Facepalm: Nintendo got almost everything right with its hybrid Switch console except for the JoyCons, which suffer from a drifting problem. Only days after the launch of the Switch Lite, at least one user has reported joystick drift on the new device too.
Redditor TorteDeLimi posted a video (below) showing his new Switch Lite display symptoms of “joystick drift.” Assuming the video is real and not just a calibration issue, this could be a serious problem for Nintendo. At least with the original Switch, the JoyCons are a separate easily replaced component. The Switch Lite has integrated controllers requiring repair instead of simple controller replacement.
When JoyCons fail out of warranty, users have two solutions — buy a new set of controllers for around $70, or repair the faulty components themselves. The parts are readily available on Amazon for about $14, and replacing them is simple. It does void your warranty on the JoyCons but not on the console itself. DIY-ing your Lite controllers is not as straightforward.
YouTube channel Spawn Wave did a teardown of a Switch Lite and reports that Nintendo appears to have used the same joystick switches that it uses for the JoyCons. A closer look at the mechanisms, however, revealed a different part number than the ones used in the other controllers. Whether this is because the company attempted to fix the drift problem or it is just a matter of “same part, different device” is unknown.
Regardless, repairing the problem sticks on the Lite looks to be a pain. Getting to the joystick mechanisms pretty much requires a complete disassembly. The repair is much more complicated than simply replacing the faulty sticks on the JoyCons. it also voids your warranty of the entire handheld in the process. Users are better off sending in their Switch Lite for a warranty repair.
So far, Nintendo has not officially addressed the problem in the original JoyCons, even in the face of a class action lawsuit. It also has not commented on the apparent issue with the Lite. Perhaps a fresh dose of returns of the new handheld-only device will spur it into action on both fronts.
Then again, maybe it is nothing more than a calibration issue in this case. We’ll have to wait and see if more users report the same problem.
Image credit: George W. Bailey via Shutterstock