PS5 analogs can have a lifespan of just 400 hours, says analysis

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DualSense has been touted as one of the great innovations of the PlayStation 5 and, just a few months after its launch, it is also causing problems for owners of the new generation console. Now, a new analysis points to the reason: a potentiometer, used in the operation of the joystick analogues, which would have a useful life of just over 400 hours.

The analysis is from the iFixIt website, specialized in device maintenance and famous for the disassembly videos of technological products. She points to the use of a manufacturer’s component called ALPS as the main cause of the failures found not only by PS5 users, but also the Switch and, to a lesser extent, Xbox. It is the infamous “drift”, a term in English that indicates a control whose analog, although in a central position, seems to be being pushed to one side alone.

According to official information provided by ALPS, the potentiometers used in the controls withstand two million cycles for handling, while the pressure of the analog ones withstands 500 thousand cycles. IFixIt analyzed the telemetry of common matches from Call of Duty: Warzone to then translate that total into 417 hours of life before the components have problems.

It may seem like a lot, but a simple account shows that it is not. The calculation indicates that a player who uses the controller for two hours, daily, would reach the expectation of joystick operation in just seven months. The data also appears in different class actions brought in the United States courts against Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, and when we take into account that we are talking about consoles made to last from six to seven years, at least and according to the progress of past generations, it is little.

PS5 analogs can have a lifespan of just 400 hours
Component responsible for the drift problems in PS5, Switch and others has a low useful life to be used in a joystick and complicated replacement for those who have no experience or welding equipment (Image: Screenshot / Felipe Demartini / Canaltech)

According to the analysis of iFixIt, the drift problem can happen for different causes, such as a loosening of the springs that keep the analog lever in its central point or with constant wear, which interferes with the detection of movements. Falls, misuse, dust and other contaminants can reduce life even further, and in all cases the problem arises when games register movements, usually sideways, even though the controller is in a neutral position.

The experts go further and say that the problem could have been avoided, since we are talking about components available and used for years, with clear information about their life cycle. The criticism is that manufacturers do not view controls as devices with a finite life cycle and, therefore, do not invest in easy ways to replace their internal components.

PS5 analogs can have a lifespan of just 400 hours

IFixIt indicates that, in some cases, software tools from the consoles themselves, such as the Switch, can compensate for an initial drift detection, while replacing the components themselves is a far more complicated task. On PS5, for example, the process involves more than a dozen welding points and a disconnection of the tactile feedback motors from the control, constituting an inaccessible alternative for those who have no experience or the necessary materials.

While class actions are still underway and some companies, such as Microsoft, are looking for out-of-court deals, there are few options for users other than replacing parts on their own or triggering the warranty, which in Brazil is one year . For now, all the new generation consoles sold here since the launch are covered, but once the deadline is over, the prospect is for bigger expenses and problems for users, while the companies themselves, at least for now, have not yet announced a more comprehensive solution, to say the least, since when we talk about products that suffer wear and tear, a definite option may never exist.

Source: iFixIt (YouTube)

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