With the Switch OLED model, Nintendo has improved the Joy-Con controller, but the wear of the analog joystick is inevitable, which means that drift may eventually become a problem.
Since the release of the console, many Switch users have reported that the analog sticks on the Joy-Con controller lose their integrity over time, causing drift issues. Drift is what happens when you move your character in one direction, but it moves in a different direction. Basically, the analog stick on the controller deviated, resulting in poor input.
Nintendo said it has improved the controller, especially the internal components of the analog joystick. The company said that since the console was launched, it has been continuously improving the controller and incorporating these changes into the Joy-Con controller, Nintendo Switch Lite, and separately sold controllers that come with the console.
There are two theories about the cause of drift: dust or some kind of dirt accumulates under the rubber cover designed to keep the inside of the controller clean; or worn contacts. However, there is no clear answer yet, because Nintendo has never discussed this question publicly, and this question can provide an answer as to why drift occurred in the first place.
The internal components of Joy-Con have been improved, and the company used new versions of parts when repairing the controller. In addition, the Nintendo Switch Pro controller has undergone similar continuous improvements.
“Joy-Con controllers have many different functions, so we are constantly making improvements, but these improvements may not always be visible,” said Toru Yamashita, deputy general manager of Nintendo’s technology development department.
“Among them, the analog joystick components have been continuously improved since its launch, and we are still working hard to improve. The first released analog joystick passed Nintendo’s reliability test by rotating the joystick while continuously applying a load to it. The analog joystick of Wii U GamePad is the same.
“Because we have been working hard to improve it, we have investigated Joy-Con controllers used by customers and have repeatedly improved wear resistance and durability.”
As some parts of the Joy-Con analog joysticks are specially designed and cannot be bought from the shelves, Nintendo had to consider improving them. This led to changes in the reliability test itself, and the company continued to make changes to improve durability and clear new tests.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the analog stick on the Joy-Con controller, there is still a problem of wear and tear, which is a problem that Nintendo is “constantly solving”.
“The degree of wear depends on factors such as the combination of materials and forms, so we continue to improve by studying which combinations are unlikely to wear,” Yamashita said.
“The specifications of the Joy-Con controller have not changed because we did not add new features, such as new buttons, but the analog joystick-OLED model of the Joy-Con controller that comes with the Nintendo Switch is the latest version improvement.
“Needless to say, the same goes for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, Joy-Con controller sold separately, and the analog joystick included in the Nintendo Switch Pro controller currently shipping.”
Hopefully with new and improved parts, this will mean fewer instances of players drifting, but as the internal components of the analog joystick wear out over time, this problem may still become ugly.