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TSA's Poll Shows DualShock 4 Analogue Stick Rubber Fatigue Is A Big Issue

The splits.

Following quite far reaching complaints and reports, we held a poll last week to investigate just how prevalent issues with wear and tear on the DualShock 4 analogue sticks really was.

For those unfamiliar with the issue, within less than two months, many people have complained of the rubber on the left analogue stick in particular (simply because it sees  lot more use) wearing away, losing the mottled texture and potentially even splitting through to the plastic core. While my DualShock 4s have both had a degree of wear, our very own Peter found that his controller suffered from the rubber splitting.


So we ran a poll, asking whether you had seen any wear and tear of your own, whether your thumbsticks had split apart or if you’d not noticed any wear at all. There were 6,253 votes with the following breakdown:

  • No wear and tear – 3,907 (62.48%)
  • Texture rubbing away – 1,724 (27.57%)
  • Rubber splitting – 622 (9.95%)

That means a combined 37.52% or 2,346 reported that there was some form of noticeable wear and tear on their controller(s), with early 10%, at 622 votes, stating that their controllers had the rubber splitting apart.

While we have to allow for a certain margin of error within these poll results, given the anonymity of internet polling, these percentages are sufficiently high to indicate quite a significant issue. With 4.2 million consoles sold by the end of 2013 and many people purchasing additional controllers, this could be manufacturing or design issue that has led to several hundred thousand DualShock 4s with splitting rubber and millions with excessive wear and tear.

We have requested comment from Sony on this, but if your DualShock 4s suffer from splitting, we would recommend that you exercise you rights and get in touch with the retailer that you bought from or Sony directly to organise a replacement.

  1. spartanstriker
    Since: Jan 2014

    My PS3 controllers all suffered from this and a third party one split within 3 weeks – I think its the way I push the stick at the edge when playing Fifa!

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:07.
  2. BullyBurton
    Since: Feb 2013

    Mine started to peel away on the left stick, I bought some protective thumb grips from Amazon on a friends recommendation. Fortunately, I find they improve the grip so it was a good £3 spent to protect the usefulness of a £60 device.
    Sony should sort this ASAP though, as technically the DS4 is not fit for purpose and certainly not cheap to replace every 2 months. Though I fear for what steps they will need to take, either offering grips to customers free of charge or a possible recall following a redesign of the DS4. Either route involves an admission of fault – and they need to be prepared to take this on the chin ASAP to save face and not ignore it until it is a uncontrollable (no pun intended) PR disaster.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:18.
    • DrDamn
      Since: Dec 2013

      You’d never have to replace every two months though. If you have the issue then raise it with Sony/retailer and get it replaced. That’s what a warranty is for isn’t it?

      At least it seems that the issue is presenting itself quite quickly when there is a problem and therefore if you have a faulty pad it should be obvious well within the warranty period.

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 14:44.
  3. Blastiel
    Since: Nov 2011

    I’m not saying this is all user error but jesus H christ whom ever did that damage must have sausage thumbs dusted in glass!

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:19.
    • Kevatron400
      Drake, baby.
      Since: Dec 2008

      I believe that’s our own Peter ‘Glass sausage thumbs’ Chapman :)

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 16:58.
  4. ArrebatoTarugo
    Since: Jul 2013

    And I voted “Fine” in the Poll and when I arrived home I realized that it has started to “rub away”… Bad.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:21.
  5. camdaz
    Since: May 2009

    That’s more than I thought it would be. I’ve got two DS4s (use one while other charges) with no wear at all, both look as good as new.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:22.
  6. DJ Judas
    Since: Aug 2008

    My two controllers show a clear difference in quality. With the default bundled controller feeling weaker at its joints, and rubber starting to peel when compared to the second bundled controller which appears to be from a different batch and is much nicer to use in comparison.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:28.
    • double-o-dave
      Since: Nov 2008

      Strange you should say that, as when I swap mine around whenever one needs charging I sometimes think one feels more solid, although I’m not sure if its my imagine.

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:42.
      • DJ Judas
        Since: Aug 2008

        Give the handles a squeeze, on my poor quality controller the joints creak and the plastic flexes at the seams.

        Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 14:02.
    • DrDamn
      Since: Dec 2013

      This matches my experience – though I’ve got no breakage or problem with either controller. Got the KZ + Camera + extra controller pack and there are differences between the two controllers. Main pack-in one has a different material on the sticks – looks a bit rougher, feels a bit softer. Similar creakage on handles too.

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 14:41.
      • DJ Judas
        Since: Aug 2008

        Bang on, that’s exactly the same. Looks as though they worked out early on there were some issues.

        Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 14:48.
  7. jbni
    Since: Apr 2010

    The problem just happens with all those dirty dirty people who don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet. It’s your wee wee melting the rubber.

    Yes Peter, I’m talking about you.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:28.
    • lambchop
      Since: Aug 2013

      I believe this is 100% true. My rubbers are fine……

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 14:43.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Since: Jun 2009

      Always wear a rubber when on a one night stand. Do not wee into your rubber or you could have problems.

      This is what I gathered here.

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 15:22.
    • Peter Chapman
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      haha :D

      Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 15:22.
  8. Noxia
    Since: Jan 2014

    Mine started to have tiny flecks come off the left stick. I told Amazon UK who replaced the whole package with no quibble as they can’t replace a bundled item. I got the ORB protectors for the new one which is a win win as it protects and I’ve found my grip on the thumb sticks a lot better now.

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:31.
  9. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    That is a significant percentage but they can probably change the rubber material used without having to re-design the controller.. Although a re-design would allow them to change the LED so it isn’t always on.. :/

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:33.
  10. boeboe
    Since: Feb 2013

    The black ring……of DEATH!

    This poll lone deserves at least a response from Sony…run it past Shu yet?

    Comment posted on 24/01/2014 at 13:39.