Wireless controllers for the PS3 - problems and possible solutions


DISCLAIMER - Some of my information about the PS3 controllers may be wrong, mainly because I do not own a PS3.

From my understanding, the only way you can sync a controller to a PS3 is by connecting it through a USB cable and pressing the home button. From that point on, the controller is connected wirelessly even if the USB cable is still connected to the PS3 (not positive about this one, but once you disconnect the USB cable it’s wireless anyways). You can turn off the controller in the PS3 menu, but I believe it can be turned on by pressing or holding the home button.

This becomes a problem because of players that are still synced with the system can activate the home menu with their controller. I’ve seen instances with players that hit the home button on accident and don’t know it, and another instance when a player was trying to sync his controller with a PS3 system, but activated the home screen on another PS3.

Wireless PS3 controllers present a huge problem for tournaments. Accidental pausing by one of the two players playing is one thing, but when a 3rd party causes a home screen pause by accident, what can the tournament runners do? It’s unfortunate, especially when neither the 2 players are at fault, and both are punished somewhat for what happened.

This won’t be as big of an issue for SSF4 as most players play on either wired controllers or joysticks, but with a game like Tekken (where half the community are pad players) it becomes a problem that WILL arise in tournaments. I know EVO knows of the problem, and I hope they have ideas to get rid of this problem.

Some possible solutions

  1. Evo only controllers - I believe Mr. Wizard mentioned this while announcing the Evo lineup. I do know that pad players are definitely picky about the pad, so this is a turnoff for some.
  2. Desync system - Having a PS3 on the side strictly for syncing your controller to this system. This is a good idea on paper, but it’s somewhat hard to enforce.
  3. Banning all wireless controllers - While this is the BEST option, not everyone has access to converters. I do also know that some converters (mainly the Pelican brand) are starting to die after some use, dropping inputs very often.

Please discuss. Lets find the best option for everyone.

PS - I do suggest banning the Tekken 6 wireless joystick. I’ve seen two players, on two different machines, get the joystick outputting to the wrong system. Even though it doesn’t have the same problems as the wireless PS3 controllers, that issue alone should be enough to ban it.


I think there should be an extra PS3 not in use for players to sync their controllers to after their match. That way, if they press the home button on accident, all it does is mess with the system that’s not doing anything anyway.


I built my wireless arcade stick with an OFF button. If the switch is in the OFF position, then the BATTERY inside of the controller is disconnected, thus disabling ALL wireless functions… the stick will only work if its plugged in.

I recommend people get a screw driver, open up their controllers, and take the battery OUT of the controller. This will disable all wireless functions.


good luck getting 1000+ players to do that. easier said than done, im afraid.

having a spare ps3 to desync the controller from a used ps3 is a decent idea. the concept is good, but its not gonna solve the problem. people will forget to do that part just like they forget to turn their controller off when done. the only options are for the players to use the controllers provided by the evo staff, or ban controllers( which is a bad idea overall)


evo can provide their own wired controllers but for now they have to say what controllers will be provided asap so people can prepare. the controller will have to be easily available and accessible to everyone.


The desync station is the only idea I see as being remotely possible. As a Tekken pad player, I have trouble playing on anything other than my own pad or a pad that I’ve used for at least a week (I used to buy a brand new pad about a week before a major tournament). As a SC4/SF4 stick player, the same can be said about sticks. Even if you’re using a MadCatz TE, the wear and tear is different and it can and will throw people off.

My suggestion is to have the bracket judges enforce the desync station.


Yeah, this is what I’m leaning towards. We SRK types tend not to take pad players seriously, but in Tekken quite a few top players fall into that category. No way would they like being forced to use Evo pads.


Wouldn’t the easiest solution to the problem be to turn off the controllers immediately after the match is finished? Have each station provide a USB cable for PS3 controllers to connect, then as soon as the match is over turn off the controller. Worked out for us at our tournament.


From my understanding, you can still turn on your controller by pressing or holding the PS button, and it wil connect to the system it was last synced too. Doesn’t get rid of the problem fully.


True, but turning the controller on accidentally does a few things:

  1. Assuming everyone turns their controller off, it is fairly easy to deduce the culprit.
  2. When you turn it on, it doesn’t access the home feature right away, it just syncs directly to whichever PS3 it is closest to.

  1. The problem is that it’s happening. Unfortunately, knowing who did it doesn’t fix the problem that it happened and messed with someone’s match.
  2. If someone is able to accidentally hold the PS button long enough to activate their pad, it’s not out of the question to assume it will be pressed again once it’s active.

The 360 has the same issues, but you can just remove the battery from the 360 controller and use a play and charge kit to connect it to the console. PS3 batteries are internal, so the only way to 100% prevent this is to have a mandatory desync station, or use the same two controllers for all matches.


Then I propose the following solutions.

  1. Set the spectators far away from the actual station.
  2. Arrange a “Controller Depot” station where trusted staff attendants can monitor all equipment for the players.
  3. Provide an assortment of PS1, PS2, and PS3 controllers at each station.

Outside of the last two suggestions, number one seems (IMO) the most viable, although to properly run a tournament such as that there needs to be some form of projection screen so spectators and contestants alike are far enough where there won’t be any accidental distractions or disruptions. This also helps lessen coaching and other player grievances as a side effect.

Despite all the necessary precautions one might plan for, accidental button presses can eventually occur. To minimize it, organizers will have to make all players aware of their own equipment at all time and encourage responsibility and pro-active decision making. If the group participates and at least one person helps enforce controller awareness, the risks can be brought down to an increased minimum rather than having organizers in charge of all occurences, turning the venue into a pseudo Nazi state.

Empowering the players can be a great asset to organizers.


So are wireless PS3 controllers allowed at Evo or not?


It’s under my impression that all ps3 pad’s are wireless. And seeing as how they were allowed last year (you just had to leave the usb cord plugged in during your match), and how evo wants to continue supporting new players, they’ll probably be allowed again this year. The remedy they used last year is probably gonna be the same they use this year: just have the judge make the pad players turn off their controllers after their match.

I would also make it mandatory for every pad user to bring their own usb cord or risk getting dq’ed (Not sure if this was mandatory last year). That way you can also make the players wrap the usb cord around the center of the ps3 controller when they’re not playing, thereby greatly reducing the chance of “accidental” button presses to the home screen. I did this at every tourney when I used to play on pad and never had any problems.

Players who forget to turn off their controllers after their matches should also get a DQ, or if you want to be nice about it, a one-time warning and then a DQ. We all know how hype people get after matches and turning off your pad may be the last thing on your mind after eating random uppercut FADC ultra, but for the sake of other people’s tourney matches (and your tourney too if a similar rule gets adopted), turn off your goddam controller.


It sounds pretty feasible, actually. There are only five screws between you and the sixaxis/ds3’s battery. People on youtube are doing it in a little over a minute and they’re more focused on talking people through the process than actually doing it quickly…

Get maybe 7 or 8 people who aren’t clumsy with a screwdriver to run stations, and let players know at pre-reg that if they are using a wireless ps3 controller, they will need to take their wireless controllers to a station to have the battery temporarily removed (or they could save time and do it themselves at home before leaving for evo).


Way too much of a hassle to be a realistic solution. You’re going to have all the players void their warranties and waste that much time between each match?

Also, while it’s nice to say “People should just turn them off” and “I wired mine to disable the battery, everyone should do the same” that doesn’t solve the problem of people who, after losing the tournament, intentionally try to sabotage the tournament by turning on their controllers mid match.

So far there doesn’t seem to be a great solution, the desyncing station suffers from the same issue which is players could not go to the station on purpose, and most people will be too lazy to truly appreciate why they need to do it.


^How about lifetime bans from evo if you get caught trying to intentionally alter a match by turning on your ps3 controller after you get done playing.

It’s just like trying to stop crime imo. You can’t get EVERYONE in the world to stop, but if you make severe enough punishments, you should be able to stop most sensible people from doing said crime. The people who commit the acts will eat their crow in return.

I think the only way to make it so this problem doesnt happen is to just ban the controllers entirely and make everyone use a wired stick (lol i guess you could just make everyone play on a ps2 pad and buy a converter too). Not a good move imo.


I think you’re getting the wrong idea here.

I’ve seen the home button incident happen quite a few times since the release of the PS3, and none of them were on purpose. Pointing out someone and blaming them for the cause doesn’t do anything for the tournament, and doesn’t do anything to help stop the problem. The issue isn’t trying to find the culprit and deciding what the punishment is, it’s trying to find a way to not have it be an issue at all.

Your first suggestion isn’t really viable in a tournament as big as EVO. When you have to control a 200+ man tournament, and maybe 20 tvs to use, the last thing you want is the players far away from the stations. Having the tournament organizers trying to find a player is a huge time waste.


This all sounds like it’s being given more thought than it needs. Dual Shock 3/SIXAXIS controllers all have a tiny, recessed button in a hole behind them, next to the L2 button. If you have something thin enough to reach it, such as a pin or a pencil, all you have to do is press that button to desync the controller.


I’d love to hear your suggestions, sir.