Announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, the DualShock 3 Wireless Controller(SCPH-98050/CECHZC2) is a gamepad for the PlayStation 3 that incorporates the design and features of the Sixaxis wireless controller with the haptic feedback capabilities of the DualShock and DualShock 2. The vibration function on the DualShock 3 does not interfere with the motion sensing function of the controller and both functions can be used at once, leading to speculation that the Immersion v. Sony lawsuit was a reason why the original Sixaxis did not have rumble capabilities. Like the Sixaxis, it is a wireless controller that uses both analog and digital signals simultaneously at all times and has a USB mini-B port for charging, as well as for playing while charging. It can also be used on a PSP Go via Bluetooth, but the controller and the PSP Go must be registered using a PS3.
The DualShock 3 is identifiable by the top labeling which incorporates both "DualShock 3" and "Sixaxis" markings. It is also easily noticeable when lifting the controller, as the DualShock 3, at 192g, weighs 40% more than the Sixaxis’s 137.1g. Additionally, the DualShock 3 is made from opaque plastic rather than the Sixaxis's slightly translucent plastic.
The rear markings indicate the DualShock 3 draws up to 300 mA of current at 3.7 V for a power consumption of 1.11 W, an order of magnitude increase from the 30 mA of current at 3.7 V (0.111 W) listed on the Sixaxis. However, this current is not drawn constantly and is the maximum current when the rumble is active. Its main power source is an internal 3.7 V Li-ion battery, which provides up to 30 hours of continuous gaming on a full charge. Third party replacement batteries are also available. Like the Sixaxis, the DualShock 3 comes with instructions on how to remove and replace the battery. The DualShock 3 can also draw power over a USB cable via a USB mini-B connector on the top of the controller. This allows the controller to be used when the battery is low and is also used for charging the battery. When connected via USB, the controller communicates with the console through the USB cable, rather than Bluetooth.
While the DualShock 3 is compatible with any standard USB mini-B cable and many USB chargers, official charging cables are available from Sony. These include an official cable, the USB 2.0 Cable Pack and a wall charger, the AC adapter charging kit. Any third-party USB charger used must act as a USB host device, rather than simply providing power over the appropriate pins, since both the Sixaxis and DualShock 3 require a host signal to "wake up" and begin charging.
A Sony representative confirmed on April 2, 2008 that the original Sixaxis controller would officially be discontinued with the release of the force-feedback enabled DualShock 3 in mid-April 2008. The Sixaxis is no longer being produced and is no longer in stock in most stores.
The DualShock 3 has been made available in various different colors: black, satin silver, ceramic white, classic white, metallic blue, metallic red, pink, "jungle green" and "candy blue" (light blue). Not all colors have been made available in all markets or at all times. Additional colors have also been made available alongside limited edition consoles, including gun-metal grey and "cloud black" (dark grey). A limited edition baseball themed DualShock 3 controller was released on March 8, 2011 to coincide with the release of MLB 11: The Show.
The DualShock 3 controller was released in:
- Japan on November 11, 2007 in black at a retail price of JP¥5,500.
- North America on April 5, 2008 for a retail price of US$54.99.
- Australia on April 24, 2008 for a retail price of AU$99.95.
- New Zealand on May 9, 2008 for a retail price of NZ$109.95.
- Mainland Europe on July 2, 2008 for a retail price of €59.99.
- the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 4, 2008 for a retail price of £39.99/€59.99.
PlayStation 3 firmware 1.94 or higher is required to use the DualShock 3 in compatible PlayStation 3 format software. Firmware 2.00 or higher is required to use the DualShock 3 in compatible PlayStation and PlayStation 2 format software. The first software content release supporting the DualShock 3 was the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue free demo made available in the Japanese PlayStation Store on October 20, 2007. A partial list of software that includes rumble support including patches (downloadable add-ons from the PlayStation Store to add rumble to software released before September 2007) was announced by SCEI at the TGS 2007. Support was added to MotorStorm with an online version 3.0 patch in October, 2007. In consoles with backwards compatibility, the DualShock 3 controller vibration function can be used in appropriate PS2 and PS1 titles. Future releases of games that support DualShock 3 capability will be labeled with an icon of the controller and "DualShock 3 Compatible".
The DualShock 3 generated sales of over $10.9 million in April 2008, according to Sony Computer Entertainment America. It is also bundled with the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots themed 80 GB PlayStation 3, which was released on June 12, 2008. Hands-on accounts at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show described the controller as being capable of vibration forces comparable to the DualShock 2. According to GameSpot, DualShock 3’s "rumble was a touch weak but stuck close to PlayStation 2's force feedback"; while various others reported more refined vibration effects than the DualShock 2, particularly with the Metal Gear Solid 4 demonstration.