 360 controller different and a bit awkward to begin with (as I didn't use them as much as PS consoles and I don't have big hands either).

    I think most preferences come from what you are used to though.

      This sums up my experience completely. Started on the Dual Shock controllers and everything else just seems a little bit weird. Personal preference, I like having symmetric thumbsticks, though the DS3's L2/R2 are annoying when you put the controller down (as previously mentioned)

      I agree that familiarity is the most common deciding factor, but for what it's worth, I grew up playing PSX/PS2. The xbox controller felt weird for a few days when I first started using it (on my PC), but only a few days later, I couldn't have gone back. A few years later, now, and I still much prefer the Xbox controller.

      It may depend on the genre, too. I almost NEVER play FPS games with a controller (when I do, it's when I'm invited to play on someone's console; and then I play inverted), so I'm usually hovering over the ABXY/shapes buttons and flicking over to the RS/R3 when I need to adjust the camera, so the asymmetrical orientation works best for me.

    Regardless of preference, they both work on PC for multi platform titles. Which is why I prefer the 360 controller but never really use the console any more.

    N64, no contest


      Nintendo's greatest ever controller, and the best console controller by a mile.

      The critical feature, which no console controller has ever matched, was the longer stick on the primary joystick. This allowed drastically better precision.

      I currently have a PS3 and the controllers are well made but ergonomically poor. Specifically, aiming in FPS games is ridiculous due to the short, stubby sticks.

      As for the new xbox controller, it reminds me of a Dreamcast controller - it's freaking huge and unwieldy.

      In the end, of course, nothing will ever match mouse/kb. Hopefully both consoles have good support for this.

    Keyboard and Mouse #PCMasterRace :P
    In all seriousness, I much prefer the Xbox 360 controller. Mind you, the Xbox 360 is the only console I've ever owned...
    I've used the PS3 controller a few times before though. It wasn't too bad. The new one looks like it could be more comfy.

      Keyboard and mouse come a distant last for me - I had carpal tunnel issues a few years back from using the mouse :P

    I prefer the asyemmetrical palcement of the 360 analog sticks, and the general heft and balance of the controller. With the Dualshock 3 I feel like I am pinching and gripping too much and my fingers don't naturally rest on the shoulder buttons.

    My wife has arthritis and has been literally unable to hold the dualshock 3 controller to get past the prologue of the Last of Us because the cold has caused it to flare up - but she has no issues holding the 360 controller for 4-6 hours straight.

    Xbox, totally.

    Overall I think I prefer the PS3 controller.

    The 360 controller has an overall more comfortable shape on the outside and the triggers are nice, but the dpad is useless and in an awkward position and the buttons are too lumpy and hard.

    The PS3 controller isn't shaped as comfortably but has a good (enough) dpad that's easy to reach, the sticks being in the lower position isn't a problem because they're protruding out high enough that you can easily use them, and the buttons are softer to press. The triggers are a weirdly shaped though.

    That is why the PS4 controller excites me. The layout is mostly the same but the handles look to resemble the 360 controller and the triggers are more like the 360 ones. Hopefully it will be the best controller yet.

    While I prefer the triggers on the 360 controller, the asymmetric placing of the analogue sticks makes it too awkward, especially if I'm planning to use the triggers as well.

    I also find the actual controller a bit too bulky. It makes me feel like I'm holding a banana. I've always used a fairly delicate touch with controllers, going back to the original Atari 2600 stick where I would hold the base in one hand and move the stick with just a few fingers rather than grasping it with an entire hand. The '360 controller forces me to use the whole of both hands, whereas the Dual Shock 3 permits a lighter touch.

    I think the XBox 360 controller fits perfectly in my hand and is the most comfortable for me. I'm glad that they haven't messed with it too much for the XBone.

    The original PS3 controller, the sixxaxis one was terrible, but mostly because of the weight of it, or lack thereof. The dual shock 3 was definitely a decent controller but thumbstick positioning for me is what lets it down.

    PS3. I've got two 360 controllers and neither of them will charge their batteries any more.

      The 360 battery packs are ridiculously bad. I've found that I get much better mileage out of Aldi rechargeable AAs.

      Curiously, I've used my 2 PS3 controllers so little recently that neither of them seem to want to hold a charge any more either. Super frustrating when I can't just opt to put regular batteries in them, and have to be tethered via a series of USB extender cables.

        Had the same problem with my two Sixaxis controllers I need them plugged In to play now, my white ds3 is fine but my 6 recharge batt packs for Xbox 360 are all dead flat nothing AA's can't solve though ?

    360 all the way. Triggers and Sticks are much easier to use when compared to the DS.

    For most games you'll be using the left analogue stick with the main 4 face buttons with the right analogue stick for secondary use. It just makes sense to have the left analogue stick in the central position instead of the d pad. How many games actually use the D pad as the main source of movement?

    I think they're both just as comfortable as each other, just the 360's controller takes a little less getting used to after using PS3's, than the PS3's does after using 360's. 360's is more immediately comfortable, and has way better triggers. Terrible d-pad on 360 though. Even if the d-pad was better, it's not positioned very well for 2D side-scrollers or fighting games. On the other hand, PS3's d-pad rips my thumb apart after a few hours use, so there's that as well.

    No one who is truly objective would prefer the Dualshock. It's just not possible, unless they are a weirdo that's serious about fighting games who doesn't have a fight stick?

    Having said that, the Dualshock 4 looks like a MASSIVE improvement, which is great. The DS3 biggest issue is those handles are just too short, which means that even if you have small girly hands like me, the controller needs to sit above your palm for your thumbs to rest 'naturally'. If you sit the DS3 in your palm, your constanly forcing your thumds to reach the sticks.

    Also the 'triggers' are stupid.

    Both the One controller and DS4 look great. But the One controller took an almost perfect controller and MADE it perfect so it wins by default, but I'll need ot get my hands on them to be 100% sure.

    For me, DS3 had crappy triggers/placement, analogue sticks felt so stiff they might as well have been digital, and I didn't find the design very comfortable.
    The 360 controller has a useless d-pad, uncomfortable dual analogue placement, and the face buttons felt like balls (literally and metaphorically).

    ...I don't think I can vote :P

    I wanted to vote XBox 360 controller because of the shape, stick positions and analogue stick tension, however, the D-Pad is absolutely atrocious and since it's something I use a lot, affects my opinion strongly. I also don't like the trigger style L2/R2. I do actually have an XBox style PS3 controller, but it is smaller than a Dual Shock and the buttons are too close to the right stick which is a pain.

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