We own a handful of PS4 DualShock 4 (DS4) controllers, and two of them are showing signs of the left thumbstick rubber wearing off after only a few months of usage. After some Googling, it seems that the problem affects many PlayStation 4 users around the world.
The left analogue stick is used for sprinting in games like FIFA, Battlefield, Call of Duty, and other FPS games. It is therefore no surprise affected users are experiencing more wear on their left analogue stick’s rubber.
The severity of wear and damage varies widely. Minor cases start with the DS4 thumbstick rubber losing its rough texture. The other spectrum sees stock rubber splitting down to the plastic or detaching/peeling off altogether.
"The sticks on the PS4 controller I've had for 2 weeks have already worn down to the plastic" Cayos Reddit.com
"The left stick started to show wear a few weeks ago and now the rubber started to peel off." Blazergamer PSU.com
"Honestly I tore the rubber off the analogs like a month ago and have been way happier." MarkKozelek GameFAQs.com
Numerous blogs, forums, and articles show people posting their frustrations with the analog sticks, with Reddit.com user the1youh8 posting “I've been playing with the DS4 for less than 2 weeks, and the rubber thumbsticks gave way. FIFA 14 and COD:Ghosts are hard on the thumbsticks but still.”.
anthonyzp posted on whirlpool.net.au saying “Two weeks use and a little bit already worn away where you see the black plastic underneath the grip material!”.
More complaints are on the official PlayStation forums, with boopiebear2 posting “The rubber on the analog sticks are kinda crappy. One is already wearing off, wow. I expected better quality from Sony.”
Surprisingly, comments from Sony representatives have been few and far between, with the only significant statement being reported by Azhar from egmr.net in early 2014 when he contacted Ster Kinekor Entertainment (official PlayStation Distributor in South Africa). He received this reply from their PR account manager:
“A very small number of users have reported to us that the rubber surface of their Wireless Controller (DUAKSHOCK®4)’s analogue sticks have torn. Although the rubber material of the analogue sticks fulfils our quality assurance standard, we will inspect individual DUALSHOCK®4 controllers experiencing this symptom, and will replace them with new ones for free as long as they are within the warranty.”
With all the commotion caused by this issue, Thesixthaxis.com also ran a poll to gauge the percentage of affected users. Their 2014 poll showed that 37.52% out of the 6,253 respondents had noticeable signs of the DualShock 4 wearing off and/or tearing on their controllers.
37.52% (27.57% + 9.95%) is indeed a worrying figure, and we are guessing Sony PlayStation are aware of this issue, as users have started noticing a different rubber material on the newer batches of DS4’s. Information about this however has been very sketchy as there has been no official release yet.
All affected users are advised to note that most PS4 DS4 controllers are covered by a one year manufacturer warranty. Therefore, users are encouraged to return defective controllers to their respective retailers with proof of purchase for a replacement, or by contacting local Sony support for a fix and solution.
In any case, we wouldn’t suggest you risk your AUD80-100 investment even if it still under warranty. Many users are now installing thumbstick grip covers to protect the stock rubber. Grip-iT thumbstick covers are purpose-made for that, and a very cheap fix. Designed to protect and prevent further wear and damage to the analog sticks, they are a simple and proven method to help tremendously.
One caveat is if your stock rubber has completely detached (only plastic remaining), then thumbstick covers might be loose. In this case you can use fillers such as double sided tape or skid protectors (the one used under furniture legs), before wrapping the Grip-iT over the thumbstick, or replace the whole thumb stick before installing the grips.
Protect your DS4's, and make sure it doesn’t end up like this: