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Nintendo faces Europe-wide investigation into Joy-Con drift

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(Image credit: Nintendo)

After a wave of Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift complaints, the BEUC – an umbrella group representing dozens of EU consumer organizations – has filed a formal complaint against Nintendo for "premature obsolescence" and launched a Europe-wide investigation into drift malfunctions.

The BEUC has looped in the European Commission as well as national consumer protection agencies to call for Nintendo to "urgently address the premature failures of its product," offer free repairs for faulty Joy-Cons, and inform current and prospective Switch owners "about the limited lifespan of this product." Director general Monique Goyens summed up the complaint succinctly: "It’s high time for companies to stop putting products onto the market that break too early." 

Interestingly, the full complaint sent to the European Commission singles out two causes of Joy-Con drift: "premature wear of printed circuits" and "a sealing defect that causes dust [to] enter the interiors of the joystick."  It also specifies that while "Nintendo made changes to the design of its controllers a few months ago," these changes haven't prevented drift in new Joy-Cons. 

Joy-Con drift remains one of the most notable design flaws of the Nintendo Switch – a recurring sticking point for an otherwise splendid system. The BEUC says it's received nearly 25,000 EU complaints on Joy-Con drift alone, with 88% of affected users reporting that they had one or more Joy-Cons break within two years of use. 

This isn't the first time that Joy-Con drift has been formally called out, either. Last June, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa acknowledged and apologized for the issue shortly after a class-action lawsuit was filed against the company in the US. In December 2020, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said Nintendo is "looking at what is being sent in [for repairs] and for what reasons," but didn't offer specifics on how Joy-Con drift may be resolved in future hardware iterations. 

With the Nintendo Switch purportedly just halfway through its lifespan and EU consumer protections now lighting another fire under Nintendo, perhaps we'll see proper Joy-Con drift prevention within the console's lifespan. 

For the time being, here's how to fix Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift (without sending your controller in for repairs).

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.