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Things Are Getting Worse For PS5's DualSense

In life — and the entertainment industry — there are two rules to live by: In chess, the pawns go first, and those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In other words, learn from other people's mistakes. Unfortunately, these lessons seemed to have gone over the heads of the team behind the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller, since it is repeating the same mistakes as the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con.

When the PS5 released, critics initially loved the console, as well as the DualSense's extra bells and whistles. Several of the controller's features, including haptic feedback, were inherited from the Joy-Con (or the company behind the Joy-Con's HD rumble, to be precise). However, the DualSense didn't just receive the Nintendo controller's good genes. It also suffers from the disease known as stick drift.

Several days ago, a handful of PS5 owners reported their fresh controllers started to malfunction. Much like the stick drift that plagued Joy-Con controllers, gamers discovered that their consoles registered analog stick movement even when their thumbs were several inches away from the input. Not every controller suffers from the problem, but those that do make it impossible for gamers to play their just-purchased titles.

Normally, stick drift is basically like arthritis for controllers — it is only supposed to impact peripherals that have experienced a lot of wear and tear. However, many first-generation Joy-Cons suffered from stick drift, and now DualSense controllers might have it worse. In some cases, stick drift crops up in controllers that are barely a week old.

To add to the confusion, some cases of "DualSense drift," as it is being called, aren't caused by shoddy controller manufacturing but mistakes hard-coded into the game. Call of Duty: Warzone, for example, seemingly suffers from a nasty case of stick drift that causes the map cursor to float. As many commenters pointed out, that's actually a problem with a game's controller deadzone settings, not a legitimate case of DualSense drift.

While it might be troubling that DualSense controllers are suffering from stick drift before their first birthday, catching the problem early might be a blessing in disguise. Joy-Con drift caused Nintendo a never-ending march of headaches, mostly in the form of lawsuits, and the company has extended an olive branch by offering complimentary Joy-Con repairs. Since gamers have diagnosed the DualSense drift several weeks into the PS5's life, Sony could potentially implement a battery of preventative measures to shore up the DualSense's stick sensitivity and prevent the problem from reaching Nintendo Joy-Con lawsuit proportions.