A major new study by UK consumer group Which? has found evidence that the Nintendo Switch’s infamous Joy-Con drift is likely caused by a mechanical flaw, pointing to fundamental design flaws.
Investigation revealed that the Joy-Con’s plastic circuit boards showed noticeable wear at the joystick slider contact points, despite only being used for months. It is this wear and tear that ultimately leads to drift.
Additionally, dust and other contaminants have been found inside the Switch’s internal components, despite attempts by Nintendo to dustproof those areas.
Which? also criticized Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to affected consumers.
The organization has urged Nintendo to offer a compensation or refund plan to any UK consumer who can prove they’ve bought a replacement Joy-Con since 2017, saying the scheme should be widely rolled out.
It’s also prompted Nintendo to offer a “no-quibble” repair, or completely free replacement, of any Joy-Cons that have drifted since 2017.
In response to the study, Nintendo issued the following statement: “The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have experienced analog stick issues in the past is small, and we’ve been continuously improving the Joy-Con analog stick since.” its launch in 2017.”
“We expect all of our hardware to perform as intended, and if anything falls short of that goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Service, who will be happy to answer openly and leniently any consumer issue related to the Joy-Con devices.” controllers ‘ analog sticks, even in cases where the warranty may no longer apply.”
If your Joy-Con has developed drifts, remember that your first point of contact should be Nintendo Support, who will likely repair your controllers for you free of charge, including shipping. From my own experience, you don’t even have to provide proof of purchase, but it would certainly help your cause if you’re within warranty.
Which? also did a report earlier this year that found two out of five Joy-Con controllers from the original Nintendo Switch release to have variances.
Of course, issues related to Joy-Con drift have existed for a number of years. In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Nintendo over the issue in the US, while last year the European Commission said it was considering opening an investigation.