A US law firm has filed a class action against Sony over alleged PlayStation 5 DualSense drift.
This week Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (CSK&D), the firm behind the ongoing class action against Nintendo over Joy-Con drift, asked affected customers to get in touch via an online form.
Clearly, that call to action did the trick. The DualSense lawsuit has now been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a plaintiff called Lmarc Turner, of Virginia, and other affected customers in the US against Sony Corporation of America and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
The complaint, filed on 12th February and seen by Eurogamer, claims the DualSense is "defective".
"Specifically, the DualSense controllers that are used to operate the PS5 contain a defect that results in characters or gameplay moving on the screen without user command or manual operation of the joystick.
"This defect significantly interferes with gameplay and thus compromises the DualSense controller's core functionality."
The complaint cites multiple online reports of DualSense drift on reddit and social media, including the tweet below that includes a clip of apparent drift while playing Rogue Company:
The complaint goes on to accuse Sony of being aware of this alleged DualSense drift via online consumer complaints, claims the company equipped the DualSense with "virtually the same analog components" as the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4, which reportedly also suffered from drift, and that options for repair are "slim".
"Customers are experiencing long wait times and having to deal with a maze of pre-recorded phone prompts before finally speaking with an agent concerning repairs for DualSense controller drift," reads the complaint, which points out customers must pay for shipping the controller to a Sony repair center even for in-warranty repairs.
Turner is said to have bought a PS5 on 5th February 2021 and experienced DualSense drift on the same day. He contacted Sony customer service and was advised to reset his console, which didn't work. Turner ended up buying another DualSense controller priced $69.99 a few days later.
"Had Plaintiff been aware of the drift defect prior to purchasing his PS5, he otherwise would not have purchased the PS5, or would have paid substantially less for it," reads the complaint.
The complaint claims Turner agreed to Sony's PlayStation terms of service and user agreement upon setup of his PS5, but wrote to Sony expressing his intent to opt out of resolving any disputes with the company through individual arbitration.
This is an important point in the context of CSK&D's ongoing case against Nintendo over Joy-Con drift. CSK&D filed a class action against Nintendo of America in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington back in 2019 over Joy-Con drift after a similar call for affected customers to get in touch. The Court compelled the case to arbitration, although it declined to dismiss the case. CSK&D says it's currently working to pursue the case through the arbitration process. Clearly, it's hoping to avoid going down that route with the DualSense case.
The complaint demands a jury trial, with the plaintiff seeking monetary relief "for damages suffered, declaratory relief, and public injunctive relief". Sony has yet to comment.
Dualsense Drift from r/PS5
Controller drift has become a significant issue in recent years. There's an ongoing class action against Microsoft for "stick drift" on Xbox One controllers, which also includes specific reference to the company's most recent Elite controller, the Elite Series 2.
And in January 2021, the European Commission confirmed plans to consider potential action against Nintendo over Joy-Con drift, prompted by calls for it to act from its own European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), which received more than 25,000 complaints from numerous countries.
Will you support Eurogamer?