Console manufacturers should stop ignoring the D-Pad

Arklite

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,552
Three consoles and two of them come packed in with awful or inadequate D-Pads. Nintendo, of all manufacturers, is doing the worst job right now. With the abundance of indie games, rise of retro collections, and the ever-present fighting genre, it’s been annoyingly apparent that the D-pad isn’t getting the development attention it needs.

Among things like build quality and features, a pad’s value can in part be measured by utility. I don’t expect a controller to handle everything perfectly, but what should be expected is for a controller to be able to handle the common/traditional console games well. Aside from the Dualshock 4, the current offerings are a disappointment for digital directional inputs. The coming generation of consoles offer the perfect opportunity for manufacturers to put greater effort into their D-pads.

For Xbox: Ease up the stiffness. The current D-pad jumps directions due to the overly hard clicks.

For Nintendo: Stop sucking. Their D-pads go from good to awful every generation/iteration.

For Playstation: Don’t screw it up. The current D-pad already isn’t as good as the PS3 or Vita, but it’s still worlds better than the competition.

Others (Stadia/3rd partry): Actually test your D-pads instead of treating it like an afterthought.
 

Jawmuncher

Crisis Dino
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
12,039
Ibis Island
I agree that D-pads should be better overall. However, I do want to say that the switch "d-pad buttons" work great for Tetris.
It's my preferred way to play that title now and i'd say it's better than using the DS4 Dpad for Tetris Effect.
 
Dec 20, 2018
153
Nintendo I agree with but I have like zero issues with the Xbox One Pad outside of durability. That shit accurate as hell I always hated on PS D-Pads that if you press a lil too hard you’d get crouching left or right.

You hella tripping saying the DS3 is better than the DS4. The DS3 dpad is mushy as fuck thanks to it being pressure sensitive along with every button on the controller. Vita is definitely the best dpad Sony has made outside of the PSOne revised controller, so I can agree with that.
 

hikarutilmitt

Member
Dec 16, 2017
2,757
I was super disappointed that the DS4 didn't have the Vita's dpad, but it's still better than the shit Xbone one and the non-dpad that is the Switch buttons.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,674
2d games on switch are bogus. 3d fine... Same for steam controller. If you are playing on pc, a ds4 with the sony bluetooth dongle is nice, versatile controller. And one with a good dpad.

I prefer a good disk type dpad tho.
 

Aeana

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,613
There was a poll recently about whether people use the dpad or analog stick for 2D games. Based on the results, I am not surprised that the "quick weapon swap" buttons aren't considered important to hardware makers anymore. (._. )
 
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Arklite

Arklite

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,552
Nintendo I agree with but I have like zero issues with the Xbox One Pad outside of durability. That shit accurate as hell I always hated on PS D-Pads that if you press a lil too hard you’d get crouching left or right.
Xbox D-pad impressions are really confusing to me, to the point that I wonder if there are different versions of it because the two pads I have are way too stiff for fighters. It's good for shooters where a positive click confirms a grenade switch or something.
 

Dphex

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
6,868
Cologne, Germany
coincidentally, i was playing my Vita the last two hours, yes, i agree. the vita dpad is better than all dpads of the current gen consoles.

and Nintendo completely dropped the ball on dpads on both controllers, the joycon one is still a bad joke to me.
 

Croc Man

Member
Oct 27, 2017
573
There was a poll recently about whether people use the dpad or analog stick for 2D games. Based on the results, I am not surprised that the "quick weapon swap" buttons aren't considered important to hardware makers anymore. (._. )
Damn, I guess that's why you sometimes get a 2d game that defaults to or even forces the sticks.

I was so happy to see the switch lite having a dpad but now I'm kinda worried it will suck. Personally I wish Nintendo stuck with the gameboy micro road and sony the vita's.
 

flashman92

Member
Feb 15, 2018
913
What's wrong with the Xbone's dpad? I think it's the best of the gen so far

Nobody has reached the heights of the genesis or saturn dpad, but the xbox one is actually pretty good.
It is amazing how double motion supers, DP's, half circles, 360's, everything becomes easier on the Saturn d-pad

And the only attempt at emulating it is the shit 360 d-pad =P
 

fontguy

Avenger
Oct 8, 2018
1,345
I have $300 with Nintendo’s name on it, and all they have to do is fix the dpad on the Pro controller. Literally the only thing.

They will never do it.
 
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Arklite

Arklite

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,552
What's wrong with the Xbone's dpad? I think it's the best of the gen so far
Stiff clicks cause it to jump diagonal inputs. From my experience quarter circle motions are unreliable with it.

I have $300 with Nintendo’s name on it, and all they have to do is fix the dpad on the Pro controller. Literally the only thing.

They will never do it.
It's crazy to see Nintendo offer the most expensive pads with the most problems, even outside of the mediocre D-pad.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,177
In my experience with various fighters/puzzle games on Xbox and PC, the XB1 d-pad is easily top tier generally, let alone for just this gen.
 

JustinH

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,991
Stiff clicks cause it to jump diagonal inputs. From my experience quarter circle motions are unreliable with it.
It's my favorite d-pad this gen by far. I like clicky d-pads because I like being able to hear and feel the activation point better like with mechanical keyboards, but I never have issues doing qcf motions in KI for example.
 
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Pikma

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,227
Xbox D-pad impressions are really confusing to me, to the point that I wonder if there are different versions of it because the two pads I have are way too stiff for fighters. It's good for shooters where a positive click confirms a grenade switch or something.
Lol that's because there are different versions, not sure when it happened (could've been with the launch of the XB1 S?), but the controller got a revision with softer/less stiff dpads and shoulder buttons, a headphone jack and other minor improvements I think

I know because I have a couple of each versions. The newer dpads are definitely a significant improvement but there's still room for more imo
 

Rommaz

Member
Nov 27, 2017
1,608
Kitwe, Zambia.
How do some of y'all do qcf motions on the xb1 d-pad and not hurt yourselves? That shit is bad for my thumb.

DS4 is alright but on god I wish it was the Vita D-pad that thing is amazing.

Switch dpad is....well documented at this point.
 

SparkleMotion

Member
Nov 3, 2017
1,401
I've never noticed how the d-pad feels good or bad because I only ever use it to navigate menus. Even in sidescrolling games, I use the analog stick.
 

pswii60

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,609
UK
Eh? The Xbox One D-Pad is my favourite this generation. Based on the V2 gamepad (never used the V1 that came pre-S). And this is pretty crazy given the 360 D-Pad was legit broken.

It's great on the XBO controller because you have totally solid clicky-ish 'digital' feedback on exactly which direction you are pointing which is ideal for twitch platformers. The DS4 D-Pad on the other hand is way too spongey with no feedback at all, so whilst it feels nice initially, it's not great for twitchy platformers where you want precise control.

However, what then lets the XBO controller down is the overly convex and loose/rattley face buttons (A/B/X/Y), in comparison to the flatter and tighter feeling face buttons on DS4. If Microsoft would fix that then the XBO controller would be perfect as far as I'm concerned.
I've never noticed how the d-pad feels good or bad because I only ever use it to navigate menus. Even in sidescrolling games, I use the analog stick.
Don't forget your jacket on the way out.
 

bulletyen

Member
Nov 12, 2017
1,105
Personally I've never had a problem with any system's D-Pad, being that even the bad ones are functional enough for me to adapt to. Only fighters and bullet hells really require the precision of a good D-Pad and I don't play those.
There should always be in game AND system wide options to swap the functions of the dpad and left analog stick. That way, everyone gets what they want.
 

Bede-x

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,343
Xbox D-pad impressions are really confusing to me, to the point that I wonder if there are different versions of it because the two pads I have are way too stiff for fighters. It's good for shooters where a positive click confirms a grenade switch or something.
On my controllers the one that came with the original Xbox One, is stiff and clicky (quite noisy when used). It doesn't feel good, even if it's still an improvement over the Xbox 360. On my newer controllers it feels much better, less stiff less clicky, but still not up to the standards of something like the best Saturn D-pads.

So there's definitely different versions of the controllers. Newer ones also support bluetooth, the top of the controller has a more unibody-like design and the texture below the controller isn't smooth like on the old one. There also the headphone jack, which I think the oldest controllers didn't have. My older one does, but it was bought a couple of years after launch.
 
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Loneck

Member
Feb 26, 2018
70
All three should ask politely Sega to sell them patent for Sega Saturn d-pad for good price and it is fixed. Good testing game is original Tomb Raider. PS4 and Xbox One d-pads are good only for straight directions.
 

Peek-a-boo!

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,494
Woodbridge
I was super disappointed that the DS4 didn't have the Vita's d-pad, but it's still better than the shit Xbox One, and the non-dpad that is the Switch buttons.
Totally agree with these two points in bold.

The d-pad on the PS Vita is absurdly good to the point that you’d think they would just save money on using the ‘spare parts’ and continue the manufacture of those d-pads, so to speak.

Always make me laugh when folks say that the Xbox One controller is ‘perfect’ when it has a d-pad like that (and feeble/loose shoulder buttons too). It’s okay for selecting a weapon, but is awful for beat ‘em ups.
 

Biske

Member
Nov 11, 2017
2,529
Honestly never had any problems with a Dpad until tetris with the switch pro lol

I guess the games I play dont really require accuracy but damn does tetris highlight the shittyness.
 

DPB

Member
Nov 1, 2017
505
There was a poll recently about whether people use the dpad or analog stick for 2D games. Based on the results, I am not surprised that the "quick weapon swap" buttons aren't considered important to hardware makers anymore. (._. )
If modern controllers had better d-pads, the results might have been more in their favour though. I use an Xbox One controller most of the time, if it didn't feel so hard and clicky I wouldn't resort to using the analogue stick.
 
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Nov 4, 2017
1,800
DS4 is definitely the best d-pad on the current platforms IMO. It's weird that d-pad technology seems to have peaked in the 90s. How have things gotten worse over the years?
 

Funky Papa

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,608
Nobody has reached the heights of the genesis or saturn dpad, but the xbox one is actually pretty good.
This kind of surprises me, but mostly because I always thought the Genesis/Megadrive had a trash tier dpad, on top of god awful buttons.

And I really, really liked the console otherwise.

Xbox's is fine, however. Never had an issue with it.
 

Zurick

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,167
I would say the dpad should just be shit canned entirely and replaced by some form of touch mouse dpad hybrid. I'd also remove face buttons and go entirely with paddles as once you get used to them they're more efficient, more comfortable, and make more sense.
 

Zurick

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,167


so, you want a touch dpad and 8 paddles on the back of the controller? sounds not so intuitive...
The dpad only really exists for quick menu selection and fighting games. By turning it into a dpad/touchpad hybrid people into fighters have to get a stick sure but you can smoother navigation in menus and can even use multiple points for different things. Like quicker item "type" selection.

Additionally, face buttons are actually counter intuitive as you have to remove your hand from the right stick to press them or do the crab. Paddles on the other hand, just 4 of them (not 8? dunno where you got this number) places your 4 sitting fingers at the ready. Think of an xbox elite controller with a touch dpad or in the case of the ps4 swap the stick/pad location.
 

Flon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
416
United Kingdom
Yeah. It's quite interesting just how much they vary. The d-pad from Nintendo's handhelds for their DS/3DS years have mostly just been complete mush to me. I think their last d-pad I really liked was the GBA SP and original DS. My 2DS has absolutely no feedback. The consoles are better.

Sony have been pretty good. DS2 and PSP was kinda stiff and rough, DS3 was okay, DS4 is good, the Vita's is absolutely incredible and I also like their USB Classic controller. The Vita d-pad really is a tier on its own.
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
15,528
The dpad only really exists for quick menu selection and fighting games. By turning it into a dpad/touchpad hybrid people into fighters have to get a stick sure but you can smoother navigation in menus and can even use multiple points for different things. Like quicker item "type" selection.

Additionally, face buttons are actually counter intuitive as you have to remove your hand from the right stick to press them or do the crab. Paddles on the other hand, just 4 of them (not 8? dunno where you got this number) places your 4 sitting fingers at the ready. Think of an xbox elite controller with a touch dpad or in the case of the ps4 swap the stick/pad location.
How about no?

Not everybody wants a shooter focused controller.

Driving games and fighting games need the d pad. Same goes to puzzle games like Tetris or Bomber Man.
 

WillJoe

Member
Nov 14, 2018
761
UK
i'm quite happy without them. love the joycons on the nintendo switch.

no games really NEED a dpad. maybe in fighting games if you are competitive but that's about it. any old controller will do just fine in every other game.
 

Bioshocker

Member
Oct 28, 2017
938
Sweden
I don't have any issues with the Xbox One d-pad (the 360's was very bad, though, although the controller as a whole was amazing). The DualShock 4 is what it is, I guess. It's pretty standard for a DualShock and I don't think it poses a big problem no matter if I play Sonic Mania or modern 3D games.