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Switch Joy-Con drift is ‘design flaw’ and gamers should get free replacements – watchdog

A UK consumer champion has called on Nintendo to issue ‘no quibble’ Joy-Con replacements for Switch gamers, who’ve struggled with the long-standing drift issue that has plagued the controller.

Following an investigation, Which? says the issue, which has been noted since the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, can be boiled down to a design flaw.

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Which? says problems aren’t down to wear on the controllers, but a mechanical fault within the design, causing the Switch to register an input when gamers haven’t moved the analogue stick.

“Which? has lab analysis evidence that Nintendo Switch controller drift problems are likely due to a mechanical fault, pointing to design flaws. We’re calling for the games console giant to get a grip on the issue,” the consumer champion says.

Nintendo hasn’t always been forthcoming in offering replacements for controllers suffering from the issue, and has instead urged gamers to contact Nintendo Support for free repairs. Which? says the company should go further in offering full replacements without users having to go through the time-consuming rigmarole of the repair process.

“Nintendo must get a grip on the problem and provide free repairs, compensation, refunds or replacements to any consumers who have been impacted by this issue since the launch of the console,” said Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha (via VGC).

The publication has called on Nintendo to commission a full and independent investigation into the issue, and offer the refunds and replacements to gamers, even if their warranties have expired. It says if gamers can prove they purchased replacements because of Joy-Con drift, they should be compensated too. Of course, none of this is binding and Nintendo is not obliged to follow the recommendations. Indeed, they probably won’t.

In a statement in response to the Which? report, the company said: “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.

“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.”

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