Switch's Joy-Con drift is on Nintendo, not consumers, claims study

Nintendo Joy Con
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A UK consumer group claims Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift is due to a "design flaw."

That's according to Which?, as reported by Eurogamer, in a finding first published this past week. In short, the consumer group's publisher report claims the Joy-Con drift is likely down to a mechanical fault and design flaws, rather than wear and tear from usage over time.

The report studied the Joy-Con's circuit boards, and found that they showed "noticeable" wear and tear despite only being used for a matter of months. Dust and "contaminants" were also found in the Joy-Con's internal components, which obviously doesn't help matters with the controllers.

Going a step further, Which? has actually called on Nintendo to provide compensation or a refund for any UK consumers who purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift since 2017. 

Nintendo has now issued a statement in response to the report from Which? "The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported as experiencing issues with the analogue stick in the past is small, and we have been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analogue stick since its launch in 2017," the statement reads.

"We expect all our hardware to perform as designed, and, if anything falls short of this goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo customer support, who will be happy to openly and leniently resolve any consumer issues related to the Joy-Con controllers’ analogue sticks, including in cases where the warranty may no longer apply," Nintendo's statement concluded.

Joy-Con drift has been a hot topic for Nintendo Switch customers for over five years now, since the Switch launched in 2017. Back in 2020, Nintendo said it wanted to "make improvements" to the Joy-Con controllers, and in very early 2021, Nintendo faced a Europe-wide investigation into Joy-Con drift, though no legal ramifications ever came of the investigation. 

Customers have since taken matters into their own hands, with one Switch player fixing Joy-Con drift with a piece of paper last year. Just earlier this year, although Nintendo claimed it had strengthened reliability testing for Joy-Con controllers, one exec compared Joy-Cons to car tyres, and said it's only natural they would have to be replaced after a certain period of time. 

If you've been experiencing these problems of late, you can read up on our guide on how to fix Joy Con drift on the Nintendo Switch for more.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.