The Playstation 5 Controller 🎮
Over the past year, I've noticed the dexterity in hands eroding. My left thumb in particular has seemed weaker and would on occasion ache. I wrote this off as just one of those random aches you sometimes get, until two months ago when the ache turned into a full-on pain.
I was shocked, because I've been working on increasing my grip strength and I had been using the type of strengthening ball they give to stroke patients to try and increase mobility in fingers and wrist. I realized the pain occurred after using my phone for an extended period of time and then more specifically, using my Playstation 5 controller.
I'm not a marathon gamer or anything, but I do play thirty minutes here and there. I was playing Robocop when this pain began and as I looked down at the controller, I was shocked to see just how far my thumb was extended and even worse, the angle it was at when I had to press in the left joystick to run.
I decided to hope online and buy a new controller with a more ergonomic placement of the joystick, but sadly, Playstation has blocked third party controllers from being produced outside of a couple $200 Pro controllers.
A quick Kagi search led me to dozens of articles and posts where people talked about the Playstation controller causing similar thumb issues and pain, and I figured between getting older, using my phone a bit more and then extending my thumb in such an unnatural position, I'd done this to myself.
I bought a thumb brace to stabilize the thumb, adjusted how I used my phone, and took time off from video games. I finally came back to gaming while wearing the thumb brace and using the joystick like an arcade joystick, which was not very accurate nor fun to play with.
After a few more weeks, it started to feel normal again. So, I began to monitor it while using PS5. I could finish up the Robocop game (after switching the run input for the R3 instead of the L3 sticks), I could play Mad Max (you run by pulling the right trigger), but FIFA caused some pain. Then a couple of nights ago, I played two rounds of blast in Battlefront II, and I noticed it felt... uncomfortable. So, I stopped, and then the next morning, the pain was back in full force.
I'm not going to rant here, and I do love the Playstation 5 controller, but it’s clear to anyone holding the controller that this design is not good for your hands.
I decided to buy a PS5 over the Xbox Series X because I'd primarily played my PS4 last generation. I'd invested in so many games it was hard to imagine needing to buy them all over. But after dealing with this thumb issue and realizing their new accessibility controller isn't going to work for me, I'm really out of options. So last night, I took advantage of the $150 off at Best Buy at bought an Xbox Series X.
I'm still going to need more time off to let my thumb heal back up and I'm not 100% convinced this is going to be a fix, but the one thing I do know is the Xbox controller doesn't make me hold my thumb down at a strange angle every moment of every game and I think that in itself is going to be a relief.