Since the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, the console’s controllers, known as Joy-Cons, have struggled with a variety of hardware issues, the most prominent of which is “stick drift” – the tendency of joysticks to move even when they are not touched. Despite five years of complaints and even a lawsuit at one point, Nintendo has yet to make a wholesale change to its controllers, only promising in 2019 that they would fix any Joy-Cons sent back for repair. While that promise has remained intact over the past three years, Nintendo has reportedly made Joy-Con improvements along the way, according to recent research by consumer group Which? revealed that, in a group of 919 UK-based Switch owners, nearly 40% of users reported issues. Of this demographic, 73% have contacted Nintendo about it.
However, out of that 73%, almost 20% of users said that despite filing their complaints with Nintendo, they never received a replacement, repair, or any word of both. Rocio Concha, Policy and Advocacy Director of Which?, released a statement yesterday, June 14, saying:
Our research shows that “drift” issues continue to plague Nintendo Switch owners, but too often they may find themselves footing the bill themselves to replace faulty controllers or face a lottery when contacting Nintendo for help.
As a result, Concha urged Nintendo to conduct its own investigation into the matter, examining the causes of the hardware issue and advocating for the findings to be made public once completed. Additionally, Concha believed that Nintendo should commit to free repairs and replacements, especially given the long duration of the hardware problem.
When the study was published, Which? has contacted Nintendo for a statement. In response, the company said:
The percentage of Joy-Con controllers reported to have had issues with the analog stick in the past is low, and we’ve been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analog stick since its launch in 2017.
The company continues to encourage Switch owners to reach out to their Joy-Cons with disabilities and that they will be “happy to openly and forgivingly address any consumer issues related to Joy-Con controller analog sticks,” even in situations where the warranty no longer applies. Whether or not that will be the reality of the situation as it continues to unfold remains to be seen. However, for all intents and purposes, Nintendo seems ready and willing to help users with their Joy-Con issues.