Just a few months after the PlayStation 5‘s release, players are reporting cases of DualSense drift. While the DualSense received high praise at launch, it seems that it’s susceptible to the same issue that has famously plagued Nintendo’s Joy-Cons for years. Whether the PS5 controller drift issue is limited to specific batches or the entire product line isn’t known yet. Regardless, there are some fixes for the problem and ways to avoid it.
What is DualSense drift?
Controller drift occurs when an analog stick mechanism is damaged and can’t stay zeroed. When this happens, the analog stick will continuously register movement. The easiest way to tell if a DualSense is afflicted with drift is to start a game and see if the camera or character moves without the player touching the controller.
What causes DualSense drift?
We don’t have any conclusive answer on why PS5 controllers are experiencing drift. Ideally, analog sticks are built to last a console’s lifetime, so we definitely shouldn’t be seeing widespread drift after only three months of use.
The two leading causes of controller drift are:
- Damage to the analog stick assembly.
- Flawed manufacturing.
These two causes don’t have to be independent of each other. A flawed analog stick mechanism could lead to structural weakness, which can allow damage even under everyday use. Alternatively, if an analog stick isn’t zeroed correctly out of the factory, it can cause drift to occur after the initial wear-in period.
How to prevent and fix DualSense drift
As stated above, we don’t have a consensus on what’s causing DualSense drift. As such, we can’t make any sweeping recommendations. However, there are some general ways to prevent drift in controllers.
When players are caught up in the moment, it’s easy to be a bit too rough on a controller. Many FPS games require the player to use L3 and R3 while also rapidly moving the analog sticks. This can result in players accidentally grinding downward on the analog stick assembly. Being cognizant of how much force they’re using can help players prevent wear and tear on the DualSense.
Players could replace the fix the DualSense drift by replacing the joystick assembly themselves, but it’s not the most straightforward task. It likely requires soldering, and replacement units aren’t readily available yet. The best bet is just to get a new one from Sony.
If a player is affected by DualSense drift, the best thing to do right now is to contact Sony for a warranty claim. All PS5s sold in the US have a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, so everyone who owns one should still be covered. Sure, shipping the controller in and waiting for a replacement is annoying, but this is the best course for anyone who isn’t absolutely confident in their ability to repair the DualSense themselves.