Why Are People Acting Like Analog Stick Drift is a New Issue?
Nintendo has recently been under some heat from consumers lately. Complaints about Joy-Con drifting have been on the rise, even to a point where purchasers were filing a class-action lawsuit. It seems even now, an internal memo at Nintendo of America informs employees to perform Joy-Con repairs for free. While Nintendo has released an official statement, they didn’t specify the issue and simply said they were “aware of recent reports”. However people perceive the Joy-Con drift issue, there is one bigger question here. Why are people treating this like it’s a new issue?
Perhaps it’s the big success of the Nintendo Switch that is causing such a stir. It might even be because people often have more Joy-Cons due to a lot of local play options on the platform. Regardless of the reason, analog sticks have been drifting since their invention. This isn’t an issue that affects just Nintendo. Sony, Microsoft, even Sega; they’ve all had drift issues at some point in time. I myself have a PlayStation 2 controller that drifts, as well as a GameCube controller. Luckily for me, my two launch pairs of Joy-Cons don’t drift, but I have one friend with the issue. Even so, it’s strange to see so many people act like this is a Nintendo-only issue.
For people unaware what causes drift in analog sticks, each stick is designed with a sort of dead zone. This is the area where the stick is considered a “0 point”. Through extended play sessions and over time, the stick will eventually lose that idle position, “drifting” away from that dead zone. This is what causes the stick to move on its own. While there are temporary fixes, a more permanent fix is still subject to the issue happening again. This can be accelerated further with games that involve pushing the analog sticks down, or even ones that require quick movements. It’s even a selling point of the Astro C40 controller that an analog stick module could be replaced in case of drifting.
Obviously, with the nature of the Nintendo Switch, this is a case by case situation. Sometimes this can be based on the game the user plays. Games like Fortnite or other shooters may be a bigger cause of the drift issue due to the nature of the gameplay. People constantly flicking the joysticks to change the camera or to move quickly may put significant pressure on the stick. Games like this would be more ideal with the Pro Controller, but even that can be subject to the issue, albeit over a longer period of time.
This widespread commotion has even caused concern for the upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite. Considering that the system doesn’t have detachable Joy-Cons, the drift issue would be a bigger problem. The system can still use wireless controllers, but that wouldn’t be a proper solution. Hopefully Nintendo can issue a statement with details about how they decide to handle this concern. Even then, it feels like the proportion of this issue is a bit blown out. What do you think? Is Nintendo rightfully taking the heat for this common controller issue? Or is it just a mob mentality focusing on a current topic? Let us know in the comments what you think.