Switch Joy-Con Drift Due to “Design Flaw” per Consumer Group

Switch Joy-Con Drift Due to "Design Flaw" per Consumer Group
Photo Credit: Nintendo

After years of consumer complaints over the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift issue, a UK Consumer Group has found the cause. 

The consumer group What? launched an investigation over the summer. The goal is to determine the root cause for constant complaints from Switch owners regarding the state of their Joy-Con controllers. According to Eurogamer, the findings from the study are in. All the issues point to fundamental design flaws in the Switch’s controller that lead to a mechanical fault.

What Exactly Is Joy-Con Drift?

The Nintendo Switch comes with a set of controllers called Joy-Cons. Together, they combine to make a traditional controller. You can dock them on either side of the Switch hardware or place them in a controller grip when playing in docked mode on the television. Joy-Cons can also act as a smaller controller while holding like an NES controller. 

The Switch Joy-Con drift is when the console detects thumbstick movement despite the controller not being touched. Some simple at-home fixes include putting padding between the analog stick and Joy-Con casing. Unfortunately, this isn’t a long-term solution. 

Despite the overall success of the Nintendo Switch, one common critique has been the long-term health of the Joy-Cons. Many people have been complaining for years about suffering from drift issues, myself included.

What? also calls on Nintendo to issue a free replacement, or repair, of every Joy-Con that has suffered from drift since 2017. This call rings similar to the Xbox 360 “red ring of death” issues. Microsoft was pressed to cover the cost of repairs or replacement for faulty 360 consoles. Design issues were the prevalent cause of hardware failure there as well. 

Nintendo Responds to the Findings

“The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported as experiencing issues with the analog stick in the past is small,” Nintendo said in response to the What? study, “and we have been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analog 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’ analog sticks, including in cases where the warranty may no longer apply.”

Despite the statement and stance that Switch Joy-Con drift issues are minor, it has been a constant thorn in the side of Switch owners for years. 

How To Fix Switch Joy-Con Drift Issues

According to Nintendo, these are the official steps you can take to fix Joy-Con drift issues:

  1. With the Joy-Con attached to the console, verify that they register correctly as attached within the Controllers screen, accessible from the HOME Menu.
    • If the Joy-Con is not registering correctly on the console, please read Joy-Con Not Recognized or Not Registering While Attached to the console.
  2. Ensure your console has the latest system update.
  3. Ensure the Joy-Con has the latest controller firmware installed.
  4. Remove any skins or covers from the problematic Joy-Con, if any, and calibrate the control sticks.
  5. If the issue is occurring with a specific game or application, try the following:
    • Check for any available software updates for that game.
    • Check the electronic manual for that game. Some games, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, support in-game tilt controls. If these are activated, it may seem as if the control sticks are not responding correctly. If this is the case, the in-game tilt controls may need to be deactivated.
  • If the control sticks cannot be calibrated, the non-working Joy-Con controller will need to be repaired. Do not send in the console.
  • If the Joy-Con registers correctly as being attached to the console but the control sticks are not responding correctly, the non-working Joy-Con controller will need to be repaired. Do not send in the console.

We’ll see if Nintendo does anything beyond offering support for Joy-Con drift issues. As previously stated, the What? research ends with a call for Nintendo to replace any faulty Joy-Con since 2017. Other than the included statement, Nintendo has not commented on the matter. 


Written by Jake Valentine

I am the Editor-In-Chief of BossLevelGamer. I'm also a lover of video games, food, and beer.

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