It seems that an issue that we as part of the latest generation of console gamers have to put up with is early wear and tear on our beloved controllers. There have been reported issues with this dating back to the launch of the consoles and in particular the PlayStation 4. Many people could be found on social media sites complaining about the rubber tops of the analogue sticks coming apart and tearing. Sony does have a replacement program in place if you wanted to go through the rigmarole of finding out what to do and then sending your controller away to be repaired or replaced and sent back to your hands.
One option is to buy a set of analogue stick covers. These are caps that go over the top of the analogue sticks to either replace the damaged tops or to protect yours if they are lucky enough to still be intact. After an unfortunate time where one of my controllers was lent out to someone and came back with the rubber separating I decided that I would pick up a set of stick covers. Now there are a wide selection of these products out on the market with a wide selection of prices to go along with them. I decided to give UK based retailer Game a chance with their GameWare series of products.
One reason I chose GameWare is that as a leading high street retailer (pretty much the last dedicated high street games retailer) you would hope and expect that their gaming accessories would be of a good quality and would hold up to heavy use. Another reason was the price. As ive said before, the prices for these analogue stick covers can vary depending on company for what seems to be pretty much the same kind of product. I picked up a set of these rubber caps for £4.99. This seemed to be a reasonable price to me for what they were and considering the pack contained two sets and I had two controllers to protect I felt this was pretty much a no brainer.
The first thing I noticed when looking at these caps is that the two sets are actually different. The pattern and therefore the grippyness (if that’s a word) is different. One set has a smoother ringed feel to it while the second set has a series of protruding knobs which stand out more than the first set. When in use they do feel different. I didn’t think it would make too much difference but you can tell which you are using straight away and may cause gamers to prefer one set over the other. I actually found myself picking one set over the other depending on what game I was playing. I preferred the smoother surfaced ones for driving games and similar while I preferred the rougher, more grippy feeling ones for platform and action style games but this may be just me so I would recommend anyone who gets them to try both sets and see what you have a personal preference for if any at all.
Fitting them was a bit of a pain in the ass but then again you should expect them to be really. They are designed to sit on top of the analogue sticks firmly and not slide about so they need to have a tight fit. This unfortunately means that there is little give in the small caps so fitting them over the originals is a fiddley affair especially if you are placing them over the original rubbers that have been damaged. Trying to get all the original rubber inside the edges of the new caps without having any of the old rubber sticking out of the sides was fiddley but it wasn’t exactly frustrating to the point of giving up or throwing the controller and we all know how some gamers have a fondness for that when they aren’t getting their way!
I’ve been using these analogue stick covers now for a couple of months as I wanted to give them a good road test as it would be very easy for a product like this that get used most days for a few hours at a time to fall apart quickly. I’m happy to say that these haven’t. They are in as good a shape now as the day they were bought. They did make the finger position on the sticks feel a bit higher than usual but that is probably more due to finger familiarity with the controller than anything else but you do have to realise that you are placing something on top of the sticks so they will feel different for a short time. The feel is fine on both sets, I haven’t had any issues with the caps slipping or falling off.
When in use the caps feel comfortable enough. They don’t feel like the original tops of the joypad but these aren’t designed to be replica replacements. You will know they are there whenever you pick up the controller but you soon forget they are there once you get down to playing. During the test I didn’t notice any untoward rubbing on either the rubber or the skin on my fingers.
For the price I can say that these analogue stick covers are a great buy. Firm and dependable and exactly what you would look for if you need to replace or protect the rubbers on your trusted joypad sticks. There really isn’t much I can say about these other than I am happy with them, I would happily recommend them to anyone who had a similar issue with their analogue sticks as I did. The price is good for two sets. There you go, a simple solution to an increasing gamers problem. It’s almost mathematical,
Damaged Analogue Stick + GameWare Analogue Stick Covers = Happy Gamer