Nintendo Switch Joy-Con operation due to ‘design flaw’, UK consumer group reports

A major new study from British consumer group Which? has found evidence that the Nintendo Switch’s infamous Joy-Con drift is likely caused by a mechanical failure, pointing to fundamental design flaws.

The investigation found that the Joy-Con’s plastic circuit board showed noticeable wear on the joystick sliding contact points, despite only being used for several months. It is this wear and tear that ultimately results in drifting.

In addition, dust and other contaminants were found in the Switch’s internal components, despite attempts by Nintendo to isolate said areas from dust.

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Which? also criticized Nintendo’s handling of the situation and its response to affected consumers.

The organization has called on Nintendo to provide a compensation or refund plan for all UK consumers who can prove they have purchased a replacement Joy-Con due to drift since 2017, and said this scheme should be widely promoted.

It has also asked Nintendo to offer a “no-quibble” repair or replacement of all Joy-Cons that have developed operation since 2017, completely free of charge.

In response to the study, Nintendo issued the following statement: “The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported to have experienced problems with the analog stick in the past is small, and we have made continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analog stick since its launch in 2017.”

“We expect all of our hardware to perform as designed, and if something does not meet this goal, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Support, who will be happy to openly and gently resolve any consumer issues related to the Joy-Con controllers’ analog pins, including in cases where the warranty no longer applies.”

If your Joy-Con has developed drift, it’s worth remembering that your first point of contact should be Nintendo Support, who will likely repair your controllers at no cost to you including shipping. From my own experience you don’t even need to provide proof of purchase, but it will certainly help your case if you are within warranty.

Which? also produced a report earlier this year that found that two out of five Joy-Con controllers from the original Nintendo Switch release are experiencing drift.

Of course, issues surrounding Joy-Con operation have persisted for several years now. In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Nintendo in the United States over the issue, while last year the European Commission said it was considering opening an investigation.

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