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PS5 Controllers Facing a Class Action Over Drift Problems

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PS5 Controllers Facing a Class Action Over Drift Problems

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Sony’s DualSense controller for the PS5 is the next subject in a string of class actions related to stick drift in video game controllers. Nintendo’s Joy-Con game controller and Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 1 and 2 Controllers faced similar litigation beginning in 2020 regarding phantom input or “drift” problems.

Stick drifting occurs when a controller registers motion without the player’s input, resulting in onscreen movements the player did not intend which can disrupt and even debilitate gameplay. These controllers also post a similar pattern, where the controller works well for a period of time after purchase before beginning to exhibit drift problems a few months later. As anyone who has purchased a PS5 can tell you, DualSense controllers are not cheap, so replacing them when drift starts to occur is both impractical and costly.

One of the same law firms that filed a class action in 2020 over Nintendo’s Joy-Con drift problems is investigating Sony’s DualSense controllers.

Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (CSK&D), a law firm located in Pennsylvania, started investigating the possibility of another class action lawsuit over rumors that the PS5 controllers are experiencing phantom drift and premature failure. However, it is unclear whether or not the alleged problems with these controllers is widespread. Considering that the PS5 and DualSense controllers were only released in 2020 and are both relatively new, it’s possible that not enough time has passed to get a good sense of whether or not drift is a significant problem for these controllers. It may help to note that drift in controllers generally does not occur right away but after a certain period of use, ranging from a few months to after the explicit warranty has ended. The relative scarcity of the PS5 and the DualSense controllers for purchase adds to the stress of gamers experiencing drift problems.

Phantom drift is thought to be caused by erosion around the joystick.

In the Joy-Con class action, the lawsuit points to the design of the controller as the possible culprit of the drift defect. The complaint theorizes that when steel brushes inside the joystick move back and forth, they erode the material which makes up the pad, changing its electrical resistance. While not proven, this is suspected as a possible cause of the drifting phenomenon in game controller analog sticks. If this is the case, a class action lawyer may argue that the designers of these controllers should be aware of the defect and take the necessary steps to compensate their customers with working controllers, whether this means repairing them for free or replacing them altogether.

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