If you weren’t previously aware of the Nintendo Switch’s “Joy-Con drift” issue, chances are you’ve been made all too aware of it in recent weeks thanks to an increasing number of reports and coverage on the defect.
If you’re a Switch owner who’s never experienced Joy-Con drift, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Thanks to natural wear and tear, and/or the build up of dirt underneath the rubber caps on the Joy-Con’s thumbsticks, said sticks develop a fault that causes them to detect movement regardless of whether you’ve touched the controller.
It doesn’t often make games unplayable, but forms an unpleasantly irritating background problem that you constantly have to wrestle with as you play games. The camera could start to drift in the wrong direction, characters could suddenly start moving to the left, or menus could be become hell to navigate as the stick flies through options without any input from you. It’s a bloody pain, basically.
Before this week, Nintendo had never acknowledged the issue, though growing noise online suggested it was a much more widespread problem than most of us had previously assumed. As a response to this noise, Nintendo finally responded with a reply that pleased approximately zero customers.
The company said in a statement:
We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com so we can help.
Obviously, the first thing most people with a faulty Joy-Con did was visit Nintendo support or send their defective controllers back to the company to attempt to get them fixed. Given the apparent severity of the issue, many considered this response to be nowhere near good enough, especially since many would have to pay Nintendo to get the Joy-Con repaired.
The latest update via a report from Vice suggests that Nintendo is now attempting to rectify the situation by offering free repairs on any affected Joy-Cons, no questions asked. Better yet, it seems that anyone who did pay to get them fixed previously would be eligible for a refund.
Vice spoke with “a source familiar with Nintendo’s updated customer support documentation” who said internal company memos stated the following:
Customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs. Additionally it is not necessary to confirm warranty status. If a customer requests a refund for a previously paid Joy-Con repair […] confirm the prior repair and then issue a refund.
Whether or not this report turns out to be true remains to be seen, but it certainly suggests Nintendo has taken notice of the surge in complaints.
Nintendo has previously had a pretty good track record when it comes to repairing faulty hardware, so there’s every chance the company could confirm this decision soon.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.