If you’ve ever noticed game characters moving on the screen without any input from the Joy-Con controllers, then you’re one of the many Switch owners suffering from the so-called Joy-Con Drift issue. Thankfully, the problem can be fixed, and Nintendo just instructed staff to offer free repairs regardless of whether you show proof of purchase or whether your warranty is expired. Moreover, if you’ve had the controllers repaired already, then you’re entitled to a $40 refund.
Internal Nintendo documentation seen by Vice reveals the Joy-Con Drift changes:
Customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs. Additionally, it is not necessary to confirm warranty status. If a customer requests a refund for a previously paid Joy-Con repair […] confirm the prior repair and then issue a refund.
Nintendo did not confirm the memo, offering instead a statement that doesn’t acknowledge the Joy-Con Drift issue whatsoever:
At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products, and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com, so we can help.
The company must also be well aware of a Joy-Con Drift class action suit, which must be a great incentive to offer the improved Joy-Con service program.
But while Nintendo did not confirm the memo, it sure looks like the new program repair is in effect. A Vice podcast producer who experienced the Joy-Con Drift issue contacted customer support to get help. On the first call, the Nintendo representative advised a software update, but that didn’t fix the problem. He called Nintendo again, and the representative issued a pre-paid shipping label for the defective controller. That means Nintendo will indeed handle shipping and repairs free of charge.
With millions of Switch users out there, this might cost Nintendo dearly. The bigger question concerns the Switch Lite, which comes with built-in Joy-Cons. If Drift is a thing on the handheld console as well, then it’ll be a lot more painful for gamers, as they’ll have to ship the entire console for repair given that the controllers aren’t removable.