Two Joy-Cons in a pair of hands
Image: Nintendo

Joy-Con drift due to “design flaw”, according to consumer group

A major study by the UK consumer group Which? has found evidence that the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con drift is likely caused by a mechanical fault, suggesting that a fundamental design flaw is behind the issue.

Users have reported Joy-Con drift – a problem where the controller acts as if something is moving the control stick even without input, resulting in the camera, cursor or characters moving of their own accord – since the Switch’s release in 2017.

A Which? report earlier this year found that two in five Joy-Con controllers from the original release are experiencing drift.

According to the new study, the controller’s plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear on the joystick slider contact points, even after a few months’ use. It is this wear that ultimately results in drifting.

Additionally, dust and other contaminants were found in the Switch’s internal components, despite Nintendo’s attempts to dustproof these areas.

Nintendo has faced numerous lawsuits about the drift problem, although these declined in number after it offered a free repair program from 2019.

Nonetheless, Which? has criticised Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to affected consumers.

The organisation has called upon Nintendo to provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove they purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift since 2017, and said that this scheme should be widely promoted.

It has also called for Nintendo to offer a “no-quibble” repair or replacement of all Joy-Cons that have developed drift since 2017, completely free of charge.

In a response to the study, Nintendo issued the following statement: “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.

“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.”


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