Why Do Game Controllers Vibrate Anyway?

I can only imagine what somebody must think when they pick up a controller for the first time, and the thing starts vibrating. I am sure it would be a rather funny sight. However, most of us are used to it, but not many of us know exactly why controllers vibrate. Well, that is what we are going to answer.

The vibration in a controller is there to help games feel more immersive. They are also there to help the developers emphasize important moments in games. Finally, a controller vibrates to warn you of something that you need to do or be aware of in the game. The vibration is done by 2 spinning motors.

It’s crazy how we can take such a random question and go in-depth into it, and that is exactly what we are going to do in this article. We will take an in-depth look at why controllers vibrate, but if there are a few other important things. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

Why Do Controllers Have Vibration?

Controller vibration was introduced with the DualShock 2. The DS2 is a controller that was used by the PS2. It is a feature known as rumble and is used by almost every single controller made today, but why do we use rumble? Let’s take a look.

When you are playing games, you want feedback. This feedback makes games feel more immersive and helps you understand what is going on in the game a lot better.

Beyond being immersive, controller vibration has other features as well. It could be used as a warning in the game or an indication that you need to do something, and much more.

One example that I can give is in a first-person shooter game. Let’s say an enemy is shooting at you and uses a silencer, you wouldn’t know, but some games make it so that rumble activates when bullets are flying past you. This helps you know what is happening.

How Does Controller Vibration Work?

It is almost impossible to understand how developers program controllers to vibrate at certain points in a game. Each developer has a different method, and they are locked behind very strict Non-disclosure-agreements. What we do know is that a controller is used in the process.

How the physical vibration works in a controller is pretty easy. There are usually 2 motors in the controller that spin when they need to. This creates a vibration. Each company has a different implementation of this same principle.

The motors know when to spin because game developers program their games as such. They tell the controller how hard, long, and when to vibrate.

Can You Disable Controller Vibration?

Some people find controller vibration to be distracting, and they don’t like it at all. This is particularly true when you have kids that play who have things such as ADHD and autism. The vibration activates too much of their senses and can cause sensory overload. This can actually be dangerous for them.

So, you would want to disable controller vibration, and yes, it is possible to do it. In this section, we will look at how to do it on a Playstation, Xbox, and a PC. Let’s get into it.

Disable PS4 DS4 Vibrations

You can adjust almost any setting on the DS4 by going to the controller settings. To turn off vibrations are rather easy. So, here are 5 easy steps to disable DS4 vibration.

  1. On the PS4, you want to go to “Settings.” When you are there, you should see a long list of options.
  2. You need to select an option called “Devices.” Now you should see a list of connected devices.
  3. Select the “Controllers” option.
  4. You will see an option called “Enable Vibration,” select it.
  5. Make sure the checkbox is not checked.

This step-by-step guide should work. Remember, to re-enable vibration, follow these steps again and check the box.

To do this on PC, you want to use the Xbox accessories app. I know it is for Xbox but should work with the DS4. We will walk through this in the next section.

Disable Xbox Controller Vibrations On Xbox One And PC

The process to disable vibrations on your Xbox controller can be easy if you follow our step-by-step guide.

  1. Go to the “Settings” menu. You will now have a long list of options.
  2. Select the “Devices and streaming” option. You should see all the connected controllers at this point.
  3. Select the controller that you want to modify.
  4. Once you have selected the controller, select “Turn off vibration.”

If you have one of the Elite controllers, there might be one more option before you can select to turn vibrations off.

On your PC, here’s what to do if you are struggling with the controller vibration.

  1. Plug your controller into the PC via USB.
  2. Launch the Xbox accessories app.
  3. In the app, select the controller that you want to use.
  4. Select “Configure.” You should see a few new options at this point.
  5. Select “New profile.” Make this profile your default if you want to.
  6. Uncheck the vibration box.

What To Do If Your Controller Won’t Stop Vibrating

There are lots of reasons why this can be happening. It could be either a hardware or software problem. There are a few things that you need to do or that you can do that might solve the problem. Let’s take a look.

On Xbox, you want to unsync your controller and restart your console. Once you pair it up again, it should work.

Here is a video that shows you how to do this on PS4. The video is from Mike Hollywood on Youtube.

What Is Haptic Feedback?

For the longest time, controller vibration has been dominant in controllers, but with the release of the PS5, things have changed. The PS5 uses something known as haptic feedback, but what is this?

Haptic feedback is a little sensor that vibrates when you push in the area of your controller. So, wherever you press on your PS5 controller, you will get some feedback. Game developers can program what feedback you get.

Is Haptic Feedback Better Than Vibration?

This is a question that somebody asked me the other day, and he’s actually one of the reasons I made this article. I don’t want to go too in-depth as I would like to write a dedicated article on haptic feedback once the technology has gone through the paces but let’s look at a brief answer.

So far, and in the short amount of time that we have had haptic feedback, it has been different and amazing. It works better on some games than it does on others, and it is all subjective to what you prefer. In my experience, though, so far, haptic feedback has been better than a vibration.

Will Haptic Feedback Be The End Of Vibration?

This is a very tough question to answer, as we cannot predict what companies will do. What we know for now is that PlayStation has moved onto haptic feedback.

Microsoft recently added a questionnaire and sent it out via email to its users. They asked what they wanted to see in an Xbox controller. We cannot say anything definite about the email, but we can assume that they consider haptic feedback rather than vibration.

Whether or not other companies such as Microsoft will follow suit is almost impossible for anyone who is not in Microsoft’s close-knit circle to know. So, unfortunately, I cannot give you a definite answer to this question.


That brings us to the end of this article, and honestly, I don’t see a reason other than perhaps medical conditions as to why you would want to turn off your controller vibration. However, if it is something that you want to do, hopefully, we have helped you do that in this article. For everything else, you need to know about gaming, feel free to look at some of our other articles.

David Sacks

I have worked in the IT industry since 2011 and have been an avid gamer my whole life. My first consoles were the sega genesis and the Nintendo SNES. I play both console and PC games, I love both. I decided to become combine my passion for gaming with my passion for writing.

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