Is your Switch controller drifting? Nintendo faced with lawsuit over Joy-Con issues

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch is a true haven for fun gaming, able to shift with ease between portable and home play. But recent reports of issues with the Switch's Joy-Con controllers could be putting that at risk.

Multiple Nintendo Switch owners have spoken out on their Joy-Cons 'drifting': when a joystick incorrectly tracks user input in a certain direction, steadily dragging the camera angle or causing the avatar onscreen to run off where they shouldn't be. 

It's something that can technically happen to any joystick controller, Nintendo or otherwise, though it seems like Joy-Cons are more widely affected than the standard DualShock 4 controller.

The furore started in mid-July in the r/NintendoSwitch Reddit thread, with a long post over the drifting issues having over 27,000 upvotes at the time of writing.

User u/LocusAintBad wrote that "before someone says 'Contact Nintendo and have them repair it' I shouldn’t have to spend $40 and two weeks without my Joycons for them to just come back and break again in 4 months."

Others have joined the outcry, with US law firm CSK&D even filing a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo "on behalf of purchasers of Switches and Joy-Con controllers," given the "alleged defects".

The drifting issues will only be affecting a minority of users, but given the millions of Switch consoles in use worldwide, even a small fraction of that install base could make up a considerable number of players who aren't having the experience they expected when purchasing their Nintendo Switch.

My controllers are drifting! Help!

If you're affected by this issue, the first thing to try is recalibrating the Joy-Cons through the Switch console settings. Head to the HOME menu and select System Settings, then select Controllers and Sensors to finish the job.

If issues persist, you'll likely want to contact Nintendo customer support, though the cost for fixing a controller outside of the 90-day warranty (as referenced in the Reddit post above) won't be much less money or hassle than simply buying a new Joy-Con controller.

Nintendo has spoken

Nintendo can be famously tight-lipped around internal hardware development or fixes, but the company did offer the following response to The Verge:

"At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit so we can help."

Official responses don't quite constitute action, of course, but with the Switch Lite on the way – which won't have the luxury of detachable controllers you can easily replace, and may well use some cheaper hardware parts – we're hoping the issue gets handled more thoroughly than a link to a customer support page.

Via The Verge

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.