PS5 DualSense controllers reportedly breaking — what you need to know

Sony PS5 Dualsense Controller
(Image credit: Sony via thegameawards YouTube)

If you’ve been lucky enough to find PS5 stock, you’ll know that one of the greatest joys is seeing the full potential of the new DualSense controller in the utterly charming bundled Astro’s Playroom. You can ‘feel’ little drops of rain buzzing through the pad, and the triggers adapt to the situation, tensing when you pull the bow on a string and offering resistance when you fire the engines of a rocket.

But now questions about the reliability of the latter are coming to light. Hot Hardware has spotted a number of complaints about adaptive triggers that have stopped offering the resistance and feel like the plain old DualShock of old. 

An 11-page long thread on the Resetera forums highlights the problem and its symptoms, with the original poster explaining that they felt the R2 trigger “snap and immediately become looser” during a session on Spider-Man: Miles Morales. 

The good news is that with the PS5 just over a month old, this is clearly a problem that Sony will take care of without charge. The poster explains that they simply had to send the pad back to Sony, with the repair set to take seven to ten days plus another five for shipping. 

“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 poster adds. “The agent replied that ‘a few’ users were calling them about problems with their DualSense controllers,” the post continues, adding that the agent asked if the trigger had become loose immediately after the poster mentioned it was a DualSense issue. “Take that as you will.”

The poster posits that the problem may be “pretty widespread” thanks to a few posts popping up on Reddit, and it’s pretty clear that this isn’t an isolated problem. All the same, it’s extremely easy to overstate the extent of a problem simply because happy users don’t tend to make Reddit posts explaining how their pads are functioning as normal.

Sony hasn’t revealed any sales figures yet, but VGChartz estimates around 3.3 million units have been bought at this point, and that’s not including all the extra pads sold. Suffice it to say, a handful of DualSense pads with weakened adaptive triggers isn’t a serious dent in that number.

But – and it’s a big but – the worrying thing is how quickly these reports are coming in. The PlayStation 5 has been out for just over a month. If this is a problem that occurs with wear rather than it just being the case that some DualSense controllers are defective, then that number is only going to go upwards. And you only have to look at the issues Nintendo has had with the Switch’s drifting joy-con problem to know that that can spell trouble down the road

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.