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PS5 controller teardown apparently exposes joystick drift issue

PS5 controller teardown exposes joystick drift issue
(Image credit: Sony)

Some PS5 DualSense controllers have been suffering from a joystick drifting problem that makes it behave as if you were pushing the stick in one direction when you're in fact doing no such thing. Some gamers claim it's so bad that they are suing Sony. Now a new teardown has shed some light on the issue.

iFixit has cracked open the PS5 controller to investigate the problem. According to the site, it's mainly caused by the 'potentiometer' joystick modules, which only have an operating life of two million cycles. That sounds like a lot, but it means the controllers of dedicated gamers could malfunction in as little as four to seven months (though some have claimed their controllers started acting up from the day they were taken out of the packaging).

These modules are made by Japanese firm Alps Alpine, which lists its components' life cycles in its spec sheets.

The problem might occur with other consoles' controllers, too. iFixit notes that the same modules are used in the PS4 DualShock 4, Xbox One controllers, and the Nintendo Switch's Pro controller. Though not that of the Xbox Series X or S.

But these modules aren't the only possible cause. Plastic stretching and stress on the spring mechanism that centres the joystick, plus the build-up of dirt and grime can also contribute. And replacing these components isn't easy due to the amount of solder used.

Sony has pledged to replace all faulty controllers that are still under warranty. But some US gamers are demanding more, and have launched a class-action lawsuit against the firm. It alleges that Sony has been "unlawful, deceptive, fraudulent, and unfair" in offering a "defective" controller.

According to iFixit, older controllers such as those for the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 were made using more expensive components and so haven't suffered from the same issue. Maybe your grandad was right, everything was made to last in the good old days...

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