How long does a Fightstick last?

Decent quality fightsticks are generally designed to last a long time. This makes sense considering how expensive they can be.

So how long does a fightstick last? The answer is it depends. If we’re talking good quality fightsticks with Sanwa or Semitsu parts, then, without maintenance, and a decent amount of use, it will typically last about 5-6 years.

Now that’s if you don’t do anything to the stick and just play it for it 5-6 years. That’s pretty good considering you would probably get through 2-3 controllers in the same amount of time — at least, I know I have.

With proper maintenance of the stick, however, a fightstick could potentially last forever.

But, why are fightsticks so durable? What makes them last such a long time considering the abuse they might take? Also, why would a Fightstick break down?

In the post, I’m hoping to answer these questions and also give tips on how to maintain a fightstick properly so that it lasts forever. Let’s go.

Why are fightsticks so durable?

Fightsticks are solid machines. To understand why fightsticks/arcade sticks are so durable lets first examine what a fightstick actually is and what it is made of.

A fightstick or arcade stick is a case made up of either metal, wood, plastic or plexi.

Inside there is a PCB, which is just a circuit board that all of the components connect to.

Wires go from the PCB to the buttons and joystick, and the wires are either screwed or soldered on.

A fightstick with Sanwa or Semitsu parts are of high quality and are designed to last a long time.

These parts are usually the buttons and joystick. They are the same parts which go into arcade cabinets hence they are designed to take abuse.

Why a fightstick would break down

When I say break down, I don’t mean fully break down. Usually what you’ll find, even on a decent quality stick, is, after a while, parts of the stick will start to break down.

Again, this is dependent on how the stick is used and how it’s maintained. But generally, it might be that a button starts to give in or the joystick isn’t working properly.

On cheaper sticks, your PCB soldering may be badly done causing inputs to lose connection. In addition, if your Fighstick experiences a lot of heat, this may cause problems with the PCB too.

The connector cable which connects the fightstick to a console or PC might also get damaged. These cables can become torn, bent, or loose if not stored properly.

The other potential issues with cheaper sticks might be the buttons and joystick. These can fill with debris, dust, skin flakes and other nasty stuff which can affect the use of these devices.

Despite these issues, I want to stress that these problems only really occur with cheaper fightsticks that don’t have quality parts.

Good quality fightsticks with Sanwa or Semitsu parts, and with proper maintenance, will indeed last a very long time. Even if they get these issues, you can easily fix them with minimal effort.

4 Tips on making a fightstick last forever

Luckily fightsticks aren’t really that hard to maintain and with a bit of technical know-how can last forever,

Here are some general tips:

1. Buy a good quality fightstick

Let’s start with the basics. Choosing a good quality stick with the right parts means you will have to do less in the future.

If you have a stick that doesn’t have good quality buttons or joystick then not to worry. You can easily swap these out for Sanwa or Semitsu parts and they aren’t really that expensive.

Once you have high-quality parts for your stick then you’re already pretty much there in terms of making your stick last longer.

There’s just a bit more you can do to ensure your stick lasts a lifetime.

2. Swap out the buttons or joystick when they break

When the buttons or joystick on your stick start to give, don’t just give up and get a new one. Instead, you can easily find quality parts online to replace any broken ones.

Swapping out buttons on a fightstick couldn’t be easier. Don’t be intimidated by this, it’s actually a lot easier than you think and there are plenty of tutorials online that show you how to do this.

You won’t have to swap out parts that often if you have a good quality fightstick. But I think its good to know that you won’t have to get a new one if you start having problems. You can just easily modify the stick if you have to.

3. Clean the fightstick

This is usually a neglected part of the maintenance, but it’s quite important. I’ve had sticks that I thought had broken down, but after giving them a deep clean, they magically start working again.

The reason for this is because, after a long time playing, usually after a year or so, there is a lot of dust, debris and skin flakes that can get trapped in the buttons and joystick.

This can cause buttons to stick or the joystick to not respond properly.

Cleaning a fightstick isn’t really that hard. In fact, I have a post that shows you exactly how to clean a Fightstick.

Just give the fightstick a deep clean every year or so and dust off every week — that’s it.

4. Treat it properly

As I said, these sticks are designed to take abuse, but that doesn’t mean treating it like a pinata. Don’t be unnecessarily rough or abusive to your fightstick.

Avoid dropping your fightstick for obvious reasons. Keep fluids like water, coffee, etc away from the stick.

Also, make sure you store it properly. There’s no problem keeping your fightstick out in the open like you would a console, but make sure the wiring isn’t exposed — keep it tidy.