Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - There has been a lot of talk about Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift in the last few 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.

Top Nintendo Switch games 2022: Best Switch titles every gamer must own


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. The Switch OLED, meanwhile, has supposedly upgraded Joy-Cons but is also generating similar reports.

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.

One thing to bear in mind, though, is that 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.

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.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.
Sections Nintendo Games