A major new study by British consumer group Which? found evidence that the Nintendo Switch’s infamous Joy-Con drift is likely caused by a mechanical fault, pointing to fundamental design flaws.
Research found that the Joy-Con’s plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear on the joystick’s slider contact points, despite only being used for months. It is this wear and tear that ultimately results in the drift.
Additionally, dust and other contaminants have been found in the Switch’s internal components, despite Nintendo’s attempts to seal said areas.
Which? also criticized Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to concerned consumers.
The organization has asked Nintendo to provide a compensation or refund plan to all UK consumers who can prove they have purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift since 2017, and said this program should be widely promoted.
He also asked Nintendo to offer “no hesitation” repair or replacement of all Joy-Cons that have developed a drift since 2017, completely free of charge.
In response to the study, Nintendo released the following statement: “The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported to have experienced issues with the analog stick in the past is low, and we have made continuous improvements to the Joy -Analog stick con. since its launch in 2017.”
“We expect all of our hardware to perform as intended, and, if anything falls short of that expectation, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Support, who will be happy to resolve this openly and forgivingly. any consumer issues related to Joy-Con controllers & analog sticks, including where warranty may no longer apply.”
If your Joy-Con has developed a drift, remember that your first point of contact should be Nintendo Support, who will likely repair your controllers free of charge, including shipping. In my own experience, you don’t even have to provide proof of purchase, but it would definitely help your cause if you’re under warranty.
Which? also produced a report earlier this year that found that two out of five original Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers are experiencing drift.
Of course, problems with Joy-Con drift have persisted for several years now. In 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed against Nintendo in the US over the issue, while last year the European Commission said it was considering opening an investigation.