The Big Question: Xbox 360 Controller Or The PlayStation 3 Controller?

You know, I think there is a clear winner in this fabricated contest, but that's just me. I've always loved the Xbox 360 controller and never really 'got to grips' (oh gawd) with the PlayStation controller. But that's just my personal taste. I've had so many people tell me they love the PlayStation controller and hate the 360 one. So let's settle it with a vote!

I'll be keen to see the results of this one. I have a suspicion it'll be a landslide, but I could be wrong!

Feel free to discuss your choices in the comments below!


    360, because I've got giant, bumbling oaf hands!

      I've never understood that my hands are fairly large sized as well but the 360 controller feels like my hands are too cramped and close together. I much prefer holding the PS3 one in my fingertips.

        Feels like there's more of the 360 controller to grip for me atleast. I don't mind either, though. Will happily game on either.

        That and I like how the ps3 controller works on my pc with motioninjoy... And internal batteries are cool too...

      Same here. Though having recently played more PS3, I don't mind that one either. Over all though the 360 feels more solid and I'm just too used to the button names.

        Hey, it's my old pal Mikey T!

          Yo yo! Obviously our shared passion in gaming is due to our shared giant hand size. :P

            Strengthened through years of point and clicking adventure related stuff.

              Haha, indeed! I haven't played any adventure games since Gemini Rue finished. Did start Stacking though, but didn't get far into it yet. And that's not quite point-and-click!

              I'm currently in a "I don't really feel like gaming" sort of moods. :(

                You've changed. You used to be all about adventure games and eating chips. What happened?

                  I'm a horrible, horrible person!

                  *runs off crying with a bag of Doritos in his hand*

    nothing against the 360 one, I just prefer the dualshock.

      I prefer the symmetrical layout of the PS sticks.
      But the wired 360 pad is really comfortable.

      I find the wireless one really uncomfortable though.
      That battery pack jutting out! Why batteries anyway?!?!

    PS3 controller for anything that relies on the dpad.

    360 controller for overall comfort but I don't dislike the feel and stick layout of the PS3 controller so overall I pick that.

      I'm really struggling to think of d-pad dependent games that are on the 360 or PS3.

        I prefer D-pad for fighting games where you need to do stuff like quarter-circles - I tend to overshoot it when using a stick.

          I'm one of those hardcore dorks with an arcade stick. I even use it for Divekick.

        It's pretty much down to fighting games, 2D platformers or anything that relies on d-pad diagonals for selecting weapons/items.

    Can't stand the PS3 controller. Feels like it's constantly trying to escape from my hands. Hated every minute of it when playing the Last of Us. It's the reason I use my PS3 for platform exclusives only, and why I've never signed up for PS+.

    So you can probably guess which one I voted for!

      The Wavebird?

        Wasn't an option. Otherwise probably.

          It needed rumble. Thats all, otherwise its the best.

            I switch off rumble in most modern games. It's overused and gives me RSI (or something similar). So its absence didn't bother me.

            Last edited 28/08/13 3:48 pm

              The original PS3 controller ruined your dreams of a perfect design.

              FULL BLOWN BATARANG!

      Yeah, same situation. Borrowed Last of Us from a friend, but I gave up half way purely because of the controller and watched the rest of the game on YouTube. Same thing happened with Uncharted 3. There's just something about the analogue sticks that frustrates the hell out of me, they feel really loose and slippery compared to the 360 controller. Also the tiny grips are a lot more uncomfortable to hold in comparison.

    Dual Shock with a caveat: I'm more familiar with it, so I voted for it. I do have a 360 controller for my computer, and I quite like it.

    The PS3 controller is just a SNES controller with more bits put on. Most people who like it do so because they're used to the older iterations, not necessarily because it is better.

    Sure, there's the d-pad but nothing really uses the d-pad these days.

    EDIT: The 360 controller also has one great point over the Dual Shock 3. You can plug one into a PC and it just works. It's not necessarily difficult to get a DS3 working on a PC but there's a reason why the 360 controller is the de facto PC controller.

    Last edited 28/08/13 11:29 am

      Alas only a wired one. Wireless even with the plug/play charge don't work. :(

        There's a special dongle you can get that picks up a wireless 360 controller (I got a new controller with dongle from mighty ape a few months back for $50 - good investment!)

          Yeah I was hunting down a dongle but eBay only seemed to have dodgy knock offs which I didn't want to waste time with.

          There was one seller in the US that had the original one, but it would cost nearly $40 to get it here.

          In the end I found a wired controller from JB for $35 and that does the trick. The original Microsoft one as I had a third-party one before but it just didn't feel right. Plus it broke when I dropped it on the ground by mistake. :(

          The dongle can be great value if you already own a 360 and a bunch of controllers (not that it isn't worth if you don't). For the price of one dongle, I could play 4 player split screen games like Serious Sam 3 and Sonic Racing: Transformed.

      you can download a small piece of free software and plug the PS3 controller in and It will work just the same

      'The PS3 controller is just a SNES controller with more bits put on. ' I'm a bit confused by your metaphor here. What makes a 360 controller not 'a SNES controller with more bits put on'?

        It's not a metaphor. It's actually how it was designed.

        The original Playstation happened after Nintendo and Sony failed to work together to make a disc based system. Sony just added handles to the SNES controller to get the controller for their system.

        Since then, each iteration of the Playstation controller has just added to the existing design. It also explains why the d-pad is given such prominence despite analog sticks being the primary control these days. Originally, they weren't there and they got put in the only spare space that could take them without drastically altering the original design.

        That's not the case with the 360 controller, where you can see dramatic differences between the designs of all Microsoft controllers.

          By this logic I could equally say the Xbox controller is just a slight redesign of a Sony dualshock.

            Except that would be wrong.

            There is a clear and direct lineage from the SNES controller to the DS3. It started with a failed business partnership and you can put a SNES controller next to a DS3 and see the similarities.

            The 360 controller has no relationship with the Dualshock.

            If you're going to trace it back, the Microsoft controllers are based loosely on the Dreamcast controller which can then be traced back to the Genesis if you're feeling bored. You can't put a 360 controller next to a Dreamcast controller or Genesis controller and notice obvious similarities.

              You seem to be saying that you can see no similarities between a dualshock and a xbox controller? So, dual thumbsticks ,four shoulder buttons, four face buttons and a d-pad all laid out in a very similar fashion, but no correlation whatsoever. Righto.

                There's a difference some similarities based on common design goals and something being a redesign of something else.

                Take a look at what I'm saying. The Dual Shock 3 is a direct descendant of the SNES controller. The 360 controller is a much more modern design that takes note of ergonomics.

                You don't get it because you don't seem to be able to look past "they're both controllers".

                Take a design course or something, it might make some sense.

    PS3, only because the d-pad is better. Don't find many differences between the two overall though.

    DualShock 3 for me (hey, that rhymes!). Partly because I prefer the symmetrical stick layout, and partly because the XBox one just feels a bit too big in my hands. The DS3 certainly isn't perfect, though, so I'm pretty happy with what I'm hearing about the changes they've made for the DS4. It looks uglier, but sounds like it'll feel better.

    I have no strong feelings one way or the other.

      Same here. I wish there was an option in the poll which said "Don't care, they both work fine".

    I wrote a long winded explanation as to why the 360 pad is better from an ergonomics point of view (I work in that space), but realised its probably the tenth time I've done so on this site, and the responses are 'nuh uh'.

    Goes to prove people can get used to, and even prefer, a bad system.

      There's no right or wrong answer to the question posed, it's a matter of taste and what feels right for different people (keyword being "different").

      Last edited 28/08/13 11:29 am

        That's not true.

        Everyone who disagrees with me is wrong.

        You might have a personal preference but an objective breakdown of why ERGNOMICALLY one is better than the other is a different thing and hence one controller could be considered, at least from that point of view, to be empirically better.

        Nope. Ergonomics is a science based on biology. the biology of the human hand does not play well with the DualShock compared to the 360 controller.


          Source a peer reviewed paper, please, or it remains a preference.

            These pads are heavily tested, but it's all commercial in confidence. A quick google scholar search revealed a sum total of one study (not peer reviewed comparing pads). It only looked at hand size. It wasn't peer-reviewed.

            The thing is, the ergonomics of the hand have been heavily studied for hundreds of years. I don't need to do an empirical study to say, outright, that the PS3 controller was not designed with any consideration of that research. It was designed as a copy of the SNES pad, and then later had two sticks whacked on where they 'fit' (you'd be surprised how many systems are designed this way). They didn't consider the fact that the sticks were placed at the extension of the thumb, rather than the resting position. Or that to press the R1 and L1 buttons you have to shift your grip. Consequently, its a mediocre design. Nonetheless, preference can be based on familiarity rather than genuine comfort.

              Preference can be based on familiarity rather than genuine comfort, I agree.
              But genuine comfort can also be based on the size/shape of your hands.

                But genuine comfort can also be based on the size/shape of your hands. Size/shape needs to be pulled apart. One control pad will never completely satisfy all hand sizes, but shape can be accommodated, as out hands are pretty much exactly the same in terms of shape and function. This is exactly what I'm referring to when I say that, objectively, the PS3 pad is poorly design. It doesn't match the shape of the hand.

                  It doesn't match the shape of a western person's hand.

                  Sony did attempt to improve the situation with the Dual Analogue controller (Basically an early DualShock except not PS2 compatable, didn't ship with rumble motors, but were designed to have them, and had longer grips) which was designed for the generally larger hands of a westerner, but it was recieved poorly in Japan and never got a wide release in the market it was designed for.

                  Last edited 30/08/13 1:23 am


                  Your confusing size and shape too. Westerners DO NOT have different shaped hands from the Japanese. That is ridiculous.

                  The hand SIZE thing is interesting though, but once again, I state, the PS3 was not designed around the shape and function of the hand, even if they did consider SIZE one time.

            Research peer reviewed papers on a forum? Nope. I don't care about it that much.

            Ergonomics and the research surrounding it are pretty well established things by now. If you don't believe that can come up with objective results, then that's cool.

            If you want a quick and dirty rundown of why it is awful:

            unnatural positioning of thumbs
            unnatural positioning of wrists
            controller requires 3 different grips in order to effectively reach all inputs.
            It is made of soot and poo and probably kicked a baby

              Well when I use an Xbox Controller my hands get cramped, because the stciks are nto where MY thumbs rest. It's simply a matter of preference.

      Goes to prove people can get used to, and even prefer, a bad system.

      I read somewhere that the original typewriters had their keys arranged in alphabetical order instead of qwerty, but due to the mechanics of the levers, the machines couldn't handle commonly used letters put together being hit in rapid succession, so the qwerty model had keys spaced out in weird unnatural places to prevent jams.

      Having used it for so many decades now, I don't think I could switch to anything else.

        That's not entirely right.

        The QWERTY layout was made so that common key combinations weren't together. That doesn't mean that they're inefficient. Try typing FRFRFRFRFRFRFR over and over compared to FJFJFJFJFJ. One is decidedly easier to pull off.

        The idea behind the apparently superiod Dvorak layout is that you're better off alternating hands with each keystroke, which is basically just an extension of the logic that gave us the QWERTY layout.

        Unfortunately, the research in this area tends to be pretty lacking. I don't even remember why I looked it up a while back.

      I, too have bitched long and hard about the Dual Shock being a lumpy shitpile that is not made for human hands. Nobody listens.

      any chance you have a link to a previously written one? this intrigues me, as apart from its size (though i have smallish hands) i would have thought the symmetry of the DS3 would have helped it, not hindered.

        As a right handed person the force and agility I apply with each thumb is different, having the xbox layout balances out better, for me at least. The PS controller is symmetrical but my hands are not and I find that uncomfortable.

    360 all the way. I have both and the PS3 controller just doesn't feel right in my hands. Both good devices but i feel the 360 controller is more of a gaming conroller.

    Last edited 28/08/13 11:24 am

    360 controller for 3D games. Dualshock 3 for 2D games.

    360 hands down (pun intended). For ergnomics it's just far superior to hold for extended periods. I agree the dualshock has some advantages, but it can be very uncomfortable after long uses

      I really think it depends on the individual. I had some minor surgery late last year, after which I spent the next 2 weeks pretty much confined to the couch. For that 2 weeks my routine was watch a movie in the morning then spend the rest of the day gaming (lucky for me Far Cry 3 came out a couple of days before my surgery!). I was using the PS3 controller for extended sessions - probably 6-8 hours a day every day for the better part of 2 weeks - and never once found it uncomfortable.

      Edit: That's not to say that I think the 360 controller would have been uncomfortable either, though - I've never used one for that kind of extended session.

      Last edited 28/08/13 11:46 am

    Xbox 360 WIRED controller.
    Both Ps3 and 360 controllers work damn well, i'm fine with the sticks and buttons on both. Just the 360 wired controller is more comfortable for me. (And 360 has better triggers)

    360 Wired > Ps3 > 360 Wireless

    Im surprised that the poll is so close atm (60/40). Everywhere I read it always seems to be unanimous that 360 is better.

    I only have a wireless 360 controller and hate it with a passion. the wired one is far superior.

      That seems weird, can I ask why?
      Unless it's so you can play it on the PC, which I'd say is a completely different function and nothing to do with the controller itself.

      If you can tell the difference in lag between the two i'd suggest you quit gaming and take up some sport where your crazy reaction times can make you millions. Maybe Pod-Racing.

      Last edited 28/08/13 11:41 am

        Some people dislike the heft of the battery pack or find it gets in the way. Other people just dislike having to charge their controllers or buy new batteries all the time.

    360 controller is just about perfect in my mind.
    I know it’s not, but I think my hands feel better holding it than they do holding nothing.

    I’ve whinged before on this site enough about my feelings re the Playstation controller so I won’t do it again.

    I think it says it all that I’ve owned every Nintendo, Microsoft and Sega console since the N64 but have never owned a Playstation at all. That’s a SHITLOAD of great exclusives that I’ve missed out on because of that damn controller!

    Last edited 28/08/13 11:38 am

    Don't know if this poll will really work - will end up being PS3 players choose Dualshock, 360 players will pick the 360 controller

    PS3 wins because the Xbox 360 dpad is fucking ridiculous.

      If you're referring to the quality of the d-pad, I have to ask: when was the last time you used a 360 controller?

        A couple of years ago. Why does it matter? I actually have suffered through that dpad, if that's what you're getting at.

          I guess I was just curious since it's been updated since then.

            If they fixed it at some later stage, then people would still have to expend money to get a controller with a dpad that works.

            That one doesn't come standard though

    360 with the exception of the d-pad, the Dual Shock is my go to for fighting games but that's about it.

    The 360 controller is generally the style and layout I prefer, however, since I play a bunch of games that require the D-Pad and I find the protruding battery pack makes it uncomfortable to hold, the PS3 controller wins out. I actually have a 3rd party PS3 controller (Afterglow) that uses the 360 style layout and the only things stopping me from using that are that it's smaller than a 360 controller so the buttons are too close to the right stick and it's not wireless.

    I definitely prefer the 360 controller. I find it more comfortable to hold for longer sessions.

    Also, sometimes people argue that I only prefer the 360 controller because I use it more, but that wasn't always the case. I used to primarily use the PS2 controller but the transition to Xbox was instant. When I tried to go back to the Dualshock 2/3, it was really difficult.

    I've never understood the love for the XBOX controller.
    It just feels clunky and big and i hate the perpindicular triggers at the back.

    PS3 hands down.

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