Massive outcry over drift issues prompted the company’s response
Public discussion of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons “drifting”, or registering false analog stick movement, reached a head following a report from Kotaku highlighting how prevalent the hardware issue really was. Today, Vice Games said they acquired internal memos from a source within Nintendo that advised customer service to begin offering repair service to controllers at no cost.
According to Vice, the important new lines remove the step where customers needed to provide purchase documentation to be eligible for free repairs:
“Customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs,” the internal customer service details say. “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.”
This is a big change for owners, like the author of this piece, whose Joy-Cons performed admirably while the one-year purchase warranty was in effect. For many, the drift issue only cropped up recently or after more than a year of ownership. That meant paying to ship the controllers and have Nintendo repair them, a costly service that could render the console useless until they returned.
Prior to the memo acquired by Vice, Kotaku further reported on a response from Nintendo earlier this week. A representative from the company told them Nintendo was “aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly.” They urged customers to visit the Nintendo Switch support website, which lists a number of steps to follow when experiencing Joy-Con drifting, such as updating or recalibrating the controllers.
Public response following recent reporting reached such a state that a law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo on the 22nd, which may have been a motivating factor in the company providing repairs to customers for free, regardless of proof of purchase.
This is the second issue to hobble Joy-Con controllers. Shortly after the launch of the console in 2017, players noticed the left Joy-Con would desync from the console. Then, as now, a rash of homemade fixes and tutorials spread across the internet, asking people to crack open the $80 piece of hardware to fiddle with its delicate construction.
Autosave has reached out to Nintendo for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.