If you’ve owned a Switch for even just a few months, then you’ve likely heard of its now-infamous hardware quirk: colloquially known as “Joy-Con Drift”. Affecting seemingly a huge number of consumers, many have complained to Nintendo about their Joy-Con sticks beginning to malfunction, some after just a few months of use. The situation has even led to a class-action lawsuit being filed against the company in the USA last year, and other countries are also threatening legal action because of this. So, what does a Nintendo exec have to say about it? In an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America President, Doug Bowser, briefly touched on the topic saying that Nintendo has “…an opportunity to make improvements as we go forward.”
Here is the context behind that line. The interviewer specifically asked Mr. Bowser if Nintendo has intentions of addressing the hardware issues head-on. When answering, at first Bowser mentioned that Nintendo wants “every consumer to have a great experience with their Nintendo Switch and with the games they play on Nintendo Switch.” He then went on to say, that consumers who find issues should contact Nintendo so it can “work through the proper solution” with the consumer. But, he then specifically mentioned the initial quote about how analyzing the repair jobs the company gets gives it “an opportunity to make improvements…”
What Mr. Bowser seems to be saying is that Nintendo takes into consideration the issues with the hardware when malfunctioning units are sent in for repair and he in a roundabout way alludes to Nintendo potentially using these findings to make design improvements down the line. However, he prefaced that final statement with the specific term: “without going into any details”. So, it seems that it’s not really a subject he wanted to dive into; basically not fully admitting whether or not Nintendo actually has made any changes. Considering the aforementioned lawsuit is still in court, this may potentially be a reason why he didn’t give any hard details on the matter. Even so, Nintendo has always been a bit coy about the matter, even at one point claiming it wasn’t a real issue.
If and when Nintendo does finally make a significant design change, it may likely say so, although expect that to be covert “announcement”, if any at all. It might be reminiscent to the soft redesign of the flagship Switch that released last year. This redesign offers a modified chipset that is more power-efficient, thus greatly improving battery life over earlier models. Despite this being a very big enhancement, all Nintendo did in terms of differentiation was updating the design of the retail box and putting a small addition to the model number of each unit, showing that they were indeed the “new Switch”. So, if “new J0y-Con” with improved analog sticks do ever release, they could end up getting a similar treatment.
Those of you that are currently battling with Joy-Con drift and aren’t able to send them in for repair can easily do a DIY repair with affordable replacement parts. There are a variety of tutorials on YouTube, like this one from Spawn Wave.
You can check out more details from Polygon’s interview with President Bowser here.