The issue of joystick drift first rose to prominence in late-2017 when Nintendo Switch owners reported their Joy-Con controllers were suffering from drift, leading to multiple class-action lawsuits and an apology from Nintendo.
However, following an investigation from the iFixit YouTube channel, we might now know how long it will take for your PS5 controller to start drifting...
DualSense drifts after 417 hours
The YouTube channel iFixit recently released a teardown of the DualSense controller, in which they noted that the joystick module of the PS5 controller is similar to that in the DualShock 4, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, and Xbox One controller. The controllers "all use the same joystick hardware" according to iFixit.
iFixit then looked into the specifications of the joystick hardware- released by its manufacturer, ALPS. According to ALPS, a joystick's lifecycle will last 2,000,000 cycles, and the centre-push of a joystick (L3 or R3) will last 500,000 cycles. This is because after repeated use, the mechanisms of the joystick that keep it centred will wear out.
Using these numbers and Call of Duty: Warzonegameplay, iFixit said: "The components in these sticks could easily exceed their operating life in just over 400 hours of game time."
Given the PlayStation 5 released just over 100 days ago, if you have used your DualSense controller for around four hours a day, your controller could soon suffer from drift.
Will my PS5 controller start drifting?
As iFixit cautions in the video, the operating life of these depends on a number of factors, including the intensity of how these sticks are used. This means that if you play games that require a lot of movement or inputs, such as first-person shooters, then your DualSense may start drifting earlier than compared to somebody who only plays less-stressful titles.
If your controller does start suffering from drift issues, there are a number of fixes you can try, including fixing it yourself using compressed air or re-calibrating the console. However, it's most likely that once your controller begins to drift, you will either need to get it fully repaired by Sony or buy a new controller entirely.
Sony has yet to respond to allegations of DualSense drift, but if we follow the trajectory of the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con drift, we wouldn't be surprised if Sony extends the warranty for its DualSense controllers and offers free repairs for all users.