Consumer report blames Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift on ‘design flaw’

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A report from consumer choice publication Which? shares findings that could prove your Joy-Con drift is down to a “design flaw” in manufacturing, not because you’ve knocked it about too much.

According to an investigation by Which?, issues with the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers result from flawed design. Eurogamer (opens in new tab) cites the consumer magazine’s discovery that the Joy-Con’s “plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear on the joystick slider contact points” despite only being used for a handful of months. This means it may not be your rough gameplay style and button-mashing causing your analog sticks to suffer. 

I feel vindicated on behalf of my little cousin, whose mother has berated him repeatedly for breaking his Switch controllers far too easily. This report from Which? could be proof that it’s not his fault after all.

Mario Odyssey being played on a Nintendo Switch console

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s not you

Typically, controller drift happens when the internal mechanisms that would usually cause your joysticks to bounce back to their default positions start to fail. This results in a wandering on-screen cursor, which can veer from the annoying to the game-breaking if you can’t find a way to fix it, so you may cave and buy a new one. It’s an issue that has impacted Nintendo Switch owners since the console’s launch.

Despite repeated efforts to improve its Joy-Con, Nintendo has yet to completely eliminate the issue.  Not only did Which? note the plastic circuit boards of the controller showed wear and tear, which is part of the reason your pointer might be going on a walkabout, but it also found “dust and other contaminants” present in the inner mechanisms despite Nintendo’s efforts at making them dustproof.

Following its discovery, Which? Says it reached out to Nintendo to request it “provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove they purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift.”

“We have been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analog stick since its launch in 2017,” Nintendo responded. “We expect all our hardware to perform as designed.”

The comment goes on to encourage anyone facing issues with drift or other malfunctions to reach out to Nintendo Support (opens in new tab). It states the company “will be happy to openly and leniently resolve any consumer issues related to the Joy-Con controllers’ analog sticks, including in cases where the warranty may no longer apply.”

So it sounds like Nintendo Support is your first point of call if you can’t fix Joy-Con drift yourself.

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