a black and white game console

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Drift Is “Fundamental Design Flaw”

Last Updated on June 3, 2023

Imagine that you’re playing Animal Crossing and randomly, your avatar decides to walk aimlessly into a wall, without your input. Seems rude, and slightly scary, but this has certainly happened to me on many occasions and can be annoying if I just want to decorate my island with ease.

The term “Joy-Con drift” has been an ongoing issue that haunts Nintendo Switch users since the console’s launch in 2017. Drift can be described as the joystick of the Joy-Con inputting controls and movements without you even touching it. This could mean that your character or cursor is moving around when it should be still.

It is, of course, a problem that affects all games, whether brand new titles, retro reissues, or the classic Nintendo and SEGA games games available onthe Switch with a Nintendo Family Membership.

An article from Eurogamer details a report from UK-based service Which?, highlighting that Joy-Con drift is due to a “fundamental design flaw”. They pointed out that just after a few months in use, the plastic circuit boards within the Joy-Con’s joystick display the highly worn slider contact areas. This is what causes the drift to occur.

Although Nintendo has a refunds and return policy regarding Joy-Con drift, Nintendo deny the issue of significance as it claims that a survey demonstrated only a small fraction of Joy-Cons experience drift and improvements have been made on the controllers since the Switch’s launch. Which? have suggested that the policy should provide a refund and compensation scheme for customers that have bought replacement Joy-Cons since 2017.

“The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported as experiencing issues with the analogue stick in the past is small, and we have been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analogue stick since its launch in 2017,” it said.

“We expect all our hardware to perform as designed, and, if anything falls short of this goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo customer support, who will be happy to openly and leniently resolve any consumer issues related to the Joy-Con controllers’ analogue sticks, including in cases where the warranty may no longer apply.”

Earlier in 2022, Nintendo created a Joy-Con repair subscription service in Japan, however Europe and the US have yet to receive something similar. Whilst a Joy-Con drift repair service was opened in 2019, it was discovered that repair centres were overloaded leading to repair errors. This drift issue, spanning over 5 years, has since landed multiple lawsuits with Nintendo.

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