Grip-It are rubber covers for video game controller analogue sticks. They are compatible with a range of consoles such as Xbox 360, Xbox One PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. After reading multiple reports of gamer’s PS4 DualShock 4 controllers suffering from accelerated wear and tear, especially on the analogues, Grip-It were brought to my attention through recommendation.
Multiple PS4 owners had complained online of the rubber on their analogue sticks had started to wear down from the plastic stick underneath, causing a loss of texture on the rubber and worse-case scenario completely tearing from the controller.
It’s hard to pin down a precise cause of this accelerated wear of the rubber, could it be heavy-handed gaming or perhaps inferior material used in manufacture? I had noticed that in the few months of being a PS4 owner, the textured rubber on my left analogue stick had started to become smoother in comparison to the right. I own two controllers and it seemed to be the case on both. Nothing significant but perhaps an early warning sign. Whatever the reason, this had piqued my attention and paranoia alike, making this a factor in my decision to buy protective caps.
My other, and primary reason, is the design of the DualShock 4. You may recall my First Impressions of PS4
piece I wrote, detailing my first time hands-on experience of PS4 at EuroGamer Expo 2013. I said that I found the new controller comfortable, which is largely true but after owning a PS4 for several months now and becoming accustomed to its shape I still find the concave analogues just too different to get used to. Being used to the larger, rounded, convex analogues for well over a decade with PS2 and 3 these smaller one on DualShock 4 seems just a little too alien to me. I can’t seem to find that sweet spot where my thumbs can comfortably stay without being me conscious of their whereabouts whilst gaming.
I find a good controller blurs the line between hands and hardware, making you feel unaware of you holding a plastic object, allowing you to “feel” the game rather than feel like controlling it remotely. It may sound weird but it’s hard to put in to words that “unawareness” of a well-designed, ergonomic controller you feel (or don’t feel) when immersed in a game. It should feel like an extension of you. This aside, I couldn’t quite get comfortable putting my thumb in the center or on its thin lipped edge. I had to find something to change this.
Grip-It (or Total Control) is a US-based company, I bought the covers from Amazon US and had them imported to the UK. I purchased a pack of four covers: two pairs for two controllers for around £5 combined with shipping it set me back £10, which when I weighed it up, prolonging the life of two £50 DualShock 4 controllers is a negligible cost.
They apply in a snap. You turn them inside-out, place them atop the analogues and pull them down, over and with slight adjusting and tugging at the sides you’re done in seconds. The rubber is of a good quality: thick and have considerably more “grip” than the rubber on the DualShock 4. They have a nice design of a tree frog’s hand, which incidentally is part of their branding and also provides grooves to grip to.
I find that the Grip-It covers level out the DualShock 4 analogues, filling in the concave dip and making them feel much better. I played through all of InFamous Second Son, clocking about 15 hours of analogue-heavy gameplay and they took my mind off the controller. Where as before I’d be struggling to find the sweet spot to lay my thumbs, worrying about pushing too hard, now comfortably placed in the center, grip increased by the frog hand design and even holding on to the dreaded “sweaty gamer hands”. The covers also make the surface area larger and the outer lip thicker, further increasing comfort, spreading your applied pressure evenly across the top of the stick. They come in a variety of colours which are available through their website however I purchases their standard blue/black pack from Amazon.
If you are like me and can’t quite find comfort in newer designs or are perhaps you’re a hardcore FPS player, sinking hours a day into Battlefield/Call of Duty putting your analogues through their paces or feel your thumbs are too large for the smaller sticks, then I highly recommend Grip-It.