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Vita Almost Didn't Have Analog Sticks

One of the most appealing features of the PlayStation Vita - in many a gamer's opinion - is the dual analog stick option.

It's nice to have the fancy touch screen but for long-time PlayStation fans, the sticks are a huge bonus. However, during early stages of development and brainstorming for the new portable, Sony actually considered ditching the dual analogs...can you believe it?

During a PlayStation Blog interview with hardware designer Tokashi Sogabe, we learn that the team thought about alternative plans for control inputs, which included "flat side pads" rather than the standard sticks. Said Sogabe:

"We also built a prototype with flat slide pads, a bit like what you have on your laptop, but it just didn't feel responsive enough for gaming and we learned that you need that physical response of tilting the stick to feel like you have total control. For me as a designer [analogue sticks] have presented a huge challenge, partly because it's much easier to design products with entirely flat surfaces."

He added that the question of the analog sticks was a hotly debated topic. Sogabe wasn't the biggest fan of the idea, but Sony HQ remained firm that "they were in the best position for comfortable gameplay." Another idea that fell by the wayside was a bigger screen (5.5 inches) with buttons incorporated into the display...hmm, wonder how that would've worked out.

So what do you think of the Vita's design?

Tags: vita, playstation vita, sony, vita analog sticks

1/19/2012 12:04:52 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Highlander
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:31:45 PM
Reply

I like it. I thought the original PSP design was a good one, adding the second stick and all the other features is win-win for me.

Agree with this comment 9 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AcHiLLiA
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:45:52 PM

the first model was good, it felt better in my hands.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 1:52:42 PM

I still have one of those. You're right about it, it feels solid.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Cpt_Geez
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:33:01 PM
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I'm glad they didn't ditch the dual analog sticks that would have been a mistake.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

AcHiLLiA
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:43:19 PM
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I'm still on the top of the fence for the Vita. I really don't know how I feel about portable game systems, when it comes to me these days. I really want one but half of my brain is saying no.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 1/19/2012 12:44:34 PM

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BikerSaint
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:47:12 PM
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My PSP's always feels like I've only been given 1 chopstick to stab at my shrimp & broccoli platter....
"Waiter, fork please"

So I'm glad that when I'm finally able to re-purchase a Vita again, I can finally order everything from it's Dim Sum menu....mmmm, tasty!

Last edited by BikerSaint on 1/19/2012 12:48:02 PM

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 12:48:51 PM
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Having the buttons built into the display could have been interesting. The idea of slide pads could have worked, but the tactile feel of analogue sticks is just more natural, I think, for gamers. Glad they stuck with the idea.

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SmokeyPSD
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 1:25:22 PM
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They got the analogue right at least.

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CrusaderForever
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 2:01:52 PM
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Obviously closely emulating the PS3 controller was a must. However, I am worried that the back touch screen is to big. I have big hands so I may run into trouble with how big the touch screen is. Other than that I love the design and may pick one up this year. I am in a wait and see mode.

The eventual add-ons will follow. For instance a snap-on cover for the backup touch screen. The PS3 controller grips snap-on. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

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556pineapple
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 2:04:32 PM
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Glad they kept the analogue sticks, and really glad they went with the actual buttons as opposed to on-screen controls. That's my biggest complaint about gaming on the iphone, is the lack of precision.

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sha4dowknight05
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 2:39:08 PM
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glad they decided to put 2 analogs on it.

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Beamboom
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 2:42:17 PM
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Vita looks good, no doubt about that. I've always loved the "psp design", to call it that.

But the idea with bigger screen and buttons incorporated into the display? That sounded *real* cool. Would have made it stand more out from the crowd too.

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PAKINIPS
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 2:58:01 PM
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Didn't buy the PSP due to lack of one analogue stick. Felt wrong and made games hard to play

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Lairfan
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 3:57:08 PM
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I don't think the Vita would be as anticipated as it is now if they hadn't put in the analogue sticks. That was the biggest complaint I ever heard about the PSP (other than the lack of games for a while there). If they hadn't put these analogue sticks in, nowhere near as many people would be interested in it as there are now.

Yeah, the other positives would have been tough to ignore, but consumers can be very picky.

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akmdpc
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 4:09:06 PM
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I really wish they would have made an L3 and R3 with the analog sticks so streaming ps3 games would work more accurately. Easy to see now why they left them out since the sticks were a question to begin with. I guess the consensus is that the back panel will replace it but we'll see how that works.

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gumbi
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 4:12:39 PM
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Yikes, dual analog is a HUGE selling feature. Requisite in my opinion. This isn't a touch phone, or tablet. It's a device focused on gaming, and for real gaming you need real controls. There's just nothing better than the tried and tested dual analog.

I can understand the aesthetic debate though. I bet they were hard to streamline with the design. Bottom line is, the dual analogs aren't meant to be pretty, they serve a greater purpose.

I haven't actually held one in my hand yet, so I can't vouch for the positioning and comfort of the layout. But I'll wager it'll be nicer than PSP. I have big hands, so I'm not even listening to the complaints that it's too big. I'm glad they beefed it up.

Can't wait for my Vita to show up at the office. I doubt I'll be getting much work done for the rest of that day ;)

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DemonNeno
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 4:32:02 PM
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I love how it looks, but I haven't actually picked one up. It looks like the analogs are in a good spot. Additionally, they don't seem as "flat" as the older PSP. I'm not sure if they ever changed the sticks between model changes for the PSP.

Overall, I think this thing looks slick. I won't be purchasing one, since I don't do public transportation/have a need for a portable gaming. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one just to see what it's like, though!

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DjStiv3
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 7:21:57 PM
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well i guess we should say thanks sony.. i never thought much on a second analog nub as the psp always felt right.. considering the vita has a bigger screen and better specs its only right they include EVEN more with it

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JDC80
Thursday, January 19, 2012 @ 8:29:16 PM
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I know this is off topic and I'm not sure people already know but there's a trailer for Resident Evil 6 and it's coming out this year 11-20-2012
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/01/19/resident-evil-6-revealed/

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Temjin001
Friday, January 20, 2012 @ 1:41:37 AM
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Phew that probably would've been a deal breaker for me. Analog sticks are IMO its biggest competitive draw. Action games are in a whole different league with sticks.

Anyway, I've pretty much accepted that sooner or later I'll get a vita. It's just a matter of when. There's no denying it has great looking games, even if I think it's supposed jewel crown offering is uncharted, which, honestly, I think looks sort of underwhelming at this point. Clearly not ND's work.

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___________
Friday, January 20, 2012 @ 2:53:05 AM
Reply

well, at least they made one good decision on it!

Last edited by ___________ on 1/20/2012 2:53:24 AM

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Yemster
Sunday, January 22, 2012 @ 1:10:04 PM
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I have actually tried a playstation vita in eurogamer expo last year in september and it is the most comfortable portable gaming device I have ever come across no joke.

I was so surprised how different it was to a psp. Sony have come a long way to make the vita.

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SS4
Sunday, January 22, 2012 @ 7:05:42 PM
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Maybe they remeber the big mistake they made when removing rumble on the PS3 with the Sixaxis (screwed the spelling im sure lol). They had to come out with the Dual Shock 3.
At least this time someone was smart enough to stop them before they made a huge mistake again.

I bet the guy who proposed to remove the stick was the same that made the rumble unavailable on PS3 at first.

When are they gonna fire that guy, hes obviously trying to sabotage the company by fooling them into removing great features from their system... Wonder if hes paid by Nintendo or Microsoft lol

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Fane1024
Monday, January 23, 2012 @ 2:30:18 AM

It wasn't a mistake, though Sony pretended it was their choice at the time; it was a necessity. Had Sony included rumble in PS3 controllers, all PS3 sales would have been added to the list of infringements in the lawsuit by Immersion.

p.s. You spelled "Sixaxis" correctly, but not "remember". ;P

Last edited by Fane1024 on 1/23/2012 2:33:06 AM

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ulsterscot
Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 10:01:13 AM
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B/C for sure.

More user friendly features like the ability change the controller settings from the XMB for those games that have a shitty control layout with limited options.

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