Nintendo will fix your drifting Switch controller free of charge

Nintendo switch controller
(Image credit: Wachiwit /

Is your Nintendo Switch controller 'drifting'? Well, you'll be pleased to know that the company will now fix your faulty Joy-Cons for free – even if your warranty has expired and you don't have proof of purchase. 

According to a report by Vice, internal Nintendo documentation reveals that "customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs", and that "it is not necessary to confirm warranty status". 

If you've already paid to have your faulty Nintendo Switch controllers fixed, you could well get your money back.

"If a customer requests a refund for a previously paid Joy-Con repair", the document states, "confirm the prior repair and then issue a refund.”

It appears that this policy only applies to US customers; according to a Nintendo customer support advisor in the UK, "the Nintendo UK process remains the same – to provide recommended troubleshooting and advise repair if unsuccessful".

What is 'drifting'?

It all started when multiple Nintendo Switch players reported that their Joy-Cons were 'drifting' – this is 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. 

Users flocked to the r/NintendoSwitch Reddit thread to air their grievances, with a long post over the drifting issues accumulating over 27,000 upvotes at the time of writing. 

The outcry gained even more momentum when 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".

With the threat of legal action, it's unsurprising that Nintendo is seeking to remedy the issue by offering customers free repairs. 

So far, Nintendo hasn't offered any comment besides the statement it previously released when these issues were highlighted by a Kotaku report:

"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." 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

How can I fix my Joy-Con controllers?

If you're experiencing drift issues when playing Nintendo Switch games, you can try recalibrating your controllers through the Switch console settings. Head to the Home menu and select System Settings, then select Controllers and Sensors to finish the job.

If that doesn't work, you may well need to contact Nintendo customer support for a repair – annoying, but at least it won't cost you anything. 

The issues don't exactly bode well for the upcoming Switch Lite, which won't have the luxury of detachable controllers you can easily replace, and may well use some cheaper hardware parts – here's hoping that Nintendo solves the drifting issue before its release. 

Via Vice

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.