It is not new that we have heard complaints about the drift in the Nintendo Switch controls, a problem that the manufacturer itself has already recognized and that continues to offer support to customers, even after the expiration of the warranty.
A large study by the British consumer group Which? found evidence that this problem is often caused by a mechanical failure, indicating fundamental design defects.
One controller drifts when the analog sticks start to register “ghost movements”, which are done without the user moving the stick, causing them to lose accuracy during games and be extremely uncomfortable to use.
The research done by the group Wich? found that the Joy-Con’s plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear at the joystick’s slider contact points, even though it had been used for a few months. It is this wear and tear that causes drift.
The problem is also driven by dust and other grime found on the Switch’s internal components, despite Nintendo’s attempts to protect certain areas from dust.
Which? also criticized Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to affected consumers.
The organization has asked Nintendo to provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove they purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift issues since 2017 and said such a scheme should be widely promoted.
She also asked that Nintendo offer a “out of the box” repair or replacement of all Joy-Cons that have developed drift since 2017, completely free of charge.
Nintendo provided the following response to the study:
The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have had issues with the analog stick in the past is small, and we’ve been making continual improvements to the Joy-Con analog stick since its launch in 2017.
We expect all of our hardware to function as designed, and if anything falls short of that goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Support, who will be happy to openly and leniently resolve any consumer issues related to Joy controllers. -Con, including in cases where the guarantee may no longer apply.
While the study is important for us to discover the reason for the problem, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will make a drastic change in the design of the controller at this point in the championship, when a new console is in the process of being announced.
Have you had drift issues with your Joy-Con?