Nintendo Formally Apologizes for Switch Controller Malfunction

In a surprising move, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa publicly apologized for the company’s Nintendo Switch Joy Con controllers. The controllers, which can be attached to the Switch or removed and used with Bluetooth, have suffered from a hardware issue known to fans as “drift”. Joy Con drift occurs when components in the analog stick of the controllers break down.

Nintendo Switch
CNET

This has caused numerous Switch controllers to experience an odd “drifting” in the analog stick. As such, characters might lazily move to one direction, or the camera could gently tilt ever to the side. Needless to say, this is frustrating for fans who have paid upwards of $300 for the Nintendo system.

Furukawa Publicly Apologizes

In a public statement, President Furukawa has apologized for the situation. “Regarding the Joy-Con, we apologize for any trouble caused to our customers,” Nintendo’s president said. “We are continuing to aim to improve our products, but as the Joy-Con is the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the United States and this is still a pending issue, we would it like to refrain from responding about any specific actions.”

The class action suit in question was filed in July 2019 against Nintendo of America. Within, Nintendo is accused of using substandard parts that cause their controllers to malfunction. The suit is seeking damages for the class, which includes numerous customers who purchased Nintendo Switch systems. Both the Switch and its smaller, handheld-only version, the Switch Lite, are singled out in the suit.

Furukawa’s apology marks the first time Nintendo has publicly addressed the drift issue, surprising many fans.

Fans Outrage over Hardware

The Nintendo fan community has found it difficult to gauge the size of the drift issue. While some users have reported having numerous Joy Cons develop the issue, others claim they’ve never encountered it. Due to the nature of anonymous self-reporting on the internet, the issue has been hard to pin down.

Some fans’ outrage over the issue has been severe. Others, however, have speculated that the hardware issue could occur in less than five percent of Switch units. In either event, Nintendo publicly addressing the issue is a rare step.

Critics of the hardware failing noted that, following the filing of the class action suit, Nintendo began offering free repair for affected controllers. The repair, while free of charge, is time-consuming, and customers still have to pay for the shipping of their controllers. Fans have noted that the apparently shoddy make of the controllers is surprising, given their $80 price tag.