Get A Grip With PS4 Thumb Sticks

The standard Dreamcast controller comes in for a lot of flack whenever people struggle to find something more worthwhile to moan about. In days gone by, the youth of the day would complain about torrid working conditions down the local coal mine; or losing an arm running between looms in the textile mill where three generations of the same family lived, worked and died. These days though, it's all about the lack of dual analog sticks, where the wire protrudes, or - woe betide - that the sides of the controller are too sharp and cut into ones hands with extended use.

However, it has been brought to my attention that another complaint about the humble Dreamcast controller can henceforth be struck from the record books like the aforementioned orphan's rights to a scrap of stale bread after a 30 hour shift on the coal face: slippery analog sticks. Thanks to a gentleman by the name of James, you too can now bask in the knowledge that your convex, weathered analog stick can be replaced with the grippy, concave nubbin designed to be used in the PlayStation 4's Dual Shock 4 controller:

James went to the trouble of demonstrating this very quick and easy modification via the new-fangled medium of photography (it'll never catch on), and explained that he chose a neon orange stick to compliment the swirl of his native US Dreamcast. I've yet to try this myself, but James assures me that the comfort and added levels of control are several magnitudes above what you can expect from the standard analog sprig. I have no reason to doubt him and have ordered a set of white ones from eBay to fit to a Dreamcast controller, so that I may experience this heightened comfort first hand. Thanks to James for the info and let us know in the comments if you've tried this yourself.

Right, I'm off to put a shift in on the local spinning jenny. See you in 30 hours.


  1. I tried this with one of my controllers a while back, and I got mixed feelings about it.

    For one, despite seeming like a simple swap of the thumb sticks, I actually needed to file down some of the pole that the thumb stick goes on to in order to make it fit.

    Then, (as seen in the last picture) when you turn the stick all the way, a gap becomes visible because the PS4 stick isn't as big as the DC one.

    And my biggest problem: because the stock of the PS4 stick is quite a bit thicker, you can't turn the stick as far as with the normal DC stick. In some games that might not matter, but when I was playing Ooga Booga with it, I couldn't make the character run backward (toward the screen) despite turning the PS4 stick downward as far as it could go. It only registered as running if I had it at a very certain angle (probably straight down), but as soon as I turned the stick a few degrees left/right, it only registered as walking.

    I haven't really tested it with other games but just something to keep in mind. I personally prefer using a concave thumb cap with the DC controller.

  2. Thanks for your detailed comment, Tamas. It's good to know how the 'mod' actually performs when being used to play games.

  3. No problem. I tried it because my thumb does occasionally slip off the DC stick, and the PS4 stick seemed to fix that. While it definitely fixed the slipping problem and feels great to use, seems like it has its disadvantages.

    Tho after finding out that it's not the best for Ooga Booga, I returned to the normal DC stick with a thumb cap on it and never tested the PS4 stick mod with other games, besides Sonic Adventure 2 maybe. So who knows, maybe Ooga Booga is the only game affected by it. =P

  4. Has anyone tried using one of those analog stick toppers? The (usually) rubberized thing that slips over the top of analog sticks? They're obviously designed for sticks on the X360/XOne/PS3/4, but it'd be nice if those can be used on the DC as well (I don't see why not).

    1. I've tried those - they're generally too big because the top the the Dreamcast analog stick is really thin. The protectors just spin around and fall off.

  5. Good to know. I won't be buying any of those then lol

  6. Someone should design and 3D print a new stick that fits perfectly in place of the old one but has a top like the PS4 stick, lol. Tho I assume it would be brittle/fragile as hell.

  7. Hey, guys. James here. I'm the one who took the pics and sent them to Tom. I should reiterate that it's important to know that it may depend where you get your PS4 thumbsticks from as there seems to be some discrepancies with the molds some sites use.

    I ordered some from HONG KONG that had the same problem as Tamas, in that they sat too high and would have needed to be filed down. However, I gave it another go and got a set from EP-GAME-SUPPLY on EBAY and they fit and worked perfectly for both of my controllers.

    I just fired up OOGA BOOGA to check what Tamas stated and I was able to walk towards the screen no problem. The last picture does indeed show a slight gap when fully tilted but this doesn't affect functionality in any way, it just seems that the Dreamcast thumbsticks have an unusually large dome base to them which hang lower than any other thumbsticks I've seen, so that small gap is purely cosmetic.

    Anyway, hope this helps anyone interested. Honestly, I can't go back to the old thumbsticks after having used these for the last couple of months. Here's the link to EP-GAME-SUPPLY if anyone wants it. For $3.50 a pair, it's a pretty small risk if you're on the fence and can be swapped back out in 2 minutes if you're not a fan. Cheers.

  8. Good to know there are discrepancies, as I read from others as well that for them it was just a simple swap, yet what I got just didn't fit. At least now I know for sure why.

    In Ooga Booga I said I couldn't RUN towards the screen, as it only registered as slower walking. But I just checked it again out of curiosity with my PS4 stick moded controller, and now it worked perfectly, registered as running as it should, all the time with every character. I remember very well that wasn't the case about a year ago when I did the mod, but now there seems to be no problem. Weird..

    I still stand by that the stick can't move as far with the PS4 stick than with the standard DC stick, but maybe the games are not programmed to be that sensitive about it.

    So I guess I'll stick with the PS4 stick again, since it really does feel a lot better than the DC one. :P

  9. Anyone tried an Xbox One stick swap?

  10. Does anyone have a well-fitting Dreamcast thumbstick cover to recommend?

  11. why not use these?

  12. Well as others had pointed out, and from my own personal experience, the PS4-style covers like the ones linked are ill-fitting and easily come off. And if they do manage to stay on, they tend to restrict the full range of motion of the stick.

  13. I've been using thumb caps made for the Xbox One. I measured the diameter of both thumbsticks, Xbox One measures 16.31mm and the Dreamcast measures 16.34mm. The Xbox does have a much thicker edge compared to the Dreamcast, but the Dreamcast has a convex center compared to the concave center of the Xbox thumbstick. The PS4 has a diameter of 17.82mm, not sure if those universal grips would work. The Universal grips for the 360 and PS3 as mentioned above are too large. The 360/18.40mm and the PS3/18.48mm.
    The grips I have been using are: HC Gamerlife Xbox One No Sweat Close Thumb Sticks Grips and AceShot Thumb Grips for the Xbox One. Both available from Amazon/USA. HC Gamerlife grips come in black and AceShot offers six color variations. Both are specific/marked to the Xbox One, but work with the Dreamcast.
    You can twist the caps with slight effort, but no different than on the Xbox One. They will not come off unless you peel them off. They don't spin on me while playing, but honestly have not spent a lot of time testing them to see how well they wear.
    The HC Gamerlife grips have a little more silicone material on the underside and took a little more effort to install, but do not interfere with the sticks range of motion.
    HC Gamerlife and AceShot offer extended (taller) grips, but tend to limit the range of motion of the stick as they have more silicone on the underside of the thumb pad.

  14. Surprisingly the xbox one controller thumb grips that you buy from gamestop fit perfectly no slip grip and they do not fall off one bit

  15. Thumb grips for the Switch, such as these ones: are a great fit!