The Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con drift problem, explained

What the issue is and how to get your controllers fixed
The Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con drift problem, explained
The Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con drift problem, explained

Nintendo Switch owners have been experiencing problems with the console’s detachable Joy-Con controllers for years now, with users reporting bizarre joystick drifting problems that trigger false inputs and have been steadily rising over time as authentic Switch machines get older.

Ever since a report by Kotaku from July 2019 shined a light-weight on the Joy-Con drift situation, Nintendo has modified its policies considerably. The corporate will now restore drifting Joy-Con controllers without cost, even when your controllers are outdoors the common guarantee. But Nintendo hasn’t modified the design of the controllers, and it’s still a difficulty today, even on the refreshed Switch fashions that launched final year.

If you’re in search of more data on the issue, here’s the current situation:


Joy-Con drift is a matter that Switch owners have been encountering over the last few months that causes the analog sticks on the controllers to randomly transfer round and enter instructions to the console, even after they’re not being bodily moved.

Anecdotally, the issue appears to affect left Joy-Con controllers (which are usually used for motion in most games) more than the proper half of the controller set. Though, there are reports of users experiencing it on each joysticks. A fast (and very unscientific) ballot of Verge staffers revealed that some Switch owners have reported a number of controllers encountering the issue, whereas others have by no means skilled it, which appears to be mirrored by reports across the web.


There are two potential causes for drift: some users blame the issue on both mud or particles making their approach into the controller beneath a rubber cap that’s designed to maintain the inside clear.

Others have utterly disassembled the controller and located worn-down contacts, which is likely to be causing the issue resulting from repetitive use. It’s also potential that neither of these theories is right or that it’s a mix of things that trigger stick drift over time. With out Nintendo clarifying the situation, it’s robust to inform precisely what’s unsuitable.


As talked about above, it’s not absolutely clear what’s causing the issue, which makes fixing it difficult. A potential answer is to ensure you’re operating the newest Switch software or to recalibrate your analog sticks to ensure it’s not a software situation.

Some users have also tried utilizing compressed air or isopropyl alcohol to repair the issue, though success appears to differ drastically. Others have taken the more drastic step of absolutely changing the joystick solely — a much more troublesome repair that may void your guarantee, if it really works in any respect.

Read Also: Why Final Fantasy VII Remake is my game of the year


Following the outrage over the issue in July 2019, Nintendo has begun to repair impacted controllers freed from cost. Vice Information reports that Nintendo has directed its buyer help workforce to repair Joy-Con controllers without cost and situation refunds for earlier repairs, even if you happen to’re now not beneath guarantee.

Nintendo now even has a devoted space of its help web site for Joy-Con restore requests: simply fill out the shape and Nintendo will coordinate your return, affirm that the controllers have the issue, and both restore or exchange the controllers.

In any other case, Nintendo provides a typical guarantee of 90 days (for equipment, which appears to incorporate individually bought Joy-Con controllers) and year (for consoles, which appears to incorporate Joy-Con controllers which can be included with a Switch).


If you’re outdoors the guarantee, Reddit users had beforehand reported prices of $40 for an out-of-warranty restore, which is almost the price of a alternative single Joy-Con controller. (They run for $50 individually or $80 as a pair.) As of now, there haven’t been any bulletins of an prolonged guarantee for controllers.

When the issue was first revealed, Nintendo commented:

At Nintendo, we take nice Joy in creating high quality merchandise and we’re constantly improving them. We’re conscious of current reports that some Joy-Con controllers will not be responding appropriately. We wish our users to have enjoyable with Nintendo Switch, and if something falls wanting this objective we at all times encourage them to go to so we might help.


Again in 2019, regulation agency Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith filed a category motion lawsuit towards Nintendo, alleging that the Joy-Con controllers are faulty as a result of drift points, and the agency is actively in search of more Switch owners to hitch the go well with. That go well with continues to be in progress, with the agency just lately requesting that users ship in movies of drift to assist show to Nintendo that the issue has triggered problems for patrons.

Additionally, a second class motion go well with has been stuffed in California over the identical situation in October 2020.


It’s unclear if the Switch Lite is as affected in the case of controller stick drift — reports from throughout the web differ, and there doesn’t appear to have been the identical degree of outcry (or a Nintendo alternative program) for the smaller Switch mannequin. But the Switch Lite doesn’t have detachable controllers, so if it does undergo from related points with stick drifting, the situation may very well be far worse. In that state of affairs, users received’t have the ability to Switch out a controller to repair it.