Steam Deck stick drift problems have been fixed already – Nintendo, take note

pixel art of the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Tio Dwiyanto / Liskovych / askarim / Roberto Marantan / Shutterstock / Future)

There have been increasing reports of the newly-released Steam Deck handheld console suffering from stick drift – but an update has already been released to fix it.

Stick drift is an issue where the thumbsitcks of a controller act like they are being pushed when they’re actually not being touched. It’s an annoying problem, and can interfere with games as the controller will move player characters on their own.

It’s an issue that has plagued other systems, most noticeably the Nintendo Switch. However, the fact that Valve has identified and corrected the issue already is certainly impressive.

According to Steam Deck engineer Lawrence Yang, the Steam Deck stick drift issue has been caused by “deadzone regression”  introduced in a recent update. As Yang tweeted, an update has been released that fixes the issue, so if you have been encountering the problem, installing the update should fix it.

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Analysis: Valve’s speedy response should be a lesson to Nintendo

Joy-Con controllers

(Image credit: Nintendo)

While releasing a faulty update that caused the Steam Deck stick drift is a tad embarrassing, Valve should be commended for how quickly it identified the problem and issued a fix.

This is in stark contrast to Nintendo, where Switch owners have been complaining about stick drift on the Joy-Con controllers for years now.

Valve was able to issue a fix quickly because the Steam Deck stick drift was a software problem, and therefore relatively easy to fix.

The Switch’s stick drift issue, on the other hand, appears to be a hardware problem. This would require a major redesign of the Switch Joy-Con controllers.

Nintendo actually had an opportunity to do this when it released the new Switch OLED model. This could have been the perfect time to introduce new Joy-Con controllers without the stick drift issue. Unfortunately, the Switch OLED ships with the same Joy-Cons as the original Switch, which means they could suffer from stick drift.

Nintendo is at least offering free repairs for affected Joy-Cons, even when out of warranty. But that is the least the company can do, and it only did it after being subject to a class-action lawsuit about the issue.

Nintendo’s lackadaisical approach to addressing the Switch stick drift problem is incredibly frustrating, and looks even worse when compared to Valve’s swift response. For people weighing up whether or not to buy the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck, Valve’s quick fix may sway them. Nintendo should take note.

Via: Neowin

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.