/ Technology

Tackling the Nintendo Switch’s ‘Joy-Con drift’ problem

Consumer organisations across Europe are ramping up their work investigating a fault with the Nintendo Switch. Are you affected? You can help by getting in touch.

Back in May 2020, we reported on a fault that consumers were running into with their Nintendo Switch consoles – ‘Joy-Con- drift’ has been plaguing some owners for years.

Product obsolescence is high on the agenda for us – durability and longevity is a major consumer rights issue, and it also has sustainability and corporate social responsibility implications.

As the bestselling games console in the UK, we believe that consumers are entitled to expect that the Nintendo Switch is a reliable and longlasting device.

Since 2017, some Nintendo Switch owners have been dealing with a fault named Joy-Con drift. Joy-Cons are the controllers that the Switch hardware uses, and Joy-Con drift is when these controllers deteriorate and start to register unwanted commands, significantly affecting the gameplay experience.

When your Joy-Cons develop this fault, your recourse is to try and pursue a repair with Nintendo, attempt to fix them yourself, or fork out around £60 to buy a replacement. If you buy new Joy-Cons, they will be the exact same hardware and so they will be equally as liable to develop Joy-Con drift.

A class-action lawsuit filed in the United States in November 2020 (Carbajal v. Nintendo of America, Inc.) shed new light on the issue. The complaint included photos of a hardware teardown and electron microscope images which show the circuit damage that causes the fault.

The lawsuit also alleges that Nintendo “included the same defective hardware into the Switch Lite systems”. The Switch Lite was a later edition of the console launched in September 2019.

What you’ve told us so far

The internet provides many examples of customer complaints. Which? members have shared some with us too.

B Bower:

“This happened to me last August. I contacted Nintendo and sent it in for a free repair, got it back towards the end of September (quite some time) and it was functional again. However the same issue has developed again, and I contacted them a couple of days ago to ask for a replacement rather than a repair”

Tskivington:

“This happened to us too. We bought the switch when it was launched. Have a second set of controllers that also have this issue”

C Williams:

“We have had the same issue of joy con drift, it’s very frustrating as it affects game play and leads to a very upset child”

Mike Corbridge:

I have got two controllers with drift. I am out of warranty and have bought multiple new controllers and lots of games. A total waste of money and a constant disappointment

We want to hear more

Consumer organisations across Europe are looking at this issue and ramping up efforts to obtain case studies from their countries. Understanding the scale and severity of the problem will be key to determining whether consumers can enforce their rights effectively.

Which? wants to help ensure better quality and more durable games consoles are designed and produced in future.

We’re looking for case studies from consumers who have been let down by this hardware fault, and we want to know what happened afterwards.

By sharing your experience, you’re helping to advance positive action on behalf of consumers.

24/02/2021

Over the last month, we’ve received a wealth of responses to our questionnaire.

Our questionnaire is now closed for new responses, but you can still let us know in the comments if you have experienced this common fault.

If you’d like to read more about our work in tackling product obsolescence, then you can read our commitment to sustainability.

Comments

I hope Which? are not devoting their scarce resources to this. There are far more important consumer issues that need tackling.

OK, this might be seen as something of a “first world” problem, but then so too would be many of the issues discussed here.

But as a point of principle, shouldn’t all consumer goods be sufficiently durable, whether or not they are “toys” or serious household appliances?

I’m sure fans of the old Nintendo DS products will be very disappointed by these problems, as I believe the latter were excellent and long lived.

In some ways, this issue reminds me of the old Xbox 360 red ring of death problem, which was a thorn in the side of many consumers.

In my view it is just what priorites there are for Which? to apply its limited resources to. Fires in domestic electrical appliances for example.

As the article states, consumer organisations across Europe are looking into the issue, so Which? is assisting by feeding in what information it can. At this stage this is simply through the questionnaire above.

Product obsolescence, durability and longevity has been raised as a significant issue in topics on Which? Conversation and in wider research. The Switch is the best selling games console in the UK, which would make a potential problem with obsolescence a significant issue that could have wider sustainable consequences.

@gmartin, that is quite right and I have frequently supported durability, economic repairability and sensible warranties that protect consumers from unacceptable failures. I simply hope more effort will be devoted in this area to essential items first, such as domestic electrical appliances. There is a lot to be done here to prevent consumer detriment.

I support George here. Not only are the consumer issues relevant but if Which? is going to attract younger members and raise their awareness of consumer problems it helps to include topics that will interest them.

”Ever since a report by Kotaku from July 2019 shined a light on the Joy-Con drift issue, Nintendo has changed its policies significantly. The company will now repair drifting Joy-Con controllers for free, even if your controllers are outside the regular warranty.
https://www.theverge.com/21504741/nintendo-switch-joy-con-drift-problem-explained

If this is correct, is the problem not being addressed?

But how many “dangerous” Indesit et al tumble dryers and Whirlpool washing machines are still out there, unrepaired, and what efforts are being made to establish a good product registration and recall system?

The next line of that quote is as follows: “But Nintendo hasn’t changed the design of the controllers, and it’s still an issue today, even on the refreshed Switch models that launched last year.”

The questionnaire is a way for us to see how the problem is being dealt with, and if indeed the statement regarding the newer models is true.

Which?’s work around Whirlpool has been substantial and continues with the End Dangerous Products campaign: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/end-dangerous-products/

As a result of that campaign work, Which? is continuing to make the case for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards to be made independent with a clear duty for consumer protection and public safety. A full update on where that work was heading next was made here:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/end-dangerous-products-campaign-update-whirlpool/

I can confirm that the team responsible for our work on Whirlpool are not involved in any way with this issue – that’s now how resource within the organisation would work in any case. The data we collect from this questionnaire will help with initial research on this topic while of course we continue to work on a number of others.

Patrick Taylor says:
21 January 2021

The detail in the US court case is very useful and Que Choisir even gets a mention ! The photographs and technical details seem to make this a no brainer case – but then it is the US so anything can happen.

propublica.org/article/magistrate-judges-took-bribes-stole-money-and-mishandled-cases-south-carolina-officials-now-want-reform

@ gmartin. Yes. But simply calling for a “full product recall” when Which? know there is no adequate mechanism for doing so does not get us far. I believe Which? should be considering just how, for the future, a proper recall system should be established so all affected consumers can be identified and contacted. Suggestions have been made in Convos for a number of years to help Which? If Which? do not think it is their job to make constructive proposals then I would be a very disappointed Member.

One possible explanation of the Nintendo problem is contact wear through prolonged use. I don’t play console games but I imagine many play intensively and very regularly which will no doubt cause wear (and maybe dust ingress, another possible cause). Under those conditions just how long is a controller expected to last in full working order?
Other products fail early, exceptionally, and very little help seems to be directed at them by addressing the “durability” requirement of the Consumer Rights Act. Domestic appliances as an example including some that fail just out of warranty.

@gmartin, how many Whirlpool/Indesit washing machines and tumble dryers have still not been dealt with? Have we made any progress towards a proper system to achieve full product recalls?

Is the OPSS now going to be independent? Will we have a dedicated consumers’ minister?

A key part of improving potentially dangerous appliances could be to revise the international safety standards. Are Which? members of the relevant BSI committees (CPL/61 for example) where they can use their knowledge, test results, suggestions from Members and Convos, to help in improving the standards all manufacturers must observe?

SSDavis says:
24 January 2021

Just because it doesn’t interest/help you, it doesn’t mean it shouldnt be investigated. I often read articles and think they’re not relevant to me but I don’t whinge about it!

I’ve bought a switch back in November in the black friday sales, touch wood no problems with mine. This is a very interesting read though, thanks for sharing. Will certainly be passing this on to friends who may have been affected.

Patrick Taylor says:
21 January 2021

QC luanches a Court case – Interestingly asking age and hours average usage reveals telling details as noted below

“As part of its fight against organised obsolescence, and after analysing Switch controllers in a laboratory test, the UFC-Que Choisir filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor today against Nintendo for programmed obsolescence. [Sept 2020]

After the UFC-Que Choisir denounced malfunctions affecting Switch controllers last November, more than 5,000 consumers contacted our association, in just 48 hours, to denounce the same recurring failure of the “Joy-Con Drift” affecting their Nintendo Switch controllers: the controller undergoes unexpected ghost movements, which prevent consumers from using their game console correctly.

Problems that persist despite Nintendo’s commitments :

In January 2020, following the intervention of our association, the CEO of Nintendo France undertook to repair the controllers without difficulty, even outside the warranty.

However, reports continued to come in to the association. The figures speak for themselves: 65% of consumer victims noticed this breakdown less than a year after purchasing the controllers. It appears regardless of the player’s profile or age, even when playing less than 5 hours a week. 25% of consumers even saw the breakdown occur within 6 months of purchase, despite the low level of use of the console.

Laboratory expertise needed:

Given the extent of the complaints, UFC-Que Choisir had an expert appraisal conducted on several defective levers, more or less recent, in order to analyse the origin of this breakdown.

The experts noted that Nintendo made changes to the design of its controllers a few months ago, but not to the problem that caused the failures. While Nintendo was informed of this malfunction, the Japanese giant chose not to intervene on the components subject to this failure.

Indeed, in all the samples analysed, the experts are unanimous. Two causes are (more than likely) at the origin of the breakdown:

– Premature wear and tear of the printed circuits;
– A sealing defect which leads to a worrying quantity of debris and dust within the joystick, the origin of which appears to be both internal and external.

Nintendo’s inertia in the face of this malfunction:

The apologies of Nintendo’s CEO, pronounced last July, have therefore not been translated into concrete terms. The company continues to sell controllers that are destined to break down before the end of the first year of use, with full knowledge of the facts.

The nature of the failure, the frequency with which it appears to players, the limited lifespan of these products, and Nintendo’s inertia despite being informed of the malfunction… are all characteristics that indicate that Nintendo is engaging in a practice of programmed obsolescence.

Exchanging or repairing products, which have a non-negligible probability of breaking down again within a year, can only be a temporary remedy. As the malfunction has been known for 3 years, it is essential that the Japanese giant now follows a curative rather than a corrective scenario.

As Nintendo celebrates the 35th anniversary of its mythical character “Mario”, it is important to remember that the expertise acquired over these years must be put at the service of consumers. It would be ironic to note that the father of the famous plumber was unable to fix a problem with the watertightness of his controllers… Determined that Nintendo should review the manufacture of its controllers to avoid the almost systematic occurrence of this breakdown, the UFC-Que Choisir is therefore lodging a complaint today with the Public Prosecutor of Nanterre.

In the meantime, the UFC-Que Choisir invites consumers to contact Nintendo’s after-sales service to obtain free repair of their defective controllers. A step-by-step guide is available on our website quechoisir.org. The UFC-Que Choisir provides consumers with a form that allows them to report a refusal to accept the free repair of controllers.

More generally, to help the UFC-Que Choisir in its fight against organised obsolescence, our association calls on consumers to report their appliances that have become worn out too quickly via its “breakdown observatory”.

So they actually hired experts to check out the controllers ! Amazing what you can do with 160,000 subscribers money.

As a very family-centric device I do agree it is one worth fighting on. I wonder what over consumer bodies have done in Europe.

Patrick Taylor says:
21 January 2021

This is something I did not know ; from a 2019 QC article showing the costs ….

“The reduced life cycle of these controllers is all the more worrying as these failures are rarely repaired or exchanged free of charge by the brand once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. Indeed, when the consumer returns his defective “Joy-Con” to Nintendo, the manufacturer offers to replace it with a new controller for 45 €. The player then has the choice between three options:
– Accept this offer,
– To have your defective controller returned for 15 €,
– Or let Nintendo destroy its product.”

Tony Chilton says:
21 January 2021

I had this issue happen to me! It was just after Animal Crossing came out. They told me it could be months before a repair was completed, and I just knew I couldn’t wait that long. I ended up just buying a second pair of controllers (£70!) I’ve still got the broken Joy-Con in a drawer somewhere I think.

Several years ago, I bought a Sony compact digital camera that was a higher specced version of a Which? best buy. After a few years, long after it was out of warranty, its photosensor array began to malfunction, first producing streaky images, and then failing to capture any images at all.

Luckily for me, I learnt that this was a common fault and that Sony had owned the problem and put together a recall and repair programme for these cameras. So I sent my camera off for a free repair and it was soon returned and worked properly thereafter.

I think this example shows the sort of behaviour that Nintendo should now display in order to resolve these Joy-Con problems.

I think they are offering out-of-warranty free repairs, aren’t they? However as with any products that show unacceptably short lives – lack of adequate durability – apart from claiming a repair the manufacturer should recognise the fault in the design and correct it.

Yes that seems to be the problem.

Patrick Taylor says:
22 January 2021

However if x percent of the public are not aware of the free repair facility, or have no wish to be without their controllers, then they will be purchasing more of the same. If the profit margin is as significant as I think on the controllers then why kill a golden goose?

Having read through most of the US case, and the comments here, it does seem as though customers can be irrational even when they could get them repaired.

Delaying tactics – rather than instantly swapping new or repaired for faulty ones – has a positive effect on the sale of replacements.

A harsh judgement might be that Nintendo was required to immediately replace this faulty design item ad infinitum until they changed the design would encourage them greatly to seek a solution. This plus a requirement to advertise on the packaging this “feature” and in any media advertising of the product.

And to reveal number of controller produced vs the number of handsets so we may all appreciate the scale of waste generated by these badly designed controllers.

I would still find devoting more effort, for example, to requiring mobile phone security updates to be provided for a decent amount of time and not cease after 3, or even 2 years would be a far better use of scarce resources. I’d simply suggest that has a far greater priority in economic and sustainable terms than a games console.

Patrick Taylor says:
22 January 2021

malcolm – You have a tangible easily understood problem here which should be doable inside a year in terms of movement by Nintendo and fines for consumer detriment in at least France and the US.

Improving an intangible such as security updates I would agree with you. However it is really only the Government that independently could demand that all mobile phones receive security updates for a minmum of 4 years AND that they be deployed within a month of being released by Google on Android.

Likelihood of that happening with this shower in the current circumstances? ! Incidentally for all I know there maybe WTO implications. However given we have no mobile phone production to benefit from protectionist measures the rule would apply to all equally. Some firms may drop out of the UK market.

Kevin says:
22 January 2021

I agree with Malcolm’s comment about mobile phone security.

Which? could apply some pressure by showing the support term for the phones it reviews (in the technical details or in the ‘Cons’). My phone went out of main support less than 2 years after the model was released. If I had been aware of the shoddy support I would not have spent several hundred pounds on it.

For instance, the Samsung Galaxy A42 gets a 73% rating, but nowhere does it tell you that it’s effective life (for anyone who cares about security) may be 2 years or less. Trying to find this information is almost impossible until you buy it and a new Android update comes out. It’s certainly not on Samsung’s sales or support page for their phones, I wonder why?

The issue with mobile phone security is quite scandelous. Most mobile phones are very functional way after the support ends. Given the massive usage of mobile phones across the world, only supporting them for such a short period is an apalling waste of resources even if they are recycled. More should be done to increase their usability over a much longer period and Which should start to address this by highligting the length of support as a major element of the overall scoring for phones.

Indeed, as some have commented recently.
If Which? feel that campaigning about a games console controller is worth their time and effort I would have hoped they would put equal resources into campaigning for mobile phones to be supported for much longer than many currently are. I would hazard a guess that there are far more mobile phone users who would benefit than console users.

I know nothing about ‘Joy-Con- drift’ but I see there are YouTube videos explaining how to fix the problem. In most cases, cleaning under the seal of the joystick and recalibration is all that is needed. One of the ways of making products last longer is maintaining them, whether it’s games controllers or dishwashers and washing machines.

I expect that Nintendo can improve the design and I would suggest that they could provide their own YouTube videos showing how to maintain their controllers.

Patrick Taylor says:
22 January 2021

Good point regarding guidance on care ….. but that does reduce their sales of replacements wavechange

Regarding videos I am not always convinced that showing how to repair something is actually atemporary expedient or a lasting solution. Many video stars do not do the follow-up on how long it lasted!! Perhaps the ones you viewed did.

Interestingly this comes back to the idea that Which? host links to approved/recommended help videos. This could be done by the otherwise unutilised membership. A few structural arrangments on vetting procedures etc

I can recall distinctly how helpful it was to see a video where a repair man opened up one of the lethal Whirlpool driers to show the huge amounts of lint that had escaped into the body of the machine. If that had been circulated widely it would have been very useful in illustrating exactly what was going on.

I imagine that some of the Nintendo controllers are left kicking about on the carpet by younger users or they are handled when eating crisps etc. Hopefully having to remove dirt and debris will help avoid the problem in the future. Maybe Nintendo can learn from other manufacturers of similar products and as I suggested, provide their own videos on maintenance. I agree with what you say about selling replacement controllers, Patrick.

I’m not sure about Which? providing this sort of video. Although they have some excellent videos on product features it takes technical expertise to provide or even recommend videos. Some years ago I asked for a video on wiring a plug to be removed because it did not emphasise the need to leave slack in the earth conductor or the importance of correct positioning of the strain relief clamp.

You are right about lint escaping into the body of dryers but this is not restricted to Whirlpool models. The sooner that standard condenser and vented models are phased out and replaced with safer heat pump dryers (which don’t have a high temperature heater) the better. I’m happy to discuss this further in an appropriate Convo.

referring to your article headline, it is illegal to put electrical products into landfill. They have to go through electrical recycling systems.

True, Michael – but reality is that many people discard broken or unwanted kit directly into the refuse bin for a variety of reasons – (a) they want to get rid of it in a way that ensures no one else can get access to it or extract data from it, and refuse disposal is generally the most direct way, whether for landfill or incineration, involving no human interface, (b) they are not aware of proper disposal points, (c) they don’t realise there are legal requirements on disposal, (d) they are a long way from a civic amenity site, or (d) their local authority does not provide a separate kerbside collection facility.

Even retailers of new products do not take back replaced electrical and electronic items when selling new ones; they refer customers to their local authority recycling facilities or industry schemes.

Just as landfill disposal causes environmental harm, incineration is not good either since burning will release toxic gases which cannot always be scrubbed before discharge and it also results in the destruction of rare minerals that could be recovered through reprocessing. If the incinerator ash and other residues is then pulverised for reforming into construction materials, the mix of metals, plastics, chemicals and general s**g will be a environmental time bomb and could also leach into groundwater .

Norwich City Council provides a free weekly disposal service for small electrical and electronic apparatus, batteries, etc, alongside the regular recycling or refuse collections. The householder just has to put the item in a carrier bag and leave it next to their bin on collection day. Textiles and shoes can also be disposed of every week in the same way but few people seem to use the facility. I think there is a sense of finality about putting things in the refuse bin which people prefer. If non-putrescible waste was only collected once a month there might be a change of outlook, more people would use their kitchen caddies, and less recyclable or reusable material would go to landfill or incineration. Unfortunately, not all local authorities provide a wide range of disposal services and facilities nor do they standardise on bin-types/colours and operational requirements.

Retailers do have responsibilities to take back waste electrical ans electronic equipment.
https://www.gov.uk/electricalwaste-producer-supplier-responsibilities/take-back-waste-in-store

Until recently the Distributor Takeback Scheme allowed retailers to pay a small amount to avoid their responsibility for taking back electronic waste.

“If your business sells £100,000 or more of EEE per year and has physical stores, you cannot use the DTS after 31 December 2020. You’ll need to take back waste in store or set up an alternative collection point instead.”

Thanks, Wavechange. I hadn’t realised that the the law had changed a few weeks ago. Of course, this won’t trouble Amazon and e-Bay and many other on-line sellers which have no physical stores and where most electrical goods are purchased nowadays. Not having traded with Currys PC World for many years I don’t know what arrangements they now make.

Like many people I have a box full of small waste electrical and electronic equipment, cables and chargers, obsolete phones, cameras, keyboards, mice, transistor radios, speakers, and other small gear. I suppose a trip to the tip is required as soon as conditions permit; at least there they sort and recycle or reuse the goods received [at least . . . they say they do].

I notice that, in my previous comment here, a perfectly correct industrial term for the waste arising from metal processing has been given the double asterisk treatment, presumably because the moderation process cannot distinguish one context from another. I am not happy that Which? might think that I would resort to using offensive slang in a Conversation contribution, or that I don’t know the rules of English grammar and when to use the indefinite article.

Here’s a relevant article, John: https://resource.co/article/large-retailers-will-have-offer-store-weee-take-back-2021 Under the DTS scheme that has been in operation most of our physical retailers have been paying a token amount to avoid having to collect and dispose of electronic waste. The article mentions that online marketplaces are evading their responsibilities. If we cannot get them to ensure that what they sell complies with safety regulations I don’t see much chance of them taking responsibility for waste. Perhaps the answer is to increase tax on new products and encourage the public to dispose of waste responsibly. What Norwich City Council is doing seems like an example of good practice.

” ………in my previous comment here, a perfectly correct industrial term for the waste arising from metal processing has been given the double asterisk treatment, presumably because the moderation process cannot distinguish one context from another……….
John, perhaps AI is being applied. I think some humans may suffer from this, and a lack of the ability to apply
” judgement
/ˈdʒʌdʒm(ə)nt/
noun
1.
the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
“an error of judgement”

I hope we don’t lose you ☹️

Thanks, Malcolm. No, I intend to persevere on this site but I am seriously considering ending my subscription to Which? after over fifty years because it no longer gives much satisfaction.

The censoring of certain words is done automatically on this and other sites. If you are logged-in you have 30 minutes in which to replace the offending word with an alternative.

It is the judgement of “offending” that is the problem. Why should anyone be denied using perfectly normal words just because some AI police have no capacity to exercise judgement? If moderators can step in to remonstrate with a contributor they can surely use their same powers to deal with words. I had to turn the stop c**k off the other day because I had a mains water leak.
See – silly, isn’t it.

It would help if the asterisks appeared as we wrote rather than when the comment is posted. I missed the deadline for editing otherwise I might have sought a different but less precise word like ‘scrap’ [let’s see how that goes down].

Did you have to dip into your water butt, Malcolm?

I expect that moderators have better things to do with their time. Just change the word to stopcock and it will not be picked up by the computer.

John – The asterisks cannot appear as you type because the text is still on your computer.

They have time to deal with jokes. The word I used, simply as an example, has a number of applications, from describing a male bird to setting a gun. Many other words have similar perfectly useful meanings. I have no intention of treading on eggshells.

I don’t know whether we expect all films, tv and radio programmes, newspapers and magazines to asterisk all words that someone could contrive to be “offensive”. The language used there far exceeds anything seen in Which?Convos. Why are they singled out?

It is nonsense when a very small minority try to impose their views on the rest.

John, perhaps you could find a setting on your computer that would asterisk words as you type, like a predictive text option. Personally, I wouldn’t bother. I’ve no intention of being told what language I can, and cannot, use by a mindless system.

Wavechange says that perhaps the moderators have better things to do with their time. I’m not sure what Which? does with its time. 19 days ago I asked a straightforward question of Which? through their messaging site, and got an acknowledgement that they hoped to reply within 3 days. Still waiting, despite messaging a reminder. I would have thought after 12 months of adapting working methods to Covid and, as far as I know, not significantly reducing the workforce, the courtesy of a reply would be still thought appropriate.

We have often been told that Which? staff read all the comments coming into Which? Conversation. I have always considered that to be an incredible claim but that, presumably, is their job.

I don’t expect Which? staff to log onto Which? Conversation after they get home from work each day as other contributors do – after all it’s not their hobby as this is for a number of us – nevertheless I am a bit surprised by their overall lack of interest.

Morning all, hope you all had good weekends. I think we’ll all recognise that we’ve had the debate around the word filter before. No system is ever perfect, but it has been explained that it’s there for a reason. I’ve noted the comments around context (yes, any automatic system would find it hard to differentiate) and we’ll discuss them with others here.

I’d like to get this one back on topic now please. We all accept that video games aren’t for everyone, but as has been explained the Switch itself is hugely popular:

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-01-11-two-thirds-of-uk-game-sales-were-digital-in-2020#:~:text=Overall%2C%20with%20Switch%20doing%20gangbusters,in%20the%20UK%20last%20year.

I think we’d all agree that hardware selling in this sort of quantity needs to be robust and not prone to failure. We’ve had a number of useful responses through the form that we’ll be passing on to our friends in Europe to aid any future research.

Patrick Taylor says:
15 February 2021

I am not sure why the link is 100% longer than needed. Simply using everything before the hash symbol works.

It was suggested above that moderators have better things to do with their time than put the *** words right when the unintelligent word checker comes up with a silly result. This does not happen very often so would take up very little of their time to deal with.

Do they read every comment? Some of us do and it does not take much time – normally there are not that many. I hope they do to keep Which? informed.

However, do we think that when a comment is directly addressed to them, using their @name, a good use of the moderators’ time would be to ensure it is replied to?

I agree, Malcolm. I feel that if there were better engagement and follow-up by topic authors and/or editors there would be fewer of these time-consuming complaints and unproductive comments.

This problem of drift is not unique to Nintendo. One of my sons plays on Xbox One and has got through no end of controllers because of the same drift problem (not to mention others with headset socket damage). The turn around time & economics to send back for repair are simply not viable. Similar to the comment by wavechange above for Nintendo – there are Youtube videos showing how to repair xbox controllers. Speaking to others as well as our own experience – it is very rarely ‘just’ a matter of ‘cleaning’. We have once managed to successfully dismantle & replace the damaged piece – but it is a very fiddly job, needs specialist screwdrivers & has a high failure rate. At £50+ to replace, it seems to me to be a good source of additional income for the company (I liken it to expensive ink cartridges for printers).
Yes, there are many important campaigns that should be investigated/highlighted – but especially in the current lockdown era console games are an absolute lifeline for many kids (& their parents!) & poor quality controllers can be devastating for the already precarious mental health of this generation’s youth who really can’t understand what is going on around them.

Brian Austin says:
14 February 2021

This is all symptomatic of the planned obsolescence practised by many manufacturers. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone which does everything I need ie to be a phone, not a mobile computer. Yet I am advised by Which that I should immediately change it because the software is no longer updated. We would not tolerate matters if a car manufacturer stopped producing spares after three years so why should we do so with electronic equipment?

I accept I am an old fuddy duddy but while I sympathise with owners of any equipment that fails early I think there are better, more constructive things that could occupy us – children in particular – than playing video games.
OK – 👎👎👎

I agree with you Malcolm – and have voted accordingly.

Play should stimulate the imagination, not merely enable reactions. Parents are crying out for laptops and tablets. I would offer my Meccano set but I bet it wouldn’t find use with a child. Perhaps there is a digital equivalent these days.

3D CAD would exercise their computer skills and their brains and be a far more useful use of time. It is free to download.

Patrick Taylor says:
14 February 2021

There are many useful video games unfortunately the ones that get advertised get bought and worthier games do not reach the children. There is an excellent Bridge building game where costs and strength and design are all factors.

Civilisation IV gives a well-balanced mix of history, economics , geography, religion and technological advances. My son and daughter played Civ1 as primary children and I think the need to consider and plan ahead can be instilled early in life.

I would add that after CivIV the franchise went downhill rather .

It can be a great tool unfortunately most parents are not aware of the good stuff so can hardly be expected to buy it and play with their children.

I have written before that anyone who has played a serious train game where you have to balance budget and traffic would appreciate some of the lunacy of people who think extra trains can be magicked up.

Perhaps somewhere there is a resource that does cover the beneficial games.!?

I wish Which? would bring back the opportunity for members who own specific tested products to comment on their experience of them. Such comments on their long-term use would be invaluable to others who might be considering a purchase. Seems you are wasting our lifetime experience; the occasional “brand reliability” survey is not an adequate substitute. Please pass this comment to those who decide these things.

Vera – The Connect surveys provide a certain amount information in a statistical form but, as you say, comments based on experience would add quality to the raw numbers. I have often felt that connect has greater potential than just a data gathering exercise, and as someone here pointed out recently, it doesn’t discriminate between different models of the same product which might have different performance characteristics.

David Lines says:
14 February 2021

Although it is to be deplored that game console manufacturers should build in faults, the faulty equipment should not end up in landfill but in the WEEE disposal cycle – easily accessible to householders.

I was puzzled that this report seems to take it for granted that the faulty Nintendo items ‘finish up in landfill’. I know of at least three boroughs in different parts of the country whose recycling centres routinely take electrical and electronic goods which are no longer needed. It seems that there are evidently lots of people who still aren’t sufficiently recycling-aware, so Which? should have reminded everyone that landfill for this kind of thing should not normally be an option, and to tell their kids that too. Of course, it might be necessary to take such items oneself to a recycling centre, so I suppose it’s more effort than many people can be bothered with. On the other hand, local authorities should make that easier by creating more recycling points.

Anyone who is up to the challenge of trying to sort out Joy-Con drift might be interested in buying a replacement and the tools to fit it from iFixit: https://store.ifixit.co.uk/products/nintendo-switch-joy-con-joystick Disappointingly, if you want to replace both Joy-Cons you will end up with two sets of tools.

iFixit promotes users repairing their own electronic gadgetry and I have followed their instructions to replace the battery in an iPhone.

Exactly the same problem with drift after only 13 months of use. As I did not purchase directly from Nintendo, they tell me that their 2 year warranty does not apply & that I only had a 1 year warranty. This has left my son frustrated and upset. The only way I can resolve this is to risk sending it in for repair, which I will have to pay for, or by purchasing new controllers which is costly. Nintendo customer service is appaling. I have also had an issue with purchasing a new AC adapter to replace a broken one. The 2-part charger does not connect the console to the TV but this is not stated in the product descriptions and the connection etc., are identical so there is no reason for it not to work. Of course once you have opened & used the items, realised they do not work, Nintendo refuse to refund the items. It has cost me £50 & I now have one useless charger and had to purchase a second to ensure that the console can be used on the TV. I feel that this is a deliberately misleading money making scheme by Nintendo. Had I realised how unreliable their products are and how awful their customer support is, I would never have purchased Nintendo items in the first place. Nintendo do not care at all & keep replying with generic responses that are simply copy & pasted, even when escalated to Managers. Absolutely diabolical.

Hi Lorraine – I suggest you make a claim against the retailer (rather than Nintendo, the manufacturer) under the Consumer Rights Act. Here is advice from Which? https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-do-i-do-if-i-have-a-faulty-product-aTTEK2g0YuEy

The retailer may deny liability and refer you to Nintendo but it is not legal for a retailer to mislead you about your rights. It seems that there are plenty of cases of Joy-Con drift, so if they will not offer to help you might have a good case if you had to take them to court. If you bought your Nintendo from a shop you could print some examples of the problem. I suggest you push for a free repair and hope they will just replace the controller. Best of luck.

Selina says:
23 July 2021

We got our Switch and joy cons from Amazon. Even though our second set was out of warranty by the time I noticed drift, they still replaced the joy cons with no charge. If you bought online and can find proof of purchase, you’ll very likely get the joy cons fixed for free. It’s a hassle and kinda a secret, but that’s how it goes. :/ If you send stuff for repair, and they try to charge you, you can opt to just have it sent back without being obligated to pay for the repair.

Selina says:
23 July 2021

My partner and I bought our Switch on launch. We had joy con drift within the first 2 years on both controllers. To tide us over, I bought a second set while the first was being repaired. That set developed drift too, and then was sent off for repair. The original-repaired set is getting drifty again and I’m so sick of this. For very expensive controllers, I would expect them to last more than 2 years! Am I going to have to stockpile joy cons for the eventual day that Nintendo stops supporting them? My Gameboy Colour still works, ffs, as do my GBAs, my Gamecube, Wii, and so on. I have never been so disappointed in my life. FWIW each time the joy cons were repaired, they were actually replaced (the newer model has slightly different plastic, but still the same awful analogue stick design.) Wish I hadn’t missed the survey, because wow do I have a lot of broken joy cons!