Nintendo Switch 'Joy-Con drift' lawsuits are getting out of control

(Image credit: Future)

The Nintendo Switch has had a banner year in terms of sales, but with a new Nintendo Switch still only the stuff of rumors, and the PS5 and Xbox Series X ready to launch next month, things might look less rosy for Nintendo in 2021.

The lack of new hardware isn't the only problem for Nintendo though; an existing hardware problem dubbed "Joy-Con drift" just won't go away and is now the subject of yet another class-action lawsuit in the U.S. This time, the plaintiffs are a 9- or 10-year-old boy and his mother (via TechRadar).

If you are a Nintendo Switch owner and are unaware of Joy-Con drift, it's a problem that arises when the analog sticks on the controllers register input even when untouched, causing your character or the camera to mistakenly move around in-game. For those of you who have experienced it, I can sympathize as I've have had it occur with two sets of controllers, and it's maddening. 

The specifics of this case will likely sound familiar to many Switch owners. The mother, Luz Sanchez, purchased a Nintendo Switch for her son back in December 2018 and experiencing Joy-Con drift within about a month. The problem worsened until the controllers were essentially unusable, which led to the purchase of a second set of Joy-Cons that failed similarly after about seven months.

This isn't the first lawsuit brought against Nintendo for this problem; a 2019 lawsuit is still in arbitration and looking for further claimants. Nintendo attempted to address the problem with free Joy-Con repairs out of warranty, but the lawyers in this case are specifically asserting that this isn't sufficient. They claim Nintendo "continues to market and sell the products with full knowledge of the defect and without disclosing the Joy-Con Drift defect to consumers in its marketing, promotion, or packaging." 

The plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages. Given the perceived extent of this problem seems low depending on who is allowed to join the class action suit, but we'll have to see how it plays out with the court in California. For now, if you are experiencing problems with your Joy-Cons you should be eligible for a free repair from Nintendo.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.