Nintendo 'aware' of Switch Joy-Con 'drifting' issues that spurred lawsuit

It's a good thing new models are coming.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
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Oscar Gonzalez
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Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons' defect is the center of a lawsuit.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Nintendo revealed two new Switch models in July. One is the more portable Switch Lite and the other is a new version of the original console with a longer battery life. Some current Switch owners, however, aren't happy with the system's controller and an issue known as "drifting," which led to a lawsuit. A leaked memo from Nintendo says it will reportedly fix "drifting" Joy-Cons for free

Law firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith on Friday filed a lawsuit against Nintendo of America over Joy-Con "drifting." The complaint alleges that Nintendo marketed and sold the Switch and Joy-Con controllers despite being "aware of the defect through online consumer complaints."

Some Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons apparently don't return to center properly thus creating a constant input of a particular direction, or drifting. One thread on the Nintendo Switch subreddit had dozens of console owners complaining about the problem. One user mentioned that six of their eight Joy-Cons had the issue. 

Nintendo of America says it's aware of the Joy-Con drift issue. 

"At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them," a company representative said in an emailed statement Tuesday. "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."

On the official Nintendo support forums, there are dozens of threads from owners experiencing drifting on their Joy-Cons. One moderator advised users to follow the steps on how to fix Joy-Con drift on the company's support page. 

An internal memo says Nintendo reportedly advised customer representatives to offer free repairs for malfunctioning Joy-Cons and give refunds to those who paid a service fee to have them fixed. 

A partner with the law firm behind the lawsuit says Switch owners have high expectations for Nintendo products. 

"This drift issue simply prevents consumers from playing games in the way they are supposed to be able to on this device," Benjamin F. Johns said Tuesday. "It is extremely frustrating and I can understand why so many people are upset. We look forward to prosecuting this case."

The firm has a signup page for Nintendo Switch owners who are experiencing similar problems with their Joy-Cons. They're seeking class-action status for the case, which was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

Originally published July 22.
Update, July 23: Adds comments from Nintendo and the law firm. Update, July 24: Adds repair details. 

Watch this: Nintendo Switch Lite first impressions