Drifting issues have gone hand in hand with console game pads for a while now, and in the current crop of consoles, the Nintendo Switch, the PS5, and the Xbox Series X/S have all been facing issues with analog stick drift in their controllers. Nintendo and Sony are even facing class action lawsuits for the same, and recently, a teardown analysis of the DualSense by tech channel iFixit provided additional details on exactly what’s going on behind the scenes to cause these issues.
As per the analysis, which you can view in full below, the PS5’s DualSense controller uses the same off-the-shelf hardware for its analog sticks as the PS4, the Xbox consoles, and the Nintendo Switch. According to an information sheet from ALPS, the manufacturer of the hardware in question, that the expected life of analog stick parts is 2,000,000 potentiometer cycles and 500,000 centre push function cycles.
As per iFixit, in laymen terms, that roughly translates to about 417 hours of gameplay before drifting issues begin emerging (though as the video points out, this varies depending on what kinds of games you’re playing and what analog stick usage they demand). The problem, as you might imagine, only grows worse with further use from that point onward, while other external factors, such as accumulation of dust, can also cause the issue. You can get more details in the video below.
Class action lawsuits are currently ongoing against both Sony and Nintendo, both of whom have been accused of selling faulty hardware to consumers in spite of being aware of the issues they present. As is usually the case with such matters, a resolution to the situation might not present itself for a while.