PS3 launch: All about Sixaxis

Wednesday 13 March 2007
In case you hadn't heard, Sixaxis is Sony's brand new joypad. There's no more DualShock (because it doesn't shake anymore), so out goes vibration and in comes tilt-sensing in six dimensions plus wireless Bluetooth connectivity. So how does PS3's new wavy about controller compare with our old rumbling PS2 pal?

Well, the two are amazingly similar. They are exactly the same size and shape. The only differences are a thicker centre section and trimmed away plastic around the L2 and R2 buttons. This leaves a large section of the lower shoulder buttons exposed, giving them a long, spring-loaded throw allowing them to act like the triggers on an Xbox 360 pad. Already, the driving games we've played (MotorStorm, Gran Turismo HD and Ridge Racer 7) have adopted R2 as accelerator and L2 as brake. Expect this to become the norm.

The rest of the buttons are unchanged. Same feel, same size. The sticks are slightly different however. The mushroom-like top surface of the stick is fractionally smaller, likewise the central core. This means that the sticks have a slightly greater throw on them, which gives you a greater degree of control. In play, however, we couldn't notice any difference. Still, it makes sense on paper.

The Start and Select buttons look and feel the same and the pointless Analogue button of the DualShock 2 has given way to the new 'PS' button. Pressing this will give mid-game access to network features (and your PS3's settings menu) but, at present, you get just a battery indicator, quit game and 'turn off' options.