PS4’s DualShock 4 Controller Wastes 4+ Hours Of Battery Life On Feature Devs Don’t Use @yosp

PS4 DualShock 4 Battery Life

Red Bar of Death… just kidding! 🙂


Rumor: Sony’s DualShock 4 Getting Increased Battery Life

PlayStation 4’s new controller is amazing. The DualShock 4 is more accurate, capable, and powerful in every way compared with the tried and trusted DualShock 3 of the PlayStation 3 era. The addition of a touchpad, more comfortable triggers, universal (Android-style) micro-USB charging port, headphones jack, and light-bar for PlayStation 4 Eye support are equally as awesome.

But there’s one problem. Whereas the DualShock 3 could last you perhaps 8-13 hours of battery life (I find myself charging them less than once per day usually, at times less than once per two days), the DualShock 4 comes in at an extremely disappointing 4-5 hours of battery life.

I literally recharge this thing 3-4 times a day when I’m playing a lot and at least twice on a light gaming session. How is this possible you ask? The light bar (obviously) is completely and exclusively to blame for this. While I mention above that it’s a great addition to the controller, there is no option to turn this obnoxiously power-sucking light off. Unless I need it for local co-op, PlayStation 4 Eye-enabled games or even games that use it for a cool new feature like tracking me while I’m playing for enhanced realism in the gameplay of PS4 games – then why am I powering it?

PS4 Controller Battery Life Sucks

Don’t get me wrong the Transistor game brings a sexy teal color to it.

I already run a lot of things in my house that require juice. My PC tower, my laptops, computer monitors, televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, clocks, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, portable gaming systems when they need charge, smartphones when they need charge, routers, modems, security systems, and that’s just what I can recall off of the top of my head. Last time I checked we had a few light bulbs around here too.

Another problem that comes to mind is the fact that Lithium iON batteries are eventually going to cease holding a charge. This hasn’t happened very often for me with SixAxis and DualShock 3 controllers on PS3, but it’s happened. Each time that it happened, I felt I got well worth the value out of the life of my PS3 controller’s battery. With PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 though, I can almost guarantee you I’m going to rage when the day comes that it starts suddenly only hosting gameplay for 3 hours… then 2 hours… then dies. I’ll know it died way too soon and immediately curse Sony for making me power the light bar even when I wasn’t using it AT ALL.

PS4 Controller LEDs Suck

Testing…1..2..3… wow is this thing seriously consuming that much?

The fact is the PS4 Eye is great. It’s a lot like the Sony version of Kinect, and holding a controller while being tracked (with the addition of an accelerometer inside the controller) can and will eventually provide us with incredibly deep gameplay experiences. Nobody knows what they are yet, but I honestly believe in the tech and its potential. Unfortunately there’s nothing right now making it worth half the battery life of my controller.

Please Yoshida and Sony team, do not keep up this madness. I realize you have to prioritize patches and what features you’ll be including in them – but do this one soon.

Before March 2014 I’d like to be able to say to my friends and to myself, Sony cares about the gamers so they made the Light Bar optional or automatically turn on when you need it – or SOMETHING instead of saying “PS4’s great… but the controller dies a million times a week but yeah don’t worry about that!”. Thank you, sincerely a fan.

PS4 Power Saving Settings

This is where we need a fourth option: turn off Light Bar.

  • RolyRetro

    What a waste of time – I like a nice pointless light but not if it renders the controller unusable! Hope this is fixed in later patches and just gets turned off.


  • Clash115

    Although it does irk me with the battery life. I do actually like the light bar, especially in games like killzone and ghosts where it gives a better representation of your health. There should be a on and off feature which I could see Sony doing with a patch very soon. The controller is a breath of fresh air, the way it fits into your hands, and grips is amazing, and the triggers are a big improvement. I use to use my Xbox controller for pc games but now I’ve been using my dualshock 4 almost exclusively.

  • kevthekiller13

    Well it is a pretty bad design flaw but if that’s the worst then I don’t think playstation have much to worry about! As it is very easy to change! And a lot of my friends went through dualshock 3 controllers quickly as it was!

  • JasonH

    yea I would have to agree that the light bar is not what it could be… was it done this way because they were rushing to get things done? It seems that this is the only design flaw that people have a problem with which is a good thing then….having said that, I think a little more testing and thought could have gone into this… battery life may not seem like a big issue to some but why throw money into something that often when with a little more time put into designing it this could have been a perfect controller..I apologize for my odd writing style, this is just how my thought process works…

  • Kevin Bell

    There are 2 things that come to mind when I read this, with the first being the obvious, “They’ll patch it soon, it was just an onersight during development and they didn’t get around to it.” I hope that its true and it’s not something hardware related where it can’t be patched out. I honestly think that it just stems from the fact that both the PS4 and XB1 were both released before they were truly ready, but that’s just me.

    The other thing is about what you were saying about some games not using the PS4 Eye. It reminds me of some interviews and articles I read when the XB1 was announced to include the Kinect and people were raging about how no one wants or will use Kinect, and also the later revelation that the Eye was originally supposed to come with the PS4, but they dropped to lower the price under the XB1. Essentially, it was a lot of developers saying that since everyone with an XB1 will have Kinect, there’s now more incentive to develop for it. The Kinect 2.0 will have an almost guaranteed higher install base than the PS4 Eye, so with the exception to multiplatform games, there will be less incentive to make games compatible with the Eye.

    Take, for example, the amount of games that use the Kinect 1 on 360 and the Eye on the PS3 and PSP. It’s minimal and only used for things that don’t really do much save for a few cases like NBA 2K13 unless the game was developed for the for it like Wreckateer or Invizimals. Then compare the amount of games that use the PS Move to games that use the Wii Remote on the Wii. Love it or hate it, it forced developers, and gamers, to step out of their comfort zone and do something different.

    Anyway, the point I wanted to make before I got horribly off-topic is that, if Sony is not going to allow you to turn off the sensor bar on the controller, they need to make the bar much more useful and integrated like the Kinect is on the XB1. But I’m sure that with more PS4 Eye’s sold, more companies will develop to include it, and then you won’t be as angry about the sensor being on all the time.

  • evaus

    Change your power setting to 10 mins and it will last a lot longer. If he opened the controller and disconnected the light bar and it lasted longer than he has a point. But until someone does, they are just guessing that the light bar is the problem.

    • I have the 10 minute power saver setting turned on with mine but I’m experiencing similar low battery life as Mitch. I think he said he’s going to write a part two to this addressing the touch pad power usage vs the light bar power usage, I’ll let him know you guys want more scientific data. Thank you for your comment! -J

  • Anders

    I’ve noticed that the controller drains quicker when playing Killzone, which I’m guessing is due to the game using all of the Dualshock 4’s features. Still long enough for me to get a couple of hours in though before I need to recharge. Could always get a longer USB cable so you can play while charging. Although I’ve noticed the input into the controller is smaller than standard USB and not sure if they’re as readily available in stores as standard USB.

    • Normal USB Extenders still work since the plug into the PS4’s end is the same, however gaming constantly plugged in usually kills the battery’s ability to hold a charge.

  • Jesse Obscure

    I have always enjoyed that PlayStation has never budged on design with regards to their controllers, they basically designed a pretty ascetically perfect template and waited it out until technology evolved in a way that it was essential to add some features and I think they handled the change in the physical aspects pretty well but it seems the mechanics weren’t primed to handle the overhaul.

    I think they were going for the allure and all, the next PS gen will be awhile and I would think they just wanted to design it to still look up to date with whatever technology we have 6 years from now.

    I also think its pretty brave to not look at something like battery life as a customer care issue, I don`t know why you couldn’t take something like the concept of a backlight in a watch and use it rather than installing a lightsaber.

    I`m sure in 6 months someone will be hawking unlicensed booster packs for them on ebay, assuming Sony doesn’t offer a solution other than second stage remotes that feature X% more battery life.

  • jklees

    In addition to it sacking the battery, which truly sucks. I like to play in the dark most of the time and I don’t want what is basically at this point an ambient light shining from my controller towards my projection screen. Definitely need a shut off option.

  • Uh-oh-Spaghetti-Os

    You would think by now that the battery life would have improved, not gotten worse. I have a Wii U with a Wii U Pro Controller, and it lasts up to 80 hours before needing another charge. In all fairness, there’s no motion/lights etc, but if it did I’m sure it’d still get about a 50 or 60+, and the battery appears to be smaller than this PS4 controller’s. So really, what gives? They have the technology, but are they just waiting to re-release the stronger battery?

  • Starkium

    As far as I’m aware, since the light is only a set if LED lights it shouldn’t actually draw too much power. It’s almost trivial to bring it up. It’s not just don’t that has battery “issues” lately. I’ve noticed a trend in a lot if companies recently where they are opting for the battery holding less charge, but retain its charge-ability over a longer period of time. You can see the evidence in things like the newer iphone 5 models keeping the same battery “size” and also in things like my new afterglow headphones. They are supposedly suppirior to turtle beaches in everyway yet the went with a battery that holds only 10 hours of charge whilst the beaches holds 24. I can harsh tee I won’t have to replace my afterglows before I would have to replace the turtles. I’m not a fanboy of either brand, just trying to make a relevant comparison.

  • ducknet79

    Yeah… this is a HUGE problem and they’re idiots wasting batteries like that just to show off a pretty light, I actually find it distracting and would prefer it turned off even if the battery thing wasn’t a problem. Fair enough when it’s needed for use with a camera, but that shouldn’t take priority over common sense. PLEASE SONY – LISTEN TO YOUR FANS AND CUSTOMERS!!!

  • Ratchet426

    I think you are making a pretty big assumption that the light bar is eating 50% of the battery power. Afterall, the DS3 also has an “always on” LED in the form of the red controller # indicator, and while it is arguably less bright than the DS4 LED I doubt the power draw between the two are all that different (remember the DS4 light looks a lot bigger and brighter because if the large plastic diffuser on the front of the controller. The LED itself is no bigger than the similar part in the DS3.

    Point being, the real reason for the 50-75% shorter battery life in the DS4 is that Sony for some reason used a 1000Mah battery instead of the 1800Mah battery in the DS3. If you swap in a battery from a DS3 (it’s the same voltage and physical size, just higher Mah capacity) the DS4 has essentially the same playtime between charging.

    I agree there should be an option to turn off the DS4 light bar if it isn’t being used in a game, but I doubt that would improve battery life by more than a few minutes.

  • Hubr1s

    The DS4 kinda gets on my nerves having only about four hours play life unplugged. Still whilst Sony fixes this problem go get yourself a USB extension cable and play with it plugged in like I do.

    • The battery will be pretty much useless in a matter of months if you leave it constantly plugged in – but yeah, that seems to be the only recourse besides buying a second controller to put them in rotation.

  • Danny

    I love the amount of rage over the light despite the fact Sony stated that it used an insignificant amount of power.