For the past few months, Nintendo Switch users have been reporting problems with the console’s detachable Joy-Con controllers. As time passes, more and more players are reporting a strange issue that causes the joystick to drift. Now, what seemed like a minor issue is turning into a major problem for Nintendo.
Though the Switch has had a stellar debut year and a half, concerns over the longevity of its hardware are growing. Unfortunately, players are currently battling a pesky controller issue that seems to be spreading with no definitive solution in sight.
Drifting in the Wind
Joy-Con drift isn’t a new issue. However, that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for those who are dealing with it. The problem causes the analog joysticks to send a false signal so that the console registers movement even if there isn’t any. Interestingly, the drift issue seems to affect the left Joy-Con far more frequently than the right—although it isn’t immune.
Of course, the left controller’s analog stick is used much more heavily during gameplay. From moving around in a first-person shooter to forcefully using it to steer in “Mario Kart,” the stick takes a beating. This points to a hardware issue, as the most likely explanation for the growing Joy-Con drift concern is that consoles are getting older.
As of now, Nintendo hasn’t offered a clarifying statement on what exactly is causing the issue. Some users speculate that worn down contacts within the controller could make it malfunction, while others are chalking it up to dust.
Without a cause, it’s almost impossible to create a universal solution. For now, the only real fix is to replace the defective Joy-Con with a new controller. While Nintendo offers a 90-day warranty on its accessories, most users who are experiencing the drift issue fall outside this relatively tight window. Currently, a pair of new Joy-Cons will set gamers back around $70-$80.
The hefty price tag attached to Joy-Cons has upset many users who are struggling with drift after just months of use. By comparison, DualShock 4 and Xbox controllers cost far less and haven’t exhibited a similar widespread concern. As such, many gamers question whether the Joy-Con is truly a premium accessory.
Perhaps more importantly, users are wondering if the upcoming Switch Lite, announced in early July, will be affected. Considering that the controls are built-in to the new console, the Joy-Con drift issue could be far more detrimental. Rather than swapping out a controller, players would likely have to send their entire console in for a repair.
Hopefully, Nintendo is listening carefully to users’ complaints about their Joy-Cons. While the Switch Lite is undoubtedly an exciting console to keep an eye on, it will need to be free of Joy-Con drift to succeed in the market. Meanwhile, original Switch players will anxiously await a fix for the irritating problem.