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Joy-Con Drift Was Worse Than You Realized

Nintendo hasn't managed to fix its most notorious issue. Joy-Con Drift, a widespread problem where the analog stick registers movement without the user actually touching it, still plagues the Switch. Unfortunately, Joy-Cons are the standard controllers that come with Nintendo's handheld hybrid console. Most players know about it, so it almost seems common enough to not warrant major alarm. However, Kotaku recently revealed the scope of the issue — at least, in a portion of the United States. 

Nintendo used to make customers pay for Joy-Con repairs. Several class action lawsuits and faulty Joy-Cons later, it's now offering the repairs for free. You might think that this change would have been the end of it, but the repairs reportedly weren't as efficient as they should have been. Nintendo handled the process for submitting repair requests for faulty Joy-Cons. However, a third-party company called United Radio actually repaired the products. 

Kotaku's Sisi Jiang spoke with an alleged former supervisor from the Nintendo Switch department, which handled defective Joy-Cons. Anyone who submitted a Joy-Con repair request from east of the Mississippi River likely sent their Joy-Cons to United Radio. The company routinely received a harrowing number of repair requests, leading to high turnover and frequent repair blunders.

The Joy-Con drift issue gets more complicated

According to Kotaku's source, United Radio received hundreds of Joy-Con drift repair requests a day. "Easily thousands of Joy-Cons were coming through each week," they said. "We ended up having to set up an entire new workspace just for Joy-Con repair."

United Radio employees also allegedly needed to brave a language barrier. Many were Vietnamese immigrants who weren't fluent in English. Others spoke Spanish, Swahili, and additional South Asian languages. The source claimed to be the only permanent team member who was a native speaker of English, making effective communication with staff challenging. This barrier, plus the stress spawned by the volume of repairs, led to the high turnover rate and persistent mistakes.

Joy-Con drift has been a problem since the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017. It's still a prevalent issue with the newer model of the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch OLED, as they use the same Joy-Cons as the original. Anyone who experiences drift can try reporting it to have their controllers fixed.