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We May Know What's Causing The PS5 Controller Issues

While the PS5 DualSense and Switch Joy-Con share some common ground, such as their use of haptic feedback, one key similarity has landed Sony and Nintendo in hot water. Nintendo has endured numerous lawsuits over the infamous "Joy-Con drift." Now, it appears Sony might follow in Nintendo's footsteps due to reported DualSense stick drift issues. 

YouTube channel iFixit released a helpful  video explaining how and why the PS5 DualSense controller is prone to drift. According to iFixit, as players use their joysticks, the "spring-loaded, self-centering mechanism can stretch slightly," which makes a "new neutral point" that is anything but centered. Basically, the controller's potentiometers still behave as intended, but due to the worn out spring it may think that a thumb is pressing on the joystick when, in fact, nothing is there.

Another known component of joystick drift is debris. Plastic parts moving against each other inside the casing can cause dust and debris to form and gunk up the inner workings of the DualSense — not to mention the pet hair and snacks that might make their way inside the controller.

iFixit explained that even gamers with advanced soldering skills and the patience required to disassemble their DualSense controllers might not be able to fully fix the issue. The type of joysticks Sony uses in the DualSense need advanced calibration to function properly. New joysticks fresh from the packaging can still drift due to faulty calibration or a lack of the software needed to calibrate properly.

The "dirty secret" of why Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation have controllers that experience drift reportedly lies in the parts underneath the streamlined plastic casing. As asserted by iFixit, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, the Xbox Elite controller, and the DualSense controller all use the same type of joystick, which means that all three devices eventually experience similar problems. Unlike the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons and Pro Controller, which can be disassembled relatively simply, the DualSense requires specialized soldering tools to access the joystick housing. Also, doing so could void your warranty.

PS5 players first reported DualSense stick drift back in November 2020, shortly after the PS5 appeared on (some) store shelves. Instead of affecting controllers towards the end of their lifespan, DualSense controllers started drifting much earlier, leaving some fans unimpressed. The DualSense has more than one problem, though. In late 2020, gamers also noticed that the trigger buttons on some DualSense controllers began failing after only 50-60 hours of play.