Joy-Con drift remains an issue with Switch controllers, prompting a prominent UK consumer watchdog, ‘Which?‘ to urge Nintendo to do more, than simply refund the affected customers to fix the problem. The team’s own lab tests confirm that a sizable percentage of Switch controllers are affected by the issue, and it most certainly has something to do with the design of the controller itself.
If you don’t already know, “Joy-Con Drift” refers to a common problem with the Switch where one or both thumbsticks would roll off-center, causing the screen to move even when the sticks were still. While this is a really common issue, to the point that it puts Nintendo at a disadvantage when comparing it to its competitors, the company on multiple instances has simply denied that it had anything to do with the design.
According to a recent report on the durability and production quality of modern Joy-Con by Which? the cause of drift is either dirt damage or worn contact points. Which? has requested that Nintendo implement a four-point plan for all Nintendo Switch warranties moving forward to account for the inevitable wear and tear that comes with using a console controller frequently.
Which? has asked Nintendo to:
- Commission an independent investigation into the causes of drift on Joy-Con controllers and make the findings and outcomes publicly available
- Commit to a ‘no-quibble’ and completely free-of-charge repair or replacement of all Joy-Con controllers sold in the UK that have developed drift since the Nintendo Switch Classic launched in 2017
- Provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove that they have paid out for replacement Joy-Cons as a result of the drift fault since 2017
- Promote this scheme so that all consumers who are affected are aware that they can access free support, compensation, or refunds.
It is also claimed in the report that dust can easily enter the case around the thumbsticks due to the way Nintendo designed the controller. As a result, the thumbstick’s contacts may become even more eroded and blocked. Since Nintendo’s controller hardware is significantly smaller than that of other consoles (Xbox and PlayStation), it is understandable that it is also more sensitive. The Nintendo Switch (OLED) is the latest iteration of the console, and Nintendo has shown no signs of altering the layout of the thumbsticks.
According to Nintendo, anyone who has purchased a Switch console after 2017 and is experiencing Joy-Con Drift should schedule a repair on the Nintendo website. Additionally, the publisher has stated that it will consider any repair requests, regardless of when the console was purchased.
Which? has insisted that Nintendo rethinks its strategy of what to do next, and it should be more than simply refunding the affected customers. Which? director of policy Rocio Concha said:
Nintendo Switch drift has been plaguing gamers for years now, and we’ve found evidence that mechanical issues are likely to blame. Nintendo must get a grip on the problem and provide free repairs, compensation, refunds or replacements to any consumers who have been impacted by this issue since the launch of the console.”
And while this is a long-overdue but critically important step on the part of regulators, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo responds and if or how they alter their strategies to avoid this sort of thing happening in the future.