The PS3 controller is maybe its least technically involved element, but it may be Sony's Achilles' heel - if internet bitching counts for anything. The company introduced the Dual Shock analog controller on the original PlayStation in 1998; gamers have had their hands on the same basic pad for eight years now.
The new pad looks to do all the same things as the PS2's Dual Shock 2, but it sports a new look that's been the source of lots of complaints. The thing puts one in mind of a boomerang, basically, and it's got gamers pissed off. Sources at Sony, however, have been quick to point out that it's just a "concept" for a controller, and tweaks are being made that will make it feel great and play well by the final release.
It's just left to mention that the PS3 will acceptseven wireless controllers connected at the same time, or four via its front USB ports, which finally allows a Sony system to offer convenient multiplayer gaming for more than two.
Above: Hopefully that pad won't make controlling the hyperrealistic Vision GT a problem.
Why should I care? Well, you spend almost all of gaming your time with a controller in your hands. Unfortunately, without a final design available - and the fact that the thing's only been shown behind glass - we can't really say whether there's anything to worry about here. It's worth pointing out every system with a contentious controller quickly found itself with a better design - the original Xbox is the most famous example, but Sega's underdog Saturn also received a controller upgrade during its lifespan. Here's hoping they get it straightened out before launch this time.