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(Pocket-lint) - There has been a lot of talk about Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift in the last couple of years, not least because a class action lawsuit about it has been filed against Nintendo in the US.

But, what is Joy-Con drift? And, what can you do about it if you are affected? We explain all right here.

What is Switch Joy-Con drift?

Joy-Con drift is the name given to an issue some Switch owners have experienced with one or both of their detachable controllers.

They have found that movement is being detected by their Switch even when they are not touching the thumbstick on a Joy-Con. Sometimes this happens even when they are not touching a Joy-Con at all.

It makes gaming hard when characters move in directions not prompted by the player. Or, an in-game camera can suddenly pan away from the action for no good reason.

Reports of Joy-Con drift are not isolated, neither. There are plenty of posts on Twitter complaining about the issue, and several members of Kotaku's staff have revealed they have experienced it too.

Plus, since the Nintendo Switch Lite was released, some owners of the new, more portable Switch have claimed that they are suffering from Joy-Con drift too, on its non-detachable thumbsticks. 

There are even reports that Nintendo has filed an updated version of the Switch Lite with the Federal Communications Commission in the US. Could this be in response to the issue?

What to do if you experience Joy-Con drift

Nintendo has responded to reports on the issue, telling Kotaku that anybody who experiences problems with their Joy-Cons should contact Nintendo support: "At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them," it said.

"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 support so we can help."

A further memo leak, seen by Vice, reported that Nintendo staff have now been told to fix Joy-Cons with drift problems for free and might even be eligible for a refund on a former repair: "Customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs," the internal note said. "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."

So, if you do have problems with Joy-Con drift (or other issues) contact support.nintendo.com.

To refine the process, you can head straight to the Joy-Con repair booking sections. That's here for the UK, and here for the US.

One thing, though, although the repair might be free, you may be required to pay the postage to send your controller to Nintendo's repair service, which has irritated some.

One new app, though, might provide a way forward for some users. It's only available on Android for now, via the Google Play Store, but JoyCon Droid's early version is now available for people to download. 

It'll only work if your phone is on Android 9 or later and has a Bluetooth HID Profile, but if so you'll be able to use your phone as a replacement for one Joy-Con, which is a pretty good way around the issue of drifting. That said, it's still nothing like as satisfying as actually using a controller, so your mileage may vary. 

What about the class action lawsuit against Nintendo?

If you are a US citizen and are not satisfied with Nintendo's response to the issue, you can always join the class action lawsuit.

Filed by legal firm CSK&D on behalf of Switch owner Ryan Diaz, who experienced the issue on numerous Joy-Cons old and new, it alleges that "the joysticks on Joy-Con controllers are defective, leading users to experience drift issues" and therefore "brings claims under various consumer protection statutes as well as various warranty and common law claims".

You can read more about it and sign up to be part of the lawsuit here.

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 23 July 2019.