In context: Nintendo Switch has been notorious for stick drift issues since 2017, and this issue continues to affect users. The British supervisory authority has again called on Nintendo to rectify the situation, arguing that the company’s current customer service policy is not enough.
British consumer group Which? Called on Nintendo to do more to eliminate stick drift, which continues to interfere with Joy-Con Switch controllers. The results of the independent laboratory of the group show that the design flaw affects the joysticks in a significant part of the Switch controllers. This is not the first time an investigation has revealed such defects.
Stick drift, when analog joysticks detect input without even receiving it, has affected controllers for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft game consoles in recent years. Which one? published a report in June claiming that 40 percent of Joy-Con owners in the UK have experienced stick drift.
Recent testing by the group showed that the design of the controller causes wear, which ultimately leads to drift. In response to the findings, Nintendo said that only a small percentage of its users reported experiencing a problem.
The watchdog’s demands include that the company conducts an independent investigation into stick drift, offers free repairs to affected Joy-Cons, and compensates users who have paid to replace their controllers. Which one? It is only the latest in a series of consumer groups that have filed complaints about faulty analog sticks.
Consumers have filed several lawsuits against Nintendo over this issue, including a class action. Last year, the European Union’s supervisory authority called for an investigation into stick drift, and one outsourced repair center, Joy-Con, reported that it was constantly overloaded.
Although Nintendo has taken most of the criticism for stick drift, this is due to a design flaw in all modern game controllers. Microsoft’s Xbox controllers were sued for the same problem, and an iFixit analysis of the PlayStation 5 controller revealed a possible cause of stick drift on all gamepads.
Analysis of the PS5 controller showed that the company that manufactures components for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft tablets uses a part of analog joysticks with a limited service life. Console manufacturers probably chose it for reasons of economy, which is why stick drift is difficult to solve. iFixit suggests that manufacturers treat sticks as disposable parts and design controllers so that they can be easily replaced. Valve, on the other hand, has eliminated stick drift in its portable Steam Deck device with a software fix.