A major new study from UK consumer group Which? has found evidence that the Nintendo Switch’s infamous Joy-Con drift is likely caused by a mechanical fault, pointing to fundamental design flaws.
The research found that the Joy-Con’s plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear on the joystick slider contact points, despite only being used for months. It is this wear that ultimately results in drifting.
In addition, dust and other contaminants were found in the Switch’s internal components, despite attempts by Nintendo at dustproofing said areas.
Which? also criticized Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to affected consumers.
The organization has called upon Nintendo to provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove they purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift since 2017, and said that this scheme should be widely promoted.
It has also called for Nintendo to offer a “no-quibble” repair or replacement of all Joy-Cons that have developed drift since 2017, completely free of charge.
In a response to the study, Nintendo issued the following statement: “The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported as experiencing issues with the analog stick in the past is small, and we have been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con.” analogue 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.” analogue sticks, including in cases where the warranty may no longer apply.
If your Joy-Con has developed drift, it’s worth remembering that your first point of contact should be Nintendo Support, which will likely repair your controllers at no cost to you including shipping. From my own experience, you don’t even need to provide proof of purchase, but it would certainly help your cause if you’re within warranty.
Which? Also produced a report earlier this year which found that two in five Joy-Con controllers from the original Nintendo Switch release are experiencing drift.
Of course, issues surrounding Joy-Con drift have persisted for several years now. In 2019, a class action lawsuit against Nintendo was filed in the US over the problem, while last year the European Commission stated that it was considering opening an investigation.