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Among all of the rage quitting, button mashing, and inexplicable sweat, PS4 controllers seem to trudge on and on…until they don’t.
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With controllers costing upwards of $50 a pop, even more for limited edition variants, it’s in your best interest to keep yours going for as long as possible.
So, what is the typical lifespan of a PS4 controller?
The short answer: most controllers will last a few years but it’s ultimately going to depend how often you play your PS4.
Keep reading to find out more about what’s going to influence the longevity of the link to your current gaming obsession.
Average Lifespan of a PS4 Controller
Provided that you take good care of your controllers and aren’t playing games for obscene amounts of time, you should easily get 3-4 years out of your controller (if not more).
What do I mean by taking good care?
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While you don’t necessarily have to “baby” your controller, it’s in your best interest to prevent it from dropping constantly, stay away from rabid button mashing (especially the sticks) and, obviously, abstain from throwing it against the nearest emotional sponge or getting it wet.
Things not to do:
- Repeatedly drop your controller
- Spam button presses (especially L3 and R3)
- Expose your controller to moisture
- Rage throw the DS4
There is one caveat – many of the controllers that came with launch-era PS4’s had a defect which resulted in the rubber encasing the analog sticks peeling off.
Do new PS4 controller analog sticks still peel off? The consensus, my own experience included, seems to be that this issue has been resolved with recent iterations of the DualShock 4.
It didn’t affect all players, but enough expressed their concern to Sony to make it a worrying trend. Luckily, these issue has been resolved as revised models have taken the place first-gen controllers.
Is your Dualshock 4 from the past couple of years? Then you have no need to worry.
Generally speaking, modern models of the DualShock 4 have excellent build quality. While some may prefer the ergonomics and stick layout of the Xbox One controller, you can’t knock Sony’s level of quality.
The DS4 is vastly superior to the DualShock 3, and wipes the floor with what Nintendo offers in the Joy Con setup.
What you are going to encounter, and this applies to all console gamers, is wear and tear on your Dualshock 4.
To what degree? This is where the variability of its lifespan becomes relevant, and is ultimately decided by where you fall on the casual-hardcore spectrum.
Wear and Tear: Sticks Not Joints
The wear and tear you experience with your controller, and how much of an impact its going to have on playing, is ultimately subjective.
Everyone is going to experience smoothing out of analog sticks and a change in how buttons respond when pressed.
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The wear on L3 and R3 (pressing the analog sticks) has the most potential to impact your play. The reason for this is because you will eventually reach a point where there is a deadzone upon moving them around in any direction.
What is a controller deadzone?
A deadzone is the range at which the sticks don’t respond. What usually happens is that pressing the analog sticks slightly in any direction fails to register any input on the screen.
Why is this important?
If you’re playing Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, or any other first person shooter that requires fine adjustments, it will become increasingly more difficult to dial in your aiming at just the right level.
Some console games like Apex Legends and Rocket League allow you to change your deadzone setting. This setting can be used to fix controller wear and dial in the amount of responsiveness that feels right to you.
Pretty much any game that requires fine aiming with the sticks will become affected by this.
The subjective part of it is whether or not you’re able to adjust to it, as it’s gradual and can be adapted to.
What you can’t usually adapt to are sticks that fail to respond almost entirely, buttons that remain pressed, and faulty inputs in general.
I have a launch PS4 controller that still works absolutely fine, a controller that has endured hundreds of hours of gameplay, slight drops, dust, and the million other day to day sources of wear.
And then there’s my newer controller that I’ve had for over 2 years – it is in near perfect condition despite tons of play time and a lot of sweat from working out and playing PS4.
On the other hand, some of my friends have controllers that don’t allow them to sprint or, alternatively, lock their characters in a sprint when playing shooters like Destiny or Apex Legends.
The point is – some players beat their controllers up more than others.
How to Increase the Grip of Worn Analog Sticks
No, you can’t eliminate a worn in deadzone, but what you can do to prolong the life of your analog sticks is buy yourself a new pair of grips.
Something like KontrolFreek’s FPS Freek Vortex thumbsticks will allow you to give your DualShock 4 a second wind of sorts.
A product like this is actually designed to give you a greater degree of control when playing, and can be snapped on and off easily.
While you may prefer the feel of the default grip, giving a product like this a shot is an inexpensive way to fix butter grip sticks.
Analog stick grip replacements rarely go over $20 and can usually be had for well under.
Best Time to Get a Spare PS4 Controller
If you’re looking to get an additional controller, try to hold off on buying one until Black Friday rolls around. Luckily, it’s an accessory that enjoys great discounts.
While official controllers normally retail for $60, you can easily get a spare controller $40 around this time.
Some might prefer more expensive alternatives like the Astro Gaming C40 TR, but the DualShock 4 is leagues above the majority of third party controllers.
Ever get stuck with a Mad Catz or no-name controller for the PS1, PS2, N64, or Xbox as a kid?
Doing things right by going the official route is always worth it when it comes to consoles.