A couple weeks back I read a post on Eurogamer titled How to upgrade your Dual Shock 4 – with Xbox One controller parts. My biggest take-away from the article was that a lot of people are having issues with the rubber grips on their PS4 controllers starting to degrade. Both the author of the post and some of the folks in the comments talk about the problem.
I checked my controllers and the rubber still looks sound to me. Maybe I’m naturally ‘gentle’ with my controllers or maybe it’s because I’m a bit OCD about washing my hands (Maybe the oil from your skin breaks down the rubber?) but for whatever reason, I haven’t had any issues yet (my controllers are both from the PS4 launch).
In reading the comments though, I learned that there are covers you can buy for controller sticks and they’re cheap enough that I decided to order them as a preventative measure. I settled on the Grip-iT Analog Stick Covers from Total Control and they cost about $5 for 4 of them.
They arrived earlier this week. It’s a dead simple product; just a little rubber cap. You turn it inside out, set it on top of a stick them flip it back right-side out and in doing so it wraps around the sides of the stick. I had to mash them around a wee bit to get them perfectly centered. They’re shaped like a rubber bottle cap, so they cover the top and sides of the stick but don’t extend to the underside at all. It took just a few seconds to install them.
The intent of the product is to give you better grip, not to protect the analog sticks. So do they help? Yeah, they seem to, at least a little bit. Sometimes if I’m pushing a stick in one direction for a long time (typically the left stick, when I’m running or something) my thumb will slowly slip and I’ll have to reposition it, which means the stick re-centers for a second. Does it really matter for a casual gamer like me? No, not really. But for $5 who can complain?
I guess if I had to complain about anything it’s that the grips come in 2 colors so one of my black controllers has blue stick tops now, but honestly I don’t care. If it really bothered me I could go all-out and spend $10 for two sets I guess. I do like that these are not PS4 specific so you can use the same covers on your Xbox sticks as well.
Over on Amazon there are some 1 & 2 star reviews that complain about the grips sliding around on the stick or even of the grips hitting the controller. Mine haven’t slipped yet but I still have the original rubber on them. I wonder if the slipping concerns are from people who have peeled off the original torn rubber tops? Either that, or the complaints are from gorilla gamers who really mash the stick around. If you’re a gorilla these might not be the right product for you. Of course maybe it’s you gorillas that need them in the first place. Like I said, none of my sticks show any wear and tear, and I use them pretty much every day.