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