A United States law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony, alleging that the DualSense controller of PS5 it is faulty due to the “drift” issue, as well as Sony being aware of the problem without disclosing it. The lawsuit calls Sony’s conduct “fraudulent, deceptive, illegal and unfair.”
Last week, we reported on an investigation into the DualSense “drift” issue by the law firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP (CSK & D). And now, the firm has formally filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In documents provided to IGN, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of plaintiff Lmarc Turner and “everyone else in a similar situation”, and names the defendants as Sony Corporation of America and Sony Interactive Entertainment. To the knowledge of IGN, this is the first lawsuit of its kind filed against Sony with respect to the DualSense; but it might not be the last.
The complaint describes the DualSense as “defective”, since it contains “a defect that causes game characters to move on the screen without the user moving them by using the joystick”, popularly known as “drift”. In addition, the complaint alleges that Sony has been aware of the problems with the drift, “Through consumer complaints on the Internet, complaints made by consumers directly to it, and through its own pre-launch testing.”.
The lawsuit also alleges that Sony’s options for driver repair are too limited: “When consumers experience the drift defect, repair options are slim. Sony PlayStation’s dedicated portal for PS5 hardware issues, including the DualSense controller, is reportedly experiencing a lag and redirects consumers to contact a customer service agent via the contact page for PlayStation support. Customers are experiencing long wait times and have to deal with a maze of prerecorded phone messages before finally speaking to a agent about drift repairs for the DualSense controller. “.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and “monetary compensation for damages suffered, declaratory compensation and redress by public court order.”. The documents point to charges of excess warranty breach, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unfair enrichment, and violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Virginia-based plaintiff Lmarc Turner reportedly purchased his PS5 around February 5, 2021, and discovered he was suffering from drift on the same day. Turner apparently contacted Sony customer service and was told to restart the game and console, but did not offer further assistance. The problem was not solved, Turner bought a second DualSense. “If the plaintiff had known of the drift defect before purchasing his PS5”, add the documents, “I would not have bought the PS5 or paid substantially less for it.”.
One interesting additional detail: Turner admits to agreeing to Sony’s terms and conditions when setting up the PS5, but apparently sent a letter to Sony expressing his intention to opt out of participating in “any dispute with Sony through individual arbitration”. A separate CSK & D class action lawsuit against Nintendo regarding the Joy-Con drift was recently submitted to arbitration before going to court. A similar move may not be possible in this case, making it more likely to make it to the requested jury trial.
Aside from Turner’s report, the docs show a number of examples of comments on social media regarding the PS5 drift, with players complaining about the issue. CSK & D also points to reports of drift on the PS4’s Dualshock 4 controllers, given that the controls within both controller models are similar, so CSK & D adds that to their evidence of Sony’s prior knowledge of the problem.
The lawsuit says that “there are no signs” Sony has developed a solution for drifting in the DualSense: “Rather, it appears that it is just doing some kind of minor refresh and shipping the DualSense controller back to consumers who are still faulty and susceptible to future manifestation.”.
The lawsuit seeks redress in the form of an order to stop the “illegal, deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices” from Sony, the establishment of a free replacement or recall program for DualSense controllers, compensatory damages and more.
IGN has contacted Sony for comment on the lawsuit.
In any case, drifting has become an increasingly hot topic in recent years. Without going any further, Nintendo itself is now facing official scrutiny and lawsuits around the world, including an investigation by the European Commission.