Are Your DualShock 4 Sticks Wearing Away?

In the run up to launch, there was rumour that the DualShock 4 thumbsticks weren’t quite as durable as people had hoped. Pictures filtered out of well worn controllers from demo stations where the rubber texture to the left stick had been worn away.

Of course, at that time it was easy to shelve the discussion, with early production materials and hardware being used, and subject to a lot of abusive wear and tear from consoles being carted from one game show to another.

Two months since the initial launch and it’s not as easy to dismiss. There are reports and pictures from a wide range of people that have seen not just the texture being lost, but the outer layer itself being worn away to such a degree that it splits and breaks through to the main plastic underneath. Though my own controllers haven’t deteriorated to that degree, one of Peter’s has.


He’s quite bitter about this.

To try and see just how widespread an issue this really is, we’d like for you to share with us your own experience with the DualShock 4, and whether the analogue sticks are fit for purpose.

Just pop your answer down in the poll below, but also feel free give us a little more context in the comments below, and we’ll come back to the results some time next week.



  1. Tops of both left sticks is breaking down so I got some silicon covers from Amazon and that’s sorted it and its improved the grip on the stick as well so that’s a bonus. They don’t impede the function at all btw. Also had the sticking button issue but fixed that courtesy of a youtube vid (pop the botton off, bit of wd-40 and hey presto).

    For me personally that’s easier than sending them back as you’ll likely get the same issue again I reckon.

  2. I have been using kontrol freaks on mine so that will never happen. One thing I have noticed though is, I have the blue wave controller and the standard black one that came with my PS4, now my old (ps3/360) kontrol freaks do not fit on the black controller that came with the PS4, so loose they just fall off (I had heard this so was expecting it) but they fit perfectly fine on the blue wave one. That tells me there is some quality control issues, as the blue wave thumbsticks are about 1 mm winder in diameter than the black ones (so unless they had a tolerance level of +/- 1 mm) that’s a QC issue for sure, and if that’s slipping past QC god knows what else is. Good thing is I don’t have to buy new kontrol freaks :)

  3. Mine look as good as new, I’ve played a fair bit too.
    Competed Killzone + 3 days of MP.
    Competed AC4 + around 9 hours of MP.
    Played through about 30 Resogun missions total.
    Completed Contrast.

    I do however know a friend who has had to buy a new controller because of this, he plays quite a bit of FIFA and COD, maybe the twitch reactions are a bit too much for the sticks, they can be fairly violent on FIFA.

  4. I have two pads from the KZ:SF+Camera+extra control pack. Both are fine but also I noted a difference between the codes on the back indicating a difference. The coating of the sticks is also different, one was noticeably rougher. Re-enforces the point that you should just get it replaced under warranty.

  5. For me the damage isn’t so bad but that’s mainly due to me not playing the console much.

    In the middle of the circular indent of the left stick a very thin layer of rubber is starting to peel. Nothing horrendous but still a bit annoying.

  6. Mine’s been fine so far but I have 3 controllers I rotate through and probably haven’t played as much as I would like.

    I was more concerned about them rubbing the stick part against the hole they poke out from.

    I had issues with DualShocks 3’s with liquid leaking from them and the heads on the sticks starting to spin around.

    Even if the rubber was wearing away, as long as replacement heads can be bought aren’t are a sensible price I wouldn’t be too worried about it.

  7. Mine are both absolutely fine and I suspect the problem is partly down to how vigorous / forceful some people are with their control inputs. That said, the controller should still be able to cope with harder input more than it is apparently doing so, while it’s not affecting the majority yet, it’s fair to say the coating is below par.

  8. Mine are fine and I’ve clocked up a lot of hours on the PS4 since launch. I’m OCD with washing my hands making sure they aren’t greasy though before playing my PS4 :P

    If you are bothered, just grab a set of these from Amazon – only £3 and have very good reviews.

    • Surely greasy hands would wear the rubber down less anyway? Just thinking, as thats why most mechanical friction devices are greased/oiled to reduce wear.

      • hehe maybe you are right beeje! :)

    • OK I take it all back…. I looked at my controller under a light and my left stick looks a great deal smoother when I compare it to my spare DS4 that I got in my Gamer Bundled PS4!

      You live and learn! I’d not noticed it at all. It doesn’t look anything like the one in the photo in the article, but its flaking a little towards the bottom of the stick. I’ve ordered them thumb grips anyway and since its not free super saver delivery unless you spend over £10… which mean’t it seemed a shame not to order the charging dock :D

      • (I fully blame the Resogun PS Plus challenge for the damage to my controller….)


  9. Interesting this should come up now – I noticed yesterday how the texture of the left stick has become a lot smoother than the right. Give it a few more months and I’ll need to get it replaced under warranty, but very surprised and disappointed by it… Sony’s hardware quality is normally second to none!

  10. I noticed the demo unit in my local game had the stick worn down to the plastic.
    Now I know these things take a beating but after less than two months it has been destroyed and I don’t recall seeing other demo units,(360, PS3) wearing away at anything like that speed.

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