The DualSense drift issue is now officially a legal one. Last week, a law firm in the United States filed a class action lawsuit against Sony and its PS5 DualSense controller after a wave of drifting reports surfaced online. The law firm has called the company “unlawful and unfair” selling hardware to consumers while knowing the potential drift issue could have occurred.
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Now if you are sitting there wondering how long it will be before your controller starts drifting then worry no more. Everyone’s favourite teardown channel, iFixit put together a detailed breakdown of the DualSense controller and particularly the analogue stick. In the teardown video, they go into detail about how the analogue stick works and what causes the drift.
For starters, the company that makes the analogue sticks is called ALPS. According to iFixit, the analogue sticks found in the DualSense controller are no different from the ones in the DualShock 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and even the very expensive Xbox Elite controller. It just goes to show that Sony and other companies have been using the same tech for almost ten years now.
According to ALPS, the life expectancy of an analogue stick they produce ranges from 2,000,000 cycles of movement to 500,000 cycles of clicking (the R3 movement). Inside each analogue stick, there is a terminal resistor called a potentiometer. This three-terminal resistor includes a sliding and rotating contact that detects movement from the stick and allows the analogue to move freely.
Due to repeated use, this potentiometer wears out. In addition, the spring that holds the analogue stick in place also stretches and deforms. The combination of the two results in inaccurate readings to the resistors and in turn causes the controller drift.
While it sounds complicated it actually makes sense. The internals of the analogue stick is just made of materials that don’t have a long lifespan. iFixit says that the average hardcore gamer could get around 417 hours of life out of their controller before its performance starts to degrade. This was discovered by analysis Call of Duty: Warzone, a heavy click and sprint game.
We put together a video on how you can protect your analogue stick shafts from damage while sprinting. Watch it below:
VGC says that if a PS5 player used their controller for two hours a day, they could see performance degrade withing just 7 months. Heavy gamers who play more FPS games with lots of sprinting and movement can see this expectation reduced even more in the long run.
It is a shame companies still rely on using this dated technology even though it proved to be an issue in the past. This is most likely a big push for the lawsuit against both Sony and Nintendo.
iFixit says that there are multiple ways to approach a controller that has started to drift. For starters, you can repair it yourself by cleaning the potentiometer. However, this requires you to dismantle the device and get inside of it. There are also ways you can completely replace the stick if you want. This requires unsoldering the mechanism of the controller and is not recommended.
Of course, if your DualSense drift is an issue and your device is under warranty you can replace it. You need to contact the recommended representatives in your region. In SA, that is PartSeve. We have recently covered the PS5 warranty exchange program. Find out more here. Lastly, you can always buy another one. While this is not ideal, having a backup controller is not a bad idea in the long run. If you find one on special grab it and swap between the two. It will go a long way to help extend your gaming time without charge too.
Watch the full teardown and explanation down below: