Is the PlayStation Back Button Attachment Worth It?

The Current State of Console Gaming Controllers

One of the biggest things that divide the gaming world is the use of controllers on consoles vs keyboard + mouse on PC. For every console, you have your standard gamepad that comes with the system and typically a whole host of third party options.

In the PC gaming world, players benefit from being able to use more of their fingers at once than if they were restricted to a controller. This is especially helpful when playing first-person shooters and real-time strategy games.

Of course, since we’re in the 21st century, there are plenty of alternatives for us console gamers who want to up their game:

  • Use some variation of the claw method of holding a standard controller
  • Purchase a very expensive “pro controller” with high levels of customization – check out my review of the Scuf Infinity Pro
  • Use an adapter for your console that allows you to connect a KB&M – use at your own risk since you can be banned in certain games when using these adapters

Sony understood that the gaming community values the increased control over their experience and decided to release their own entrant into the market. Last month, the Playstation manufacturer launched a back button attachment for the Dualshock 4 controllers!

Some have speculated that this functionality will be standard on the upcoming PS5 console. In the meantime, I got my hands on the back button attachment and have been testing it out.

Given I’ve had my Scuf controller for a year and a half, I’ll be using that as a direct competitor on several key value points. I picked a winner in each category based on which option I think has the advantage.

By the end of the post, you’ll know whether the PS4 back button attachment is worth it for you!

PRICE
Winner: PS4 Back Button Attachment

This is one of the biggest differentiators in Sony’s product. You can pick up the back button attachment, when in-stock (more on this later), for $30 plus tax.

For most other pro controllers, Scuf included, you will need to spend a minimum of $100. Many of these controllers even run in the $150-$200 range.

The big question here is: will you receive more than $30 in value from buying Sony’s attachment?


PS4 Back button attachment from Google shopping

FLEXIBILITY
Winner: Scuf Controller

The main reason Scuf can charge more for their controllers is because of the high level of customization when building a gamepad. They don’t sell the paddles on their own, so this isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

What I can compare here is the number of options for paddles. Scuf has a variant of their controller which has four back paddles. For now, the Sony attachment only has two buttons.

The back buttons are simple enough to install, but check out the video below if you’re having trouble.

BUTTON MAPPING
Winner: PS4 Back Button Attachment

Sony’s back buttons are easy to program and re-program on the fly. You can quickly cycle through available buttons and map one to either of the paddles.

In contrast, you need to put a separate proprietary electromagnetic dongle on the back of the Infinity 4PS to remap the buttons. Scuf made things simpler on their newer models, but you’ll still need to have the console turned on in order to remap the buttons.

Additionally, you can view what button is mapped to each paddle on the LED display of the back button attachment. This is great if you use different presets for different games.

One minor detail here: you can’t remap to either the home or share buttons. I can’t imagine a world where you’d want either of these mapped to the paddles, but it’s important to note.

DESIGN
Winner: Scuf Controller

The Scuf controllers are beautifully designed and come in as many colors as you can imagine. Sony’s attachment comes in plain ol’ black, which is fine but may not match the color of your controller. This, of course, doesn’t affect the functionality of the back button attachment.

Scuf controllers also generally improve on the design of the standard Dualshock. You can add hairpin triggers, keypad circles and even buy a pad that has the left joystick position swapped with that of the D-pad.

The back button attachment isn’t huge, but definitely adds bulk to the Dualshock 4. It also covers the port which is used for some of the most highly rated PS4 controller chargers on Amazon.

Lucky for me, the back button attachment allows for pass-through of audio cables so I can continue to use my wired headset.

Infinity4ps-pro-back-1 (1)
4PS-Infinity-base-backside-Pro-paddle-2
Scuf Unboxing

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BUTTON FEEL
Winner: Scuf Controller

Scuf’s paddles feel relatively stiff, with no jiggle if you were to apply slight pressure with your fingers. On Sony’s back button attachment, the paddles have a little give before you can depress again. It reminds me of the hitch in Charles Barkley’s golf swing.

via GIPHY

Additionally, I prefer the placement of the Scuf paddles to the location of Sony’s attachment. I may have just gotten used to having the paddles slightly off of the controller, but, so far, it feels more natural on the Scuf.

Responsiveness
Winner: Tie

Ya ya, I know, no one wants to see a tie. However, so far, I haven’t experienced any difference in the response time of pressing down a paddle to seeing the corresponding on-screen action in-game.

There have been some reports of input lag on Scuf controllers in the past, but I haven’t experienced any of this.

Durability
Winner: Too early to tell, but leaning towards the Back Button Attachment

I purchased my Scuf controller in May 2018. Since then, I’ve had two major issues:

  1. The back left paddle became unresponsive about a year after purchase
  2. A few weeks ago, I started experiencing aim drift with the right joystick

Either of these issues will render the controller useless so it’s been disappointing to have this experience within two years of getting the controller. For reference, I have two Dualshock 4 controllers that have been going strong for five years with no issues.

It’s definitely too early to tell, but I do know that other folks have experienced the same issues with their Scuf controllers. I’ll report back in a couple years on whether I’ve had any functionality malfunctions with Sony’s back button attachment.

AVAILABILITY
Winner: PS4 Back Button Attachment*

You can walk into a store tomorrow and pick up Sony’s device for yourself. The same can’t be said about the Scuf series. Since each one is custom made, you’re looking at a couple of weeks between placing your order and receiving the gamepad.

There’s an asterisk on this one since the availability hasn’t been very reliable since launch. I was fortunate to get mine on Amazon with 1-day delivery. It looks like Amazon has it in-stock only very rarely.

Scalpers are trying to resell these things for as much as $60, but I’d advise just setting an alert to be notified when the back button attachment comes back in stock.

The Bottom Line

This accessory is absolutely worth it for anyone looking to advance their level of play in games that have complex button layouts. More specifically, I would recommend this for people who play competitive shooters.

The largest benefit I’ve had is being able to jump + shoot or slide + turn in Apex Legends. I’ve experienced a similar boost in Overwatch and Call of Duty.

Based on how well the first one worked, I imagine Sony would do well by selling a slightly more expensive option with more features:

  • Additional paddles
  • Turbo button
  • Macro buttons
  • Including home and share button in re-mapping
  • A slimmer base
  • Different color options

All this may be moot though if they change the controller layout completely for the PS5. I don’t think this will happen, but it’d be nice to have the back buttons as default features on the stock controllers.

At $30, the Dualshock Back Button attachment is a no-brainer that I’m telling all the people in the Average Gamer Community to pick up immediately. It’s well worth it at this price and you’ll feel like you’re in Super Saiyan mode!

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