Before E3 of this year, I was really looking forward to calling this the Year of the Boomerang, but Sony made the wise choice to abandon the design and pick back up the well known and loved DualShock configuration. The SIXAXIS, the motion sensing capabilities are getting good reviews and only time will see whether or not this will appease gamers or if Sony will have to add rumbling back in.
As with all of the “next-gen” consoles, the SIXAXIS connects to your PS3 wirelessly with Bluetooth, but also features a USB mini-B port for charging and hardwiring to the PS3. This has potential to allow users to connect their SIXAXIS controller to a PC or Mac, but as of yet the drivers don’t exist.
Unlike the Wii and 360 controllers, the SIXAXIS runs off of a lithium-ion battery, similar to an iPod or Laptop computer. This means no buying new batteries every so often and according to official statements by Sony and developers, the batteries in the SIXAXIS should last 1 or 2 years. Even when, and if according to Sony, your battery dies, Sony has said they will offer an exchange service and has included battery replacement instructions in the manual for the PS3.
The buttons on the SIXAXIS are almost identical to that of the DualShock, with the change of the R2 and L2 buttons to be more recessed (and thus more like triggers) and the addition of a small connect/power between the start and select buttons that syncs your controller with your console, brings up the home menu and can be used to turn the console on and off.
On top there’s a row of four LED lights that will tell you what player this controller is connected to, notably adding 4 person multi-player to a line of systems that had 2 player compatibility, for most games. Getting together a group of people to play games on a single console is quickly being overtaken by online gaming, especially with the new “always-on” update services offered by Sony and Nintendo. Still, it’s hard to beat the fun of getting a group of friends together to play in the same room and with 4 player capabilities, buying an extra SIXAXIS or two wouldn’t hurt. At the end of the day, $49.99 for a wireless, motion-sensing first-party controller is quite a bargain.
If you really need rumble, however, the new Dual Shock Sixaxis will be released sometime in 2008.
Memory Card Adapter
This is probably the most essential accessory, even more so than extra controllers, if you owned a PS or PS2. The Memory Card Adapter allows data from old memory cards to be transferred onto the PS3’s hard disk. You simply connect the adapter into the USB port of the PS3 and then put your old memory card into the memory port on the other end and then you’re ready to transfer your old save games. At 15 dollars it’s a minor inconvenience in relation to how much you’re paying for the console or the games and definitely makes the difference in keeping your older games alive.
PS3 Blu-ray (BD) Remote
Just like with the PS2, the PS3 features a remote that can be used with the Blu-Ray disc feature of the PS3 for watching movies and the like. Though not entirely necessary, as you can control the playback options of the disk with the controller, it’s all a matter of convenience. Especially if you’ve convinced your family that Bu-Ray is the future and they want to watch a movie without trying to figure out the control scheme of a SIXAXIS.
At half-the price of a SIXAXIS, it makes a lot sense to just get a second controller, but some people prefer the familiar convenience of a remote, and who am I to argue.
The PS3 offers true HD output through an HDMI cable. While Sony sells an official PS3 HDMI cable, you will save a lot of money by going 3rd party on this part. The savings will allow you to splurge on a high-end HDMI cable, such as those produced by Monster. The PS3 does come with AV multi-out cables, just like it’s predecessors. If you have an HDTV, you really must get an HDMI cable, the quality is leaps and bounds over component cables.
Logitech Cordless Mediaboard
If you plan to surf the web with your PS3, this is a must have accessory. This cordless keyboard features a built in track pad for easy navigation. You'll never go back to inputting text with a controller again once you have a PS3 wireless keyboard. Read my review of the Logitech Cordless Mediaboard
PS3 Travel Case/Bag
Even if you are simply moving it around the house, a case for your PS3 is essential if it doesn't have a permanent home in a media cabinet. The PS3, like all next-gen consoles, is a bit more fragile than previous videogame machines. The PS3 is not a durable as the toy-like PS2, so protect your investment with a travel case if you plan to move it at all. This will also prevent dust build-up in your PS3 during storage.
PS3 Controller Charge Base
If you are looking for that special something for the PS3 owner who has everything, this is it. This stand will organize and charge all of your Sixaxis controllers at the same time. There is nothing worse than a dead Sixaxis.