Nintendo’s Switch is a fantastic all-around console. It gives gamers a way to play their favorite triple-A titles and games from indie studios at home and on the go. Unfortunately, the Switch has one major hardware problem—Joy-Con drift.
The well-documented issue has plagued the console since its release. Although Nintendo now quietly offers free repairs for affected controllers, it hasn’t done much to address the cause of the problem.
Joy-Con drift is a significant issue that lowers the quality of gameplay and eventually renders the controllers useless. In short, it causes the Joy-Con’s analog stick to act erratically and randomly move around on-screen without being touched in real-life. Some believe that the issue is caused by dust getting underneath the controller while others blame worn-down contact points. Either way, there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix—especially without knowing for sure what is causing the drift.
Although the main plaintiff in the new Switch lawsuit is the child’s mother, an eight-year-old boy is the gamer who actually experienced Joy-Con drift. The class-action suit was filed on Monday in California’s Northern District Court.
The plaintiff says that “she would not have purchased the Nintendo Switch or additional controllers, or she would have paid substantially less for them” had she known about the drift issue.
Of course, accidentally releasing a defective product isn’t against the law. The suit instead alleges that Nintendo failed to notify consumers of the issue and instead covered it up to continue selling Switch consoles.
The complaint reads, “Defendant continues to market and sell the Products with full knowledge of the defect and without disclosing the Joy-Con Drift defect to consumers in its marketing, promotion, or packaging. Upon information and belief, Defendant has had a financial motive to conceal the defect, as it did not want to stop selling the Products.”
It also takes issue with the fact that Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa issued an apology for the drift problem without doing anything to fix it.
Indeed, Joy-Con drift continues to affect newer Switch models. Consumers who purchased a Switch Lite—which doesn’t have detachable Joy-Cons—have also reported issues with drift. Drift is more worrisome for that model since the individual controllers can’t be replaced. That being said, there have been far fewer reports of the problem on the Switch Lite compared to the standard console.
Fair Trial at Last?
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Nintendo has faced a lawsuit because of Joy-Con drift. In 2019, a firm named Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (yes, that’s real) filed a class-action suit against the gaming giant.
Unfortunately for consumers, that lawsuit was sent to arbitration by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. It remains to be seen whether this new suit will be treated similarly or if Joy-Con drift will finally be addressed in court.
If so, it would be a big win for gamers who have been trying to get Nintendo to fix the problem for years.