Nintendo Switch Controllers Are Beginning to Fail in Large Numbers

Nintendo’sSwitchhasbeenahugehitforthecompany.We’veheardrelativelylittlenewsofproblemswiththehardwaresincesoonafterlaunchwhenJoyConcontrollerconnectionissuesprovedtobeanissueforsomeusers.

Itturnsout,however,thattheJoyConcontrollers—whicharefairlyexpensive,at$80perset—haveanissuethat’sbeenanincreasingproblemforgamers:drift.It’sapparentlynotunusualforthesecontrollerstobegintoreadinputfromacontrollerstick,asthoughanindividualactuallyhadtheirthumbonitandwerepushingtheanalogcontrollerinaspecificdirection.TheissueisdistinctfromacalibrationproblemandisnotresolvedbyrecalibratingaJoyCon.Itdoesn’thappenatfirst,butitmayappearafterseveralweeksormonthsofplay.

Standardexplanationsforthiskindofproblemincludeconnectionerrors,dirtorgrimebuildingupinsidethecontroller,orpeople(childrenespecially)simplybeingtoohardontheSwitch’sinternalswhileplayingit.Thereportsfromplayersaretoonumeroustochalkupsolelytotheseexplanations,however.Onegamer,LocusAintBadonReddit,whoinsistshe’streatedhisSwitchwiththeutmostcareandhasusedaSwitchProcontrollerforall“rough”gaming,hasneverthelessseenthisissueappearonhisJoyCons,eventhoughhe’sonlyusedthemlightlyoverfourmonthsofownership,relyingprimarilyontheSwitchPro.

KotakunotesthattherearewidespreadreportsofJoyCondriftallovermultipleSwitchgamingcommunitiesandtonsofvideosonYouTubethatpurporttoshowpeoplehowtoresolvetheproblem.There’sacottageindustryofmodsandfixes.KotakunotesthatroughlyaquarteroftheSwitch-owningstaffhavehadissueswithdrift.NintendoLifestatesthatnearlyalloftheiremployeeshavebeenimpacted.NintendowillhonorawarrantyonyourSwitchcontrollers,providedthedeviceisin-warranty,butsomebuyershavebeenthroughmultiplepairsofSwitchcontrollers,mostorallofwhichhaveshownsignsofdriftwithinweekstomonths.

Thiskindofrepetitivefailureratecanbekeytodiagnosingwhetheranissueisreallyhittingusers.Forumshaveawell-knowntendencytowardsnegativereportsbecauseallofthepeoplewhoaren’thavingSwitchproblemsdon’tshowuptopostaboutitontechnicalsupportforums.SeeingpeopletalkabouthavingthesameproblemwithmultipleSwitchcontrollersdoesn’tguaranteethattheyaren’tcausingitthemselves,butitatleastsuggestsanissuethatgoesbeyondasinglebadcontroller.

AccordingtoRainbopython,whoexaminedtheJoyConsinateardown,theissueiscausedbywearandtearontheinternalsofthedevice,whichleadstoresiduebuild-upinsidethecontroller,whichcausesthedrift.ThiscanapparentlybeaddressedtoatleastsomedegreewithDIYrepairs.Thefrequencyoffailureandtherepetitivenessofit,however,mayormaynotbepermanentlyfixableat-home.

[email protected]’veownedtheswitchfor4monthsandamexperiencingjoycondriftalreadythisishighlyunacceptableandunprofessional.Your“Support”toldmetopay$4shippingtohaveyouguysfixyourfaultycontroller.Nothanks.

UsersarealsoconcernedaboutwhatthiscouldmeanfortheSwitchLite,whichdoesn’thaveremovablecontrollersatall.HavingtoshipaSwitchLitebacktoNintendoforrepairwouldbeafarlargerheadachethanswitchingtoaProcontrollerwhiletheSwitchJoyConsareoffatNintendoforrepair.

Atthesametime,however,twoyearsismorethanenoughtimetohavediagnosedandfixedthisissueandthehighpriceofJoyConsmeansNintendohasnoexcuseasfarascontinuingtoshipthecurrentdesigns.At$80apair,itdoesn’ttakeallthatmanysetsofJoyConstoadduptothebasecostofthehardwareitself.ThismaynotbeanissuetocomparetoMicrosoft’sinfamousRROD,butit’sbigenoughthatNintendoshould’vealreadyfixedit.

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