By SgtLonsdale 1 Comments
I’ve had so many highs and lows with controllers in the last few years that a friend joked I should make a blog about it.
I first got a Xbox 360 in 2008. I’m now on my third (the previous two sold through circumstance, not hardware failures) and I’ve been followed with a problem that will not stop - Drifting Analog Sticks
I first noticed this playing Bioshock. I bought a black controller as an extra with my first 360, and with it I found my aim would slowly start creeping to the right. I took the controller back for an exchange, and the replacement repeated the problem on the left stick. Curiously, the controller that came with the console didn’t have this problem.
Even with new controllers, certain sticks will not spring back to their neutral resting place. Some games define a ‘dead zone’ so that the stick has a little bit of give before the game starts reacting. Bioshock, Mass Effect and Rage are the three games that have drawn my attention to this problem, perhaps with smaller dead zones, and serve as my go-to test environments for any new controller.
The second time I bought a 360, I came across two 360 controllers with the same problem, and was eventually able to get a driftless one. This was all pre-360S.
My third 360 is a competition prize Gears of War edition, with two themed controllers. These include the new rotating d-pad (kinda useless, more on that later). These controllers both seemed drift free (My Bioshock test procedure naturally happened on day one), and my last bout of financial insecurity took me down to one controller. 6 months on, it’s now drifting slightly in Rage on the right stick. I bought a new 360 Wireless controller (with the new but non rotating d-pad and the completely black design) and there was drift on the left stick. I sent this back and bought the new edition of wired controller, and no drift! Sadly, the left stick started squeaking one day in, but I quickly opened it up and some silicon lubricant fixed that problem.
This does give me a little cause for concern in the future, if every stick will one day drift, and makes me wonder if this will persist with the next generation of Xbox. I’ve returned an (estimated) total of 6 controllers over this issue, enough to make me wonder if I missed one! My advice is either stay unaware, or buy wired - I have bought 3 wired 360 controllers, and none of those have displayed any drift as of yet - that’s a 6/6 success rate on sticks!*
I haven’t seen any major articles about this issue. I don’t know if I’ve been lucky with consoles in the past (as I’ve never experienced this problem before), and I hope that this is being noticed by Microsoft. The fact that new generation controllers are still doing this out of the box is not encouraging.