• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Stick Drift

Have you experienced stick drift on a controller?


  • Total voters
    186

Kev Kev

Gold Member
I bought a new Xbox controller from MS last year and it started experiencing significant drift in the right stick just a few days ago. I tried cleaning it with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol around the rim but but it didn't help. This is after my last controller experienced drift in the left stick, mind you. So this is technically two controllers in one year that I've had to deal with drift problems. Luckily, since I bought it from MS and the warranty was still valid, they're going to send me a new one immediately for no charge. It should be here in a few days.

But seriously man, when is the industry going to figure this out? I never heard about this happening back in the PS3/360 days, or before then. It never happened to me and I went through at least 3 or 4 controllers on each console (they'd get dirty, or I'd lose them, or loan one to a friend and never see it again lol, or I'd trade them in for a shiny new one... shit like that). That's not counting all the Dual Shocks from the PS2 days that I went through as well.

Why the fuck is this a problem now? Someone needs to figure this shit out because a brand new ass controller, from MS themselves, should not be having drift issues within the first year. I mean, I'm glad it happened within the first year, because in a couple more months the warranty would have been expired and I'd have been screwed...

...

Which honestly just makes me more mad :mad:

Have you experienced stick drift in your gaming career? What console/generation? How many controllers did it happen to? Did your seller provide you an easy way to repair/return it?
 
Last edited:

Skifi28

Member
I never heard about this happening back in the PS3/360 days
About as common as now. Controllers have been using the same parts for sticks since the PS1 days and and they're very likely to start drifting or doing donuts within a year, depending on luck and use. Some people will tell you they've only had one 360 controller while others went through four. Same for the PS4-one generation. All current controllers for all 3 consoles use the same parts, even the elite making them about as likely to develop issues. Solutions do exist, but then people wouldn't spend as much on replacement controllers. It's good for business.
 

Skifi28

Member
I've never understood why the industry hasn't moved to optical sensors for sticks.
Or even some kind of magnetic angular sensors like in the Tesla handles.

 

Wizz-Art

Member
I only had it with the white Xbox One controller included with the limited edition Sunset Overdrive console. Started around 2-3 years to drift on the left stick. I never had it happen on any other controller though including the Dreamcast, PS2-3, X360, One S, One X or XSX. Lucky I guess.
 
It really seems to depend a lot on how often you're playing games that make you click the joysticks in to sprint. I had to send one of my PS5 controllers in to get fixed after only about 2 months. I haven't had any issues with my Xbox One or Series X controllers yet (knock on wood). On PS4, I was replacing them constantly.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
It's good for business.
fuck this mentality. its bad for consumers. thats the only thing we should be saying about it.

and ive been hearing about this happening WAAYYY more in the last 5 years. and sure enough, i experienced it on two separate controllers in just the last year. i dunno man, i dont buy it. ill wait to hear more from the replies in this topic. i want to hear more about everyones experience. i went through dozens of controllers with sticks over the last 20 years and never had an issue until recently.
 

McCheese

Member
Not since the PlayStation 1 so going to say no, even my switch launch day joycons are still plodding along just fine.
 

M1chl

Currently Gif and Meme Champion
I've never understood why the industry hasn't moved to optical sensors for sticks.
Optical would probably be even worse, with the dust and stuff. What you are looking for is HALL sensors. Which frankly costs fuck all.
 

KungFucius

Member
If a third party controller did it and it was far superior, it would then force the 1st party makers to compete.
It doesn't really work that way. 1st party controllers tend to only get updates for new systems, apart from colors. 3rd party controllers are always niche compared to 1st party ones, so even if it is superior, most buy the official controllers when they need one.
 

ParaSeoul

Member
I had the Dualshock 4 that came with my ps4 for about 4 years with no issues,bought a new one in 2020 and it got stick drift within a few months.
 

Bartski

Gold Member
recently got stick drift on Dual Sense less than 6 months of using it. Replaced it immediately at Sony, no issues just sent it back and they gave me a new one.

I also had a sticky button in a different Dual Sense, fixed it myself with WD-40. Works.
 
Last edited:
Got a switch earlier this year, playing some Mario kart on it and my character keeps drifting left and right. "Oh ffs HERE WE GO, brand new and I've got the stick drift gaf is always talking about. Just my luck".

Turns out I forgot to turn off motion controls on the kart select screen

mfw
 
Last edited:

ReBurn

Gold Member
I've experienced stick drift on every console since the N64. The parts inside analog sticks are just small and fragile so they wear out. Even back on the Atari 5200 the contacts would wear and not register correctly. At least on that console you could easily take the controller apart and clean everything. Cleaning corrosion from contacts with a pencil eraser was a common activity with that lousy controller.

I've never understood why the industry hasn't moved to optical sensors for sticks.
The industry needs to make controllers easier to repair. Optical sensors won't fix the problem because sticks, buttons and triggers on controllers are still mechanical so eventually they're going to wear out. Having to buy a whole new controller because a mechanical part breaks is crap.
 
bought an XB1 controller and within a month it was drifting. took it right back to the shop and got it replaced. my current XB1 controller has no drifting.

bought a second hand PS4 and it came with a controller that was drifting so bought a brand new controller for it. to be fair, the controller i got with my OG PS4 in 2013 didn't drift and I had it for 3 years. Same goes for the PS4 Slim controller i got in 2016 which I sold in 2019. 3 years no drifting.

not had any drifting on Switch joycons/pro controller yet. I bought my Switch in 2017 and sold it about a year ago no drifting. Got the OLED model now but only played about 10 hours on it. No drifting and I hope it doesn't appear soon but if it does then it'll be sent to Nintendo to fix/replace.
 
Last edited:
Had slight drift on left stick on dualshock 4 and xbox one controller. Joycons are still good as I barely use them since getting an adapter to use other controllers.
 
Last edited:

Banjo64

Member
Never ever on a Sony or MS first party controller. From Nintendo, N64 analogue was shocking and Joy-cons drifted for me after a paltry 150 hours played.
 
I got the dreaded left stick drift in my Xbox Elite 2 Controller 11 months after I got it. I was fortunate that I still had a couple of weeks of warranty left so they sent me a new one. If this one gets it, I'm screwed. I never had an issue with the 360 or X1 controllers though.
 

lh032

I cry about Xbox and hate PlayStation.
My first dualsense is having drift now, I bought a new one but i tried to hold on as long as I can with the first one.
 

Soodanim

Member
I've never experienced drift, but I can see my DS4's sticks on PC in DS4Windows and I can see they're not perfectly centred in some resting positions. Dead zone comes in handy.

I do wish there was either a push towards replacing the base controller sticks with better alternatives or at least a first/third party alternative that was an actual premium product with upgraded internals. These days there's a strong enough market to justify that. Even if first party don't want to do it because it might eat into their replacement controller income, a third party alternative going for high quality and not just style/gimmicks could make a killing.

It's there for the taking, someone just needs to have the means and mind to make it happen.
 
Last edited:

Deerock71

Member
I've had several joycons go drifting on me. It's always been more convenient to replace them than calling and complaining to Nintendo.
 

Rickyiez

Member
Yes, and apparently the Series X controller is the most prone to it. It drift after a couple of months with very minimal usage, while my 360 controller only show some sign after a year plus. Such a shame because I really liked the Series X gamepad
 
I went through 10+ dualhock 4 controllers. Some had drift, others had different issues.

Had right stick drift on a few xbox one controllers as well.

My gf had to send her joycons back to nintendo because of drift.


Controller quality just sucks.
 

Excess

Member
Been using the original Xbox Elite controller since it came out in 2015. Never experienced it, or at least I don't think I ever have. I have gotten wobble before, but with that, I just take the controller apart and shove a piece of paper under the stick to stiffen it back up.
 
Have it on switch left joycon and on 2 sets of elite 2 Xbox controllers (had 3 faulty in total) with the one returned to me after sending it in for repair for dodgy A button shocking quality unresponsive RB button, A button only works half the time and both sticks drift.
 

Banjo64

Member
Yes, and apparently the Series X controller is the most prone to it. It drift after a couple of months with very minimal usage, while my 360 controller only show some sign after a year plus. Such a shame because I really liked the Series X gamepad
I use an Elite 2 (no drift) but my 14 year old uses his Series pad every evening for 3-4 hours and roughly 10 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. He’s had it since launch and no drift.
 

marjo

Member
Both of my sets of Joycons developed bad drift. I haven't had it happen with any of my 360, PS3, PS4 or XSX controllers.
 

Amaranty

Member
I've had an Xbox 360 controller, two PS4 controllers and now I'm playing on an XSX controller. Never had any stick drift problems and on my PS4 and XSX gamepads I am able to reduce stick deadzones to almost zero.

That said, I do want to order an Elite 2 controller because you can adjust the stick tension on it, but I've read some bad stories about the reliability of Elite 2 controllers.
 

Kuranghi

Gold Member
On one of my Dualsenses (The one that came with the console I think... but the other one had a loose R2 so can't remember which had which problem really) and my blue joycon both had it, the joycon after a couple of years and the Dualsense's stick and R2 within months of owning them.

I own 2 DS4s, one v1 that came with my PS4 Pro and the other is a v2 (grey sticks is a quick way to tell which it is) I bought to use with my PC. The v2 is perfect but the v1 has mild downwards drift on the left stick (which only affected Ghost of Tsushima due to its tiny deadzone but there is a menu option to increase the deadzone size which "fixed" it) and the R3 click is unreliable and sometimes doesn't work unless I press it down hard.

Getting the DS's and Joycon fixed was really simple and free but was annoying having to do it for two DS's at once since I couldn't do them together or else I wouldn't have a controller for the PS5. I've since given my PS4 Pro and DS4s to my sister for her kids and I use the DS's for PS5 and PC, which has been great. DS on PC picks up the haptic feedback data meant for the Xbox One/Series controller in MS studio's games perfectly which is nice.
 

kirby007

Member
1 out of 4 n64 controllers has the issue but had it very early.
4 GC controllers and 4 360 controllers still work fine and both saw heavier use.
its just fucking random
 

MrA

Member
I've had several joycons go drifting on me. It's always been more convenient to replace them than calling and complaining to Nintendo.
I'm not excusing the problem, but nintendo is really good about fixing them
just fill out this form if you're from the us or canada
print label, mail them in, get them back a week later
 
Only ever had noticeable drift, it's likely others have in some minor form before too, with the Switch joycons. Takes 10 minutes to change them and £5 for a new pair so nay bother I guess
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
I've had issues with pretty much every controller I've had.. From the cheapest to the most expensive, I can't see a difference in "quality" in this context.

But the issue is actually simpler to explain than you would think. MS and Sony and others actually tend to buy the same off-shelf third party parts for their controllers. Mix this with the eye-opening fact that the cycle limit of the sticks is often reached within 400 hours of gameplay and you'll understand that issues are eventually par for the course..

Here’s Why PS5 Joysticks Drift (and Why They’ll Only Get Worse) | iFixit News
 
Last edited:

Toots

Member
I have a strange thing happening to me.
I seem to experience more drift on certains games than others...
I also had a problem with an old controller where certain games did not understand my input when i pushed the joystick diagonally, making the character move really akwardly up and then left but not "up-left".
I don't kown if my ps4 is haunted or if each game has its own settings and that is why, but its freaky.
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
I have a strange thing happening to me.
I seem to experience more drift on certains games than others...
I also had a problem with an old controller where certain games did not understand my input when i pushed the joystick diagonally, making the character move really akwardly up and then left but not "up-left".
I don't kown if my ps4 is haunted or if each game has its own settings and that is why, but its freaky.
It's not really strange per se. ALL controllers have drift from a theoretical ideal 0, that's why you have to have some deadzone settings, and these deadzone settings can be different from game to game.

Edit: Also, sticks are basically made with two potentiometers, one for each axis. These are printed circuits, small, mechanical and not very robust. Some specks of dust and some moisture and you could easily end up with fucked up electrical signals, delivering wildly varying outputs.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom