Nintendo Switch's Maddening Joy-Con Drift Issue Is A Design Flaw, Major Study Concludes

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The Nintendo Switch may be one of the best-selling consoles of all time but it is not without its problems. Some people feel the console is underpowered and complain that it still is only uses a 720p resolution display. Far and away, though, the biggest problem in the Switch's now five-year life-span has been the included controllers' drift issue.

After enough usage, players have found themselves running of platforms, missing their targets, and just spinning in circles all without input from the controller. It's a long standing issue, dubbed Joy-Con Drift, wherein the joysticks slowly fail over time in a way that causes directional inputs to register when the stick is at a neutral position. Frustrated customers have filed multiple class-action lawsuits about the issue.

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Photo of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons attached to Controller Adapter

The good news, relatively early on in the story, though, is that Nintendo actually has allowed consumers to send in their Joy-Con controllers for repair for free. This is despite Nintendo's claims that it "isn't a real problem."

A recent study by a UK based consumer group, found by Eurogamer, has pointed out that it is, in a sense, Nintendo's fault. The issue is specifically related to a flaw with the materials used within the Joy-Con. The study points out that the plastic circuit board would wear down over just a few months worth of use, thus reducing the reliability of the contact points for the control sticks. In addition to this wear, the system and controller's internals fill with dust, dirt, and debris despite Nintendo's dust-proofing efforts.

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Photo of Nintendo Switch Console Outside

This indicates that the drift problem is still around but Nintendo claims to be committed to providing support to its customers and encourage consumers to contact its support if issues arise. However if you're out of warranty that could be an issue. For those consumers, the good news is there are some home-grown options for repairing drift for yourself. Hopefully this will be a thing of the past by the time the next console or next Switch release from Nintendo comes out.