The Sony Playstation has been at the head of gaming since I can remember. There’s just something about it that we’ve all come to expect and love it for. You know it in your mind as a box-shaped piece of hardware that you could always play your favorite titles on. The operating system has changed but keeps its roots.

Another gratifying feeling is the instant comfort. The sense of control you have once you hold a dual shock controller. It feels like home, where you put your head down to rest at night. It feels great.

It seems like PlayStation has achieved its ultimate goal in terms of controllers. DualShock has improved over the years for every console launch. It holds it’s timeless shape, meanwhile being consistently improved on with button and analog stick sensitivity, rumble motors, and a touch pad used as a keyboard.


The orignal Playstation controller, with no analog sticks
The original Playstation controller, with no analog sticks. Image Courtesy:

Initially, Sony Playstation Controllers didn’t come with Analog sticks. During the early years, movement options only consisted of 4 directional buttons. DualShock (1997) came along joining a line of gamepads with vibration feedback, eventually being offered with the release of improved PlayStation. All digital and analog controllers previously offered were phased out. DualShock was made compatible with a few headliners for the PSX. Final Fantasy VIII and IX, Grand Turismo I & II, Metal Gear Solid to name a few.

First DualShock controller. Image Courtesy:
First DualShock controller. Image Courtesy:

DualShock 2, 3 and Sixaxis

Dualshock 2, in all it's glory
Dualshock 2, in all it’s glory

What’s funny about the DualShock 2 is it appears exactly the same as the original controller. Literally, fewer screws, with a Dualshock 2 logo added on top. Inside, however, included pressure sensitive buttons, and a lighter weight all around.

Then came Sixaxis. Released with the Playstation 3, the Sixaxis didn’t feature rumble support, due to a large patent infringement lawsuit Sony had to settle on.  Otherwise, it was basically the same as previous controllers, only now it was wireless, as that was the new trend in technology at the time. Post-lawsuit, the DualShock 3 seamlessly replaces the Sixaxis with wireless Bluetooth, motion sensing capability, and vibration features at the same time with no problems. Many gamers missed this underappreciated breakthrough. The DS3 was practically the ultimate controller. That was in 2008!

DualShock 3
DualShock 3


DualShock 4

Fast forward, to 2013, the release of the Playstation 4 and DS4. Somehow they upped the ante even more, squeezing in some very impactful features on a very homey controller. In Dualshock 4 there’s now a headphone/mic jack at the front for communications/streaming. There’s a micro-USB port to charge, and a LED light bar on the back. This LED is used to help identify and use the controller in a PSVR environment (just like PS Move controllers) with the PS Camera. They’ve also added a two-point touchpad that works well to browse menus or use the keyboard function.

evolution of the DualShock Controller - DualShock 4
The revolutionary DualShock 4

It isn’t without its drawbacks, however. Start and Select buttons were replaced with ‘PSHOME’ and ‘Share’. (Am I the only one who finds this inconvenient?). All pressure sensitivity in buttons were removed except L2/R2 since statistics show pressure sensitivity was not being used enough to warrant installing them across all platforms.

Alternate World

DualShock is a worldwide renown controller. It’s got a feeling that everyone becomes familiar with, or has at some point. Meanwhile, PC Gaming has never been bigger.  It’s a fact that Xbox controllers plug directly into your PC and work flawlessly with all your Steam games. This kind of gives them the entire market for PC controllers.  Can you imagine the world where Playstation had taken the lead in PC controllers?

Where can Playstation take their next DualShock series? What improvements do YOU think they can make?