What is Controller Deadzone?

What is controller deadzone
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    What is deadzone?

    Controller deadzone is the amount your control stick can move before it’s recognized in game.

    The bigger the deadzone the more the stick can move before it registers an input. A low deadzone is more responsive, a subtle touch will result in an input, on the flip side, if your controller is a little worn or the sticks are a little loose it could lead to drift.

    Larger deadzones trade off slower responsiveness to avoid accidental inputs.

    Switch controller deadzone settings

    Unfortunately you cannot adjust deadzone settings system wide on the Nintendo Switch. Some games allow for deadzone adjustment but there’s no system wide tuning. That goes for both Joycons and Pro Controller.

    Xbox controller deadzone adjustment

    Xbox Elite Deadzone adjustment

    The Xbox Elite controller has system wide deadzone settings. You’ll find the option under Settings > Devices & Accessories, then select your Elite controller and then adjustments.

    There are no deadzone adjustments for regular Xbox controllers though, so you’ll have to rely on in-game deadzone settings.

    Warzone deadzone settings

    Call of Duty Warzone Deadzone
    Photo by Fábio Silva on Unsplash

    The most optimal deadzone for CoD Warzone is 0.05. After setting, play around with the number until it feels good for you. Horizontal and vertical stick sensitivity is usually set to 5 or 6.

    Best deadzone settings for Fortnite

    Fortnite Deadzone Settings

    Fortnite has in-game settings for deadzone. For optimal settings, you want to set the lowest possible deadzone without any drift. Keep in mind that this isn’t something that is set and forget it, as your controllers wear and change you might need to go back and adjust over time.

    Best deadzone settings for Rocket League

    Rocket League Deadzone

    Controller deadzone is pretty basic, lower this setting as low as possible without any drift.

    Dodge deadzone is how much you have to move your stick before you perform a dodge. There’s a really handy deadzone visualizer webapp made by Rocket Science that helps you see how much you have to move your stick to turn and dodge: https://halfwaydead.gitlab.io/rl-deadzone/

    Steam Deadzone Settings

    Steam Deadzone

    The always helpful Valve has also created settings in Steam to set controller deadzones for all your games. The deadzone is super helpful when your sticks start to drift, you can increase your deadzone, you lose a little responsiveness but your controller is still going to work.

    To get to the deadzone setting in Steam:

    1. In the menu: Steam > Settings
    2. In settings: Go to Controller > General Controller Settings
    3. In Controller Settings – Click the controller you want to configure > Hit calibrate
    4. In the popup set your deadzone settings per stick.

    Fixing stick drift

    Fixing stick drift isn’t typically an easy task, there are a couple of things you can try.

    1. Blast canned air into the analog stick hole to try and dislodge any particles
    2. Dissemble and re-insert any loosening parts
    3. Disassemble and replace analog sensor parts

    Here are some resources I found on Youtube for fixing different controllers.

    YouTube video
    YouTube video
    YouTube video

    Hall Effect Sensors

    Hall effect sensors in controllers are effectively drift-free due to their magnetic sensors. If you really want to drift proof and have minimal deadzone, I’d suggest looking for a hall effect controller. More info about hall effect in this post.

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    Raymond Sam

    Raymond Sam

    Raymond is the founder and chief editor of TheGamingSetup.com. He's been reviewing gaming peripherals since 2017 and has reviewed over 200 mice, keyboards, controllers and other peripherals. He combines the hardware experience with a few thousand hours of DOTA 2, Starcraft , Street Fighter, Overwatch, Apex Legends and Call of Duty under his belt with the intention of adding several more thousand going forward.

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