When the PlayStation 5 was first released, its controller, the DualSense, was seen by many as the console’s best feature. The haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and increased motion controls were all spotlights of this new controller. Now however, it seems that the controller is experiencing the same joystick drift we’ve seen in past controllers.
This drift can present itself at any moment, but according to Kotaku, iFixit broke it down and tested it all. On average, a DualSense will perform for roughly 417 hours before showing signs of any drift. That number doesn’t seem like a lot when you take into account hardcore gamers who play a lot, or those staying home during the pandemic.
The real question is why Sony’s newest controller is already having drift issues, and the answer lies within the thumbsticks themselves. If you take apart the DualSense controller, which is not an easy thing to do, you’ll be able to see that the thumbsticks are made by a company named Alps. This is the same company whose joysticks are present in the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, DualShock4 controller and even the Xbox One Elite Series 2 controller.
While it might be easy to blame Alps, really it just comes down to Sony choosing a joystick that has these predictable problems. A lot of those problems lie within the sensors of the thumbstick mechanism.
When you move the thumbsticks around on any controller, sensors pick up on that motion. When the thumbsticks slide across those sensors, it can create wear and tear issues that prevent the sensors from reading things accurately.
Along with sensor malfunction, another cause can be the failure in the spring that holds the thumbstick in place. If the spring begins to stretch or breakdown, it can change where the thumbstick gets held when you aren’t using it. If that happens, the spring will always pull the thumbstick in a certain direction.
Generally though, dust can be the biggest factor in the failure of these thumbsticks. Not only can external dust find its way in, but the constant grinding of plastic pieces when you use the thumbsticks creates internal dust as well. That dust can interfere with sensors and cause the thumbsticks to drift.
It isn’t really Alps’ problem that these things happen to their thumbsticks because it is just general wear and tear stuff. What Sony and other big gaming companies need to do is give us the option to replace them when it does happen.The DualSense though, makes it almost impossible to access the thumbsticks so cleaning or replacing them isn’t an option to the average consumer.
With so many gamers now experiencing the drift on their DualSense, it’s becoming a huge problem much like Nintendo’s Joy-Con drift. There is currently a class action lawsuit against Sony for this because even those that pretested the controller experienced this drift and chose to release the controller anyway.
As it is a class action lawsuit, any US citizen and come fourth and add their evidence to the claim. Should Sony lose the lawsuit, it’s possible for those individuals to receive compensation, so it’s definitely worth filing if it has become an issue for you.
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