Recently, a law firm in the United States (CSK&D) was very quick to go through with filing a class-action lawsuit against Nintendo. This lawsuit comes as a result of an issue that has seemingly become more and more prevalent throughout the Switch’s lifecycle called “Joy-Con drift”.
The issue involves the analog sticks of a Joy-Con controller registering inputs on their own without actually being touched by a user, which negatively impacts the gameplay experience. The issue appears to be at a factory level, with one Switch owner with engineering experience finding that Nintendo apparently used inferior materials when designing the Joy-Con’s analog sticks.
Nintendo has yet to release an official statement on the issue nor has it responded to the lawsuit. In the meantime, however, one attorney has shared his viewpoint on the matter. Speaking with GameDaily, Mr. Brandon J. Huffman, who is an attorney with Odin Law and Media, plainly stated that he believes it is “pretty unlikely” that Nintendo will face any serious repercussions from the lawsuit.
He also believes that the drifting issue has been artificially amplified by social media, suggesting that there only seems to be a lot of Joy-Con units failing because a lot of noise is being made from the fanbase.
Here’s his full statement:
“I think social media has amplified this to be larger than it actually is. If 100 people total had this problem, and all posted about it and posted video, it does not mean, necessarily, that they are representative of millions more with the same issue. Time will tell if that hypothesis is correct. Whether this lawsuit will succeed is a crapshoot at this point… For Nintendo, the best case is it gets dismissed or the class does not get certified for some reason. Worst case is that Nintendo faces millions in damages and millions more in attorneys fees, but I think that is pretty unlikely.”
How big is this problem, really?
There are no hard numbers to show exactly how many Joy-Con units have developed the drifting problem. The law firm that filed the lawsuit in the first place did conduct a survey to gather data from Switch owners that have experienced the drifting problem, but it also hasn’t released the results from that survey at this time.
Nevertheless, the problem does seem to be worth talking about. Each Switch console is sold with a pair of Joy-Con. As of March 31, there have been nearly 35 million Switch units sold worldwide. That number has no doubt increased to a reasonable degree since then, but let’s stick with that for now.
Multiplying 35 million by 2 gives a total of 70 million Joy-Con out in the wild (and that isn’t counting individual units that have been sold). Even though not every last Joy-Con has developed the problem, the aforementioned findings of the engineer do suggest that the drifting problem will eventually come about through gradual use. Ultimately, Nintendo’s best response would be to improve its R&D and look for better parts.
Apple went through a very similar situation recently with its Macbook line of devices, as they had a tendency to develop issues with the keyboard. The company then improved the design over several iterations and offered free repairs. Thus, it would be nice if Nintendo took a page out of Apple’s book.