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A PS5 signature feature is already breaking down

Published Dec 25th, 2020 7:31AM EST
PS5 DualSense
Image: Sony

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  • The PS5 is still sold out in many countries, as Sony can’t manufacture enough game consoles to meet demand. But many people have already purchased a PlayStation 5 in time for Christmas. And some of them have identified an unexpected hardware problem that Sony needs to fix.
  • The issue affects one of the PS5’s signature features, the new DualSense controller that offers a new haptic feedback system and adaptive triggers.
  • Some players have found that the adaptive triggers can break during gameplay. The feature isn’t necessarily widespread, but Sony is apparently aware that the triggers can become loose and offers replacements.

The PlayStation 5 is one of the hottest items of the holiday season, which is hardly surprising. It’s what happens with a next-gen gaming console, especially in a year that ruined everything about normal life. At one point, we weren’t even sure that Sony would be able to manufacture the PS5 and launch the device during the 2020 holiday season. But Sony pulled through, just like Microsoft did. Both companies launched their new consoles in time for Christmas, and both continue to be sold out in traditional stores. Scalpers, meanwhile, are making a killing at selling them on the black market. Whether you managed to score a PS5 in time for Christmas or not, you should be aware that some players have started encountering an issue with one of the main features of the PS5, one that Sony might need time to fix.

Sony quietly fixed one of the most annoying things about the PS5, but that was a software update. The console is now going to warn you that you’re playing the wrong version of the game and help you switch to the PS5 one. Any other software problem, Sony could easily fix. But if it’s a hardware issue, then a fix won’t be immediately available and would involve additional hassles.

The PS5’s controller is one of the first PS5 features that Sony explained. The DualSense controller has a new name and design and delivers a major advantage over the Xbox controller. It comes with a new haptic feedback system that allows the player to feel what’s happening in the game when it comes to surfaces. Then there are the new adaptive triggers that are tighter or looser, depending on the context. You’ll feel the tension in the bow’s string, and the triggers will tell you that a player in a sports game is growing tired as the triggers become harder to press. That’s the kind of trick that can further improve the gaming experience, allowing players to get immersed in their favorite titles like never before.

But then the triggers can break, and the whole adaptive experience goes away. Per Hot Hardware, several gamers have started experiencing issues with the DualSense controller, reporting problems with the adaptive triggers. Players took to forums like ResetEra to detail their experiences. Here’s what a member of the forum said about the matter:

A few days ago, I was swinging around in Miles Morales when I felt the R2 snap and immediately become looser. It was as if whatever was causing the trigger to “resist” broke, causing it to go back to being a regular, non-adaptive trigger.

Now, considering that I have less than 50 hours of playtime on the PS5 and have always taken good care of my devices, this was unexpected, to say the least. So, I started researching to see how widespread this issue was. And I’d say it’s pretty widespread.

The same user explains that many others have complained on social media, and some people say it’s a problem with a spring that can become dislodged. Anyone can fix the problem, but it involves tearing the controller apart, as seen in the video at the end of the post. That’s something not all PS5 players would or should consider.

Sony will apparently fix the issue, and the company already knows what the problem might be, according to the same ResetEra user:

Myself, I just contacted PlayStation Support to request a replacement, as it’s still well under warranty (and opening the device would void it, where I live – not all countries have decent consumer laws). You don’t have to send your entire system to Sony, only the defective controller. The “repair” process can take between seven to 10 days, with another five for shipping, according to the agent. They should send you an email requesting proof of purchase, and a follow-up message with a pre-paid shipping code valid for up to 30 days, which you just present at the post office (these steps may vary depending on your country/region).

Since I already had someone on the phone, I asked if other people had reached out to support about the same issue, as there was a considerable number of reports online. The agent replied that “a few” users were calling them about problems with their DualSense controllers. My anecdotal evidence of that being related to the trigger is that the agent asked if it had become “loose” as soon as I said that there was a problem with it. I’d only mentioned that I’d heard a snap and that the trigger was not working properly afterwards. Take that as you will.

The thread has some 11 pages of responses, which further indicate the interest in the matter. Some say they’ve experienced similar issues. Others say they didn’t.

Sony wouldn’t be the first console makers worried about controller issues. Nintendo had its fair share of problems with the Switch controllers, which developed a “drifting” problem. They would detect input where there was none. Hopefully, Sony can find a way to prevent the problem from affecting future batches of DualSense controllers.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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