Why Are PS4 Controllers So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

Sony continues to make waves in the gaming industry with next-gen PlayStation hardware and software, and PS4 controllers are not exempt from the upgrade.

If you are keen on enjoying PS4 controllers along with millions of other gamers, you might be surprised at the cost. Why are PS4 controllers so expensive? Here is what I found!

Why Are PS4 Controllers So Expensive?

PS4 controllers are expensive because Sony outsources the materials used for PS4 controllers, and the assembling process is complex. Consumers are unlikely to make repeat purchases annually, so Sony has to sell PS4 controllers at a higher price. Also, Sony profits mainly from PS4 accessories like controllers than the console itself.

If you are interested in learning more about the production and distribution of PS4 controllers and how PS4 controllers’ popularity affects prices, keep on reading!

1. PS4 Controller Hardware Are Made Of Expensive Materials

PS4 controllers need to be durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. So, to achieve the right combination of these elements, Sony has to use a specific grade of materials.

Additionally, PS4 controllers are primarily made of plastic, but plastic and materials like rubber tend to be costly because Sony outsources rather than produces its components.

Consequently, covering production costs requires driving up the selling price of PS4 controllers.

2. PS4 Controllers Are Difficult To Assemble

Each PS4 controller takes around one hour to assemble. Mainly, this is because the hardware must have the correct size and number of holes to fit the rest of the components.

After all, wires and other pieces cannot be forced into place, which could damage them. Essentially, anything less than a perfect fit can affect the PS4 controller’s precision.

Technically, items that take longer to produce are more expensive, which is why PS4 controllers are sold at a high price.

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3. PS4 Controllers Can Be Made By Third-Party Manufacturers

Sony has only four officially licensed PS4 pads, namely the Razer’s Raiju, Wired Compact pads, Nacon’s Revolution Pro, and the in-demand DualShock 4.

Apart from these, every other PS4 pad is made by third-party manufacturers, which explains why, when canvassing for PS4 controllers, you might notice drastic price differences.

Moreover, different manufacturers can come up with slightly different features in terms of connectivity, charging, and design, making PS4 controllers expensive.

4. PS4 Controllers Come With More Advanced Features

Generally, these advanced features are most applicable to Sony’s licensed pads, including the official PlayStation 4 controller, DualShock 4.

Generally, Dualshock 4 has more buttons and includes a touchpad that can respond to two fingers at a time. Moreover, Dualshock 4 has a gyroscope and an accelerometer.

Also, apart from the sports 3.5-mm headphone jack that makes surround sound more accessible, DualShock 4 has a host of other features that make gaming more immersive.

Therefore, Sony knows the value that such a controller brings to the gaming community and sells its controllers at a price that can compensate for that value.

5. PS4 Controllers Are Widely Popular

5. PS4 Controllers Are Widely Popular

Typically, manufacturers only reduce the price of products when they are no longer in high demand or if they plan to release a better version of the product.

To this day, that has not been the case with PS4 controllers.

That said, annual sales for PS4 controllers are still high, especially since gamers invest a lot in controllers that boost their performance.

Moreover, as long as consumers continue to support PS4 controllers or Sony decides to roll out better versions, you can expect that PS4 controllers will be as expensive as ever.

6. PlayStation Is Best Played With Friends

Gaming is fun alone, but nothing compares to the experience of beating your friends at a shooter game like Killzone, Overwatch, and Apex Legends.

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To do so, you need to have more controllers, and PS4 users usually max out the four available slots for controllers when buying extra.

Since PS4 controllers are not cheap, buying three more will make your final purchase much more expensive than you initially bargained for.

7. You Are Unlikely To Buy Controllers Multiple Times

Unless you are the type of person who destroys everything they touch, it is unlikely that your current PS4 controller will need replacing for a few more years.

Moreover, this is true even with the relentless pressing down and other abuses you might do to the controller to defeat the video game’s final boss.

Since this is the case, Sony has to sell PS4 controllers with enough margin to continue operations, which drives up the cost of PS4 controllers.

8. Sony Makes Money Through Accessories

It might surprise you that Sony does not make much money selling PlayStation consoles. Generally, this is because of the massive cost of building each unit.

Since Sony has to secure a profit somehow, it does it through the accessories that PlayStations come with, and the most profitable of them are PS4 controllers.

As a result, PS4 controllers are sold at a high price, and the cumulative cost of buying a pair or replacing them over the years can be more costly than the console.

9. Sony Has Monopoly On Controllers

While third-party manufacturers can produce PS4 controllers, Sony makes sure that only the licensed ones can fully utilize the PS4 consoles and provide a seamless experience.

That said, you will notice how smoothly the analog sticks of the original controllers work compared to others. Moreover, original controllers tend to have longer battery lives.

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Also, Sony has sub-patents for the technology used in its PlayStation consoles, controllers, and other accessories that make them expensive.

10. Reseller Markups Are High

Once PS4 controllers reach distributors, markups are placed on the controllers to cover the cost of selling them.

Depending on the store’s reputation, location, and branding, these markups can be moderate to extravagant.

Either way, you can expect resellers to make PS4 controllers more expensive.

11. Import Fees Add To Final Costs

Unless you are buying the PS4 controllers locally in Japan or where other third-party manufacturers are located, import fees are likely to increase the cost of each controller.

Further, this is especially true for countries that impose huge tariffs. Usually, the selling price is significantly higher once the PS4 controllers reach your location.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Xbox controllers are so expensive, why Joy-cons are so expensive, and why Mario Kart Wii is so expensive.

Conclusion

PS4 controllers can either be made by Sony or third-party manufacturers, explaining the differences in format and prices.

Regardless, PS4 controllers are expensive to make and assemble because any minor defect can prevent the PS4 controllers from functioning as intended.

However, Sony’s licensed PS4 controllers are pricier because of licensing and overall functionality. Likewise, this is the reason there is a higher demand for these controllers.

Alongside reseller markups, import fees, and the immense popularity of PS4 controllers, it becomes easier to understand why PS4 controllers are so expensive.

Author

  • Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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