If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner then chances are you’re already aware of the issue of ‘Joy-Con drift’, a phenomenon which manifests itself in phantom analogue stick movements even when you’re not touching the controller itself.
No one quite knows what is causing this problem (although the video below does an excellent job of coming up with one possible explanation), but the bottom line is that it’s incredibly annoying for long-standing Nintendo fans. The Joy-Con controller is an amazing piece of kit that not only replicates the motion-control commands seen in the Nintendo Wii, but also allows the Switch to turn into the ultimate local multiplayer console, as you can slide them off and enjoy two-player action pretty much anywhere.
However, with Joy-Con sticks drifting all over the place, these expensive devices are proving to be troublesome. Many people have already paid to repair their Joy-Con, but it would now seem that Nintendo is prepared to cop the blame for the controller’s questionable design.
According to Vice, an internal memo has been issued which tells Nintendo customer service representatives to replace faulty Joy-Con without asking for any charge. Furthermore, the memo also instructs reps to issue refunds to those users already out of pocket from getting their Joy-Con repaired or replaced by Nintendo. In both of these cases, Nintendo isn’t asking for a valid warranty – which is all the evidence you need to confirm that the company is admitting it has a duff design on its hands.
Joy-Con Drift: Nintendo Owns Up!
This isn’t the first time that Nintendo has had to act on Joy-Con issues; back in 2017, not long after the launch of the Nintendo Switch, many users experienced issues with Joy-Con disconnecting when playing in docked mode. Nintendo sent out postage labels to those impacted, sending them repaired Joy-Con at no cost. Since then, Joy-Con controllers have been revised internally to avoid them disconnecting.
With the Joy-Con drift, it remains to be seen if Nintendo can solve the problem with a hardware revision – but at least the company has owned up to being at fault, albeit unofficially. In terms of official statements, the firm has repeated its previous statement on the matter, which reads:
“At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com so we can help.”
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Damien McFerran has been covering phones and mobile technology for well over a decade. An Android specialist, as well as an expert reviewer of phones, Damien is one of the best technology journalists working today. He is also editorial director over at the excellent Nintendo Life.