The Switch has faced numerous complaints about drifting Joy-Con controllers since its launch in 2017, sparking a class-action lawsuit. Even the European Union called for an investigation into the issue after receiving more than 25,000 complaints from multiple countries. The reporting was significant enough for Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa to apologize for the issue in 2020, claiming that the problem had “improved.”
A recent Kotaku report claimed that Nintendo of America was receiving “thousands” of defective Joy-Cons a week when drift problems were severe, and now UK consumer watchdog Which? has shared its own investigation into the magnitude of the problem as a result, it is claimed that two out of five (40%) Joy-Con controllers in the original Switch were affected.
Which?’s findings are based on the results of a YouGov online survey conducted in March of this year among 919 adults in the UK who own a Switch. Six in 10 (57%) participants said they started experiencing drift issues within the first year of owning a Switch, and about a quarter (26%) of those contacted Nintendo for a replacement or repair. Of these, one in five (19%) did not receive a free replacement or repair.
In a second investigation into Switch Drift, Which? ran multiple durability tests at Joy-Con aimed at replicating 6, 12, and 18 months of use. Its findings confirmed that none of the controllers it tested showed drift, which it said could simply be because they belonged to 60% of the controllers without a problem. However, it noted that the results could also be due to its durability testing not taking into account everyday hazards in the home, such as dust and debris.
Following the investigation, Which? called on Nintendo to commission an independent investigation into the cause of the Joy-Con drift and to make the findings and findings public. It also wants Nintendo to commit to a “non-controversial” and completely free repair or replacement of all drifting Joy-Con controllers sold in the UK since 2017, and to promote the program so all affected consumers know about free support.
“Our research shows that drift issues continue to plague Nintendo Switch owners, but they often have to pay for a faulty controller themselves or face a lottery when contacting Nintendo for support,” said Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Communications.
In response to its report provided to Which?, Nintendo said, “The percentage of Joy-Con controllers that have been reported as having issues with analog sticks in the past is small, and we’ve been making continuous improvements to the Joy-Con analog sticks introduced in 2017. ”
“We want all of our hardware to perform as designed,” it continued, “and if anything falls short of this, we always encourage consumers to contact Nintendo Customer Service, who will be happy to openly and leniently resolve any issues with Issues related to analog sticks for consumer Joy-Con controllers, including situations where the warranty may no longer apply.”
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