Nintendo has agreed to offer free lifetime repairs of Nintendo Switch controllers experiencing the dreaded “Joy-Con drift” to consumers across the European Union.
The move comes in response to years of organized complaints and a pressure campaign from the European Consumer Organization (BEUC). In a 2021 report, that organization logged “nearly 25,000 complaints” from European Switch owners regarding Joy-Con drift, which causes a Switch joystick to register phantom inputs even when it is untouched in the “neutral” position. The BEUC’s formal complaint cited the Joy-Con hardware for “premature obsolescence” and said that it’s “high time for companies to stop putting products onto the market that break too early.”
It’s absolutely crazy that it has taken Nintendo this long to formally address this issue. It’s incredibly widespread – we, too, have drift on both of our Switches – and a clear, unambiguous design flaw that could be solved in a variety of ways. We’ve personally considered buying new Joy-Cons, but that just feels bad, as if we’re rewarding Nintendo’s incompetence and malice with more money. Instead, we may opt to buy and install third-arty hall effect sticks instead, to avoid the problem from returning altogether.