DualShock 3: First Impressions

Hands-on: Rumbling pads grace the CVG office

Such a fuss hasn't been made out of a rumbling controller since Nintendo pioneered the whole idea with the N64 Rumble Pak back in 1997, but the shaking SixAxis, or DualShock 3 as it will be known, flew in straight from TGS.

Sony strolled into the CVG office this week with one of the new pads for us to put under a magnifying glass for an in-depth look. We even got to play with it.

Much has been made of the DualShock 3 featuring some form of ultra-advanced rumbling technology superior to that of existing pads: location-specific rumbling, 'touch-sense' analogue sticks and all sorts.


We're surprised someone hasn't claimed the pad gets hot and cold, or emits smells from games. If it does, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction did a bad job of showing it.

No, boys and girls, there's no alien-like rumble tech here; it just shakes, most likely using a small metal weight attached to the spinning pin of a little electrical motor, just like all other rumbling controllers (Sony wouldn't let us break out the screwdrivers to confirm that, however).

The newly-added motor inside must be quite small though because the pad really isn't as heavy as we expected. It's only slightly heavier than the original SixAxis; not as weighty as the 360 wireless controller, but just enough to abolish that cheap hollow-feeling of the SixAxis 'pauper's edition' (as we'll now think of the old pad).

As you'll know the DualShock 3 is shaped identically to the original pad, although press shots reveal one visual difference: the word 'DualShock 3' written in blue on the top of the pad's central bridge, opposite the word 'SixAxis'.

After a quick inspection we noticed the sample unit handed to us lacked the 'DualShock 3' branding. We mention this because pre-production versions (and press shots) of the original SixAxis featured a red light that illuminated the PS button, whereas retail versions don't.

There is one other subtle, unmentioned change on the new pad, too: the analogue sticks have been made slightly more resistant (emphasis on the word 'slightly'). It's barely noticeable but they definitely feel a little tighter. It's not 360-controller-perfect, but it's good to see Sony making small tweaks wherever it can, even if the pad has hardly changed shape since the first DualShock pad was released ages ago for PSone.

So there you have it; no mysteries - it's a SixAxis that shakes, but it just goes to show that you don't realise how much of a difference something makes until you lose it, and we're pleased Sony has its rumble back.


It really will make all the difference in games like Motorstorm and Heavenly Sword when they're updated with rumble support.

It's just a shame we'll have to wait until spring next year to get our hands on them. What is Sony doing, waiting for Father Christmas to deliver them?

In the meantime, if you want to know which games will be released (or updated) to support the shaking pad, check out the long list here.