This is the Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA- F Controller by Hori - a successor to the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller. Announced in November 2012, the controller underwent a short preorder period to determine if it would be manufactured. The controller's release was timed to coincide with the release of Project DIVA F, on March 7, 2013, for 33,900 yen.

The Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA- F Controller was a pre-order only item, although at the time of this writing some unsold stock freed up by cancellations are still available. You may find more information on its current availability at the following:

The design of the controller is nearly identical to that of the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller - to the point that most of what was said about the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller still applies here. Externally, the only non-cosmetic difference is the addition of a touchpad, a required element for Project DIVA F.

An additional switch added here controls whether the touchpad controls the left or right analog stick.

As with the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller, there is a removable marquee stand included. This time, only one insert is provided.

View of the controller's box.

This message is revealed as you begin to open the box.

Inside the box is the controller, manual, cleaning cloth. There is also the marquee stand and four blank button caps (not shown).

The controller number, handwritten on the box. Unlike the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller, there is no paper certificate packaged with the manual also bearing this number.

A closer look at the manual and cleaning cloth.

Underside of the controller. As before, there is a sticker on one of the screw points; removal of this sticker voids the controller's warranty. Once again, the screws that attach to the rubber feet serve no other purpose and should not be removed.

Closer look at the stickers, with the warranty sticker relocated.

The inside of the controller with the bottom plate removed. Unlike the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller, what appear to be additional ground wires have been added and were likely connected directly to the same screw points that held the bottom plate in place. Unfortunately, this makes reassembly significantly more difficult as these ground cables are not tied down in any other way, and will simply flop loose once the bottom plate is removed.

Closer look at the two ground cables that were left loose by the bottom plate's removal. During original assembly, one of these cables was actually trapped between the bottom plate and the plastic support beam in the controller, evidenced by portions of its insulation being flattened. I am not sure if this would have eventually damaged the cable, nor if these grounds actually serve any real purpose.

A third of these ground cables is secured to what is presumably a screw point for the top plate, which is obscured by the exterior artwork and plastic body.

Here's a look at the touchpad mechanism. The wire connections to the touchpad PCB are directly soldered and glued. A plastic support bracket is attached to the PCB via screws.

Another look at the touchpad. It appears to be controlled by a single IC.

A look at the button microswitch. As before, it appears to be the same style of microswitch you'd find in any 30mm button, connected via quick disconnects. The particular microswitch used here differs from the ones used in the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller, bearing a very prominent "HORI" logo.

A look at the main PCB. It is more or less the same design as the Dreamy Theater 2nd's PCB, although more traces are visible from the underside.

A rather impressive looking USB cable knot running through the ferrite core.

Gameplay demonstration
There are a significant number of gameplay videos with this controller on my YouTube page and my TwitchTV channel.

My main concern with the Dreamy Theater 2nd controller was its longetivity. Unfortunately, after having the controller stationed at a few public events, my fears that the controller would not last long under heavy play were confirmed; after about 10 days of operation, all four face button microswitches needed replacement. Fortunately, the replacement procedure is relatively simple, though care must be taken with the LED assembly which must be detached to reach the microswitch mechanism.

The button design has not significantly changed for this new controller. Although the microswitches themselves appear to be a different model, I still believe the use of this style of microswitch in a 100mm button at all does not bode well for the controller especially considering the force at which the buttons themselves can be pressed.

The touchpad was a necessary addition as Project DIVA F introduces a note style that requires use of an analog stick in a controller. This means that the previous Dreamy Theater 2nd controller, which has nothing that can send the input of an analog stick, is incompatible with Project DIVA F. I would have preferred not to have to buy a new controller just to play the latest iteration of the game.

This article was written by StarCreator on March 31, 2013. Do not reproduce without permission.