Hot potato: Joystick drift has consistently plagued the latest gaming consoles over the past few years. This week, one former head of the Nintendo Switch repair center shed some light on just how bad the problem with the Nintendo machine was.
Each defective Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller sent in by users in the Eastern US went through a single repair shop in Syracuse, New York. Anonymous former leader there said Kotaku that since roughly the launch of the console in 2017, the store has been constantly inundated with orders for repairs and replacements.
The boss said that thousands of Joy-Con controllers were passing through the repair center every week, requiring a separate dedicated space, and this stifled the work of the workers there. A tidal wave of job orders has caused high turnover, leading to more mistakes by inexperienced temporary workers.
During the first year of launch, the repair center replaced the Joy-Cons, slightly reducing the workload on staff. However, after 2018, the store was forced to refurbish any Joy-Cons it received and struggled to keep up. Nintendo expected the store to fix 90 percent of returned devices within four days, regardless of staffing levels.
Joystick drift – a major cause of repair orders – persists and isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. At the end of last year, Nintendo engineers said that this was inevitable and due to wear and tear. Drift has also recently affected Xbox and PlayStation controllers. All three console makers are facing class action lawsuits over the issue.
After reviewing the PlayStation 5 controller in February, iFixit said the issue could be due to cost-saving measures taken by the three companies. It remains to be seen if this decision was worth the cost of many repaired and replaced controllers and lawsuits.