Nintendo Hints That Joy-Con Drift Is Unavoidable

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Nintendo released its latest version of the Switch today in the OLED Model. Offering a wider, vivid screen, the system also sees the addition of an ethernet port and a kickstand when docked.

Despite these additions, many have wondered whether the Switch's controllers would receive similar enhancements, given its notorious analog drift problems.

The drift occurs when the analog stick moves away from the programmed position, causing actions inputted to not reflect that of the user. Wear and tear in the controllers also play big roles in what causes the Switch to drift.


In a Q&A with Nintendo's Technology Department chiefs, Ko Shiota and Toru Yamashita, they responded to these claims asserting that the latest system has the most recent Switch controllers. In doing so, the engineers' responses suggest that analog drift may in fact be inevitable.

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Nintendo Hints That Joy-Con Drift Is Unavoidable

In response to the question of whether wear and tear are unavoidable when certain parts are in contact, Shiota agreed with the statement. Comparing the analog parts to a car, the following response suggests that joy-con drift may in fact be unavoidable:

Do you mean that, basically, wear is unavoidable as long as the parts are physically in contact?
Shiota: Yes, for example car tires wear out as the car moves, as they are in constant friction with the ground to rotate. So with that same premise, we asked ourselves how we can improve durability, and not only that, but how can both operability and durability coexist? It’s something we are continuously tackling.

The OLED Switch is now available
click to enlarge
The OLED Switch is now available

Yamashita states that Nintendo has been trying to improve the analog sticks, in response to the consumer's issues. In doing so, wear and sustainability have reportedly been extended:

The analog-stick parts have continuously been improved since launch, and we are still working on improvements. As we have always been trying to improve it as well, we have investigated the Joy-Con controllers used by the customers and repeatedly improved the wear resistance and durability.

The engineers have also assured fans that the OLED Switch has the latest versions of the joy-sticks:

We mentioned that the Joy-Con controller specifications hadn’t changed in the sense that we didn’t add new features such as new buttons, but the analog sticks in the Joy-Con controllers included with Nintendo Switch – OLED Model are the latest version with all the improvements.

The OLED Switch was also investigated recently, due to the console's supposed inclusion of a 4K HDMI port. Many developers also claimed they received 4K Switch dev kits, asking the question of whether the OLED Switch was initially designed as a 4K console.