Joy-Con drift on Switch is basically unavoidable, Nintendo admits

Nintendo is being sued over Joy-Con drift
(Image credit: Future)

The Switch Joy-Con controllers will basically always be susceptible to drift, according to Nintendo’s developers, even though the company is still “working on improvements”.

In a Q&A discussing the development of the new Nintendo Switch OLED, senior executive and general manager of technology development Ko Shiota conceded that even though the company has made “improvements that may not always be visible” since 2017, wear is unavoidable when physical parts are in contact with one another. 

“ tires wear out as the car moves, as they are in constant friction with the ground to rotate,” said Shiota-san. “So with that same premise, we asked ourselves how we can improve durability, and not only that, but how can both operability and durability coexist? It’s something we are continuously tackling.”

Wear is a big proponent of Joy-Con drift occurring, and it’s a well-known flaw with Nintendo’s hardware that can make a player’s Joy-Con controllers all but useless. When drift occurs, the Joy-Con controllers’ analog sticks will register false inputs from a user, leading to your character or onscreen crosshair moving as if by magic. 

 Analysis: a frustrating flaw with no fix in sight

Close-up of Joy-Con controller

(Image credit: Nintendo)

TechRadar previously contacted Nintendo to ask whether the Nintendo Switch OLED would feature redesigned Joy-Con controllers, and were told that: "The Joy-Con controller configuration and functionality did not change with the Nintendo Switch system (OLED model). The configuration and functionality is the same as that of the Joy-Con controllers for the Nintendo Switch system.

"At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of reports that some Joy-Con controllers have not responded 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."

It remains to be seen, then, whether the Joy-Con will be more durable on the Nintendo Switch OLED or in general moving forward. As Nintendo admits, there is always a chance that Joy-Con drift could occur, but we’ll have to wait until more Switch OLED units are in the wild before any evidence of improved durability can be claimed.

In the same Q&A, Nintendo said: “...we have investigated the Joy-Con controllers used by the customers and repeatedly improved the wear resistance and durability" so it's refreshing to see that the company is at least aware and trying its best to circumvent the issue the best it possibly can. Whether that's enough, though, is down for the consumer to decide. 

Nintendo has come under fire for Joy-Con drift problems in the past and was even sued by a child because of the hardware defect.  The problem has also led users to try and fix the problem themselves, with one owner claiming something as simple as a piece of paper could be the solution.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.