PlayStation's DualSense Reveal Has Reignited the Joystick Wars

PlayStation's DualSense Reveal Has Reignited the Joystick Wars

Where should the left analog stick go?

Everyone has their preference when it comes to controllers. Some fighting game players like a fight stick, others stick to pad. PC players swear by the mouse and keyboard. And for the console players, one sticking point has resurfaced: where the left joystick sits.

Sony revealed the DualSense this week as the controller for the PlayStation 5. Packing haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and a built-in mic array, the PS5 controller has some interesting hardware packed inside, even if some would rather alter its aesthetic.

Some people, however, focused on another fact: the left joystick on Sony's controller is, once again, parallel to the right stick. This is fairly standard for the DualShock design, but Xbox and others, like the Switch Pro controller, take a different approach, offsetting the left joystick to be parallel with the face buttons instead.

Everyone has their preference, and this week, many have made them known on social media.

While we can look at what the DualSense tells us about the PS5, we can also examine what our preference of joystick placement says about us. For fighting games especially, I prefer the D-pad to be higher up than the joystick. But when I'm playing something like Call of Duty, I can't lie: the Xbox-style joystick placement seems ideal.

It seems Sony intends to continue waging war on the elevated joysticks of the gaming world alongside hardware like the Stadia controller, while Xbox and Nintendo fight to keep that thumb parallel to the face buttons. Still, anything is better than the N64's single, centralized analog stick.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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