EU watchdog calls for investigation into Nintendo's persistent Joy-Con drift issue

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,169   +872
Staff member
In context: Joy-Con drift has been a long-standing problem with the Nintendo Switch. While joystick drifting is not exclusive to Nintendo, it does seem to be more pronounced and frequent. The company has been aware of the defect for over three years but has done little to fix it aside from offering free repairs, which ultimately break down as well.

On Wednesday, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission against Nintendo. The France-based watchdog group claims it has received over 25,000 complaints regarding joystick drift in Nintendo's Joy-Con Controllers for the Switch. The BEUC claims that in 88 percent of reported cases, the defect manifested within two years of purchase, amounting to "premature obsolescence."

"On behalf of consumer groups in affected countries, BEUC has submitted a complaint to the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities for premature obsolescence and misleading omissions of key consumer information (on the basis of the EU's Unfair Commercial Practices Directive)," the BEUC said in a press release.

Joy-Con drift has been a persistent problem since the Switch launched in March 2017. The first reports of faulty joysticks began showing up as early as November 2017. The defect is not isolated to the detachable Joy-Cons either. Drift in the Switch Lite joysticks and the Pro Controller also began emerging shortly after their release.

Despite multiple on-going class-action lawsuits, Nintendo has been slow in addressing the problem. Apologies and free repairs do not solve the underlying issue, so the DEUC sent a letter to the EC urging it to open an investigation and press Nintendo to fix the defect.

"Until then, the faulty game controllers should be repaired for free and consumers should be properly informed about the limited lifespan of this product," said the consumer group.

The BEUC claims that Nintendo benefits from its negligence due to the "lock-in effect." Since third-party options are somewhat limited, consumers are locked into Nintendo's ecosystem, leaving them the choice of either buying another faulty product or waiting several weeks for a free repair.

It is worth mentioning that contrary to the BEUC's claim, there are plenty of alternatives to Nintendo's controllers. For example, the Jalvde Wireless Joy Pad, which sells for $39, is a reliable replacement for those who like the detachable Joy-Cons, while the Esywen Wireless Controller is a decent Switch Pro Controller knock-off that retails for $23.

image credit: Wachiwit

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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,254   +7,024
Once again the EU is way ahead of us in enforcing standards and making those that ignore them pay through the nose. You know, back when we had a REAL consumer protection agency that had some REAL power, they would lowered the boom on Nintendo without batting an eye. Consumers deserve better and they need a strong watchdog that can stand up for the little guy ......
 

Reehahs

Posts: 1,278   +948
I have heard horror stories of warranties being refused over trivial cosmetic marks.

Nintendo need to either sort it out or get sorted out.
 

Norsiiii

Posts: 86   +110
Once again the EU is way ahead of us in enforcing standards and making those that ignore them pay through the nose. You know, back when we had a REAL consumer protection agency that had some REAL power, they would lowered the boom on Nintendo without batting an eye. Consumers deserve better and they need a strong watchdog that can stand up for the little guy ......
I'm not sure how much of the article you read, but the EC hasn't DONE anything yet. The article is literally about the fact that a complaint has just been submitted to them, imploring them to investigate....

The only party that has 'done' anything to date is the BEUC (in submitting the complaint), which is a non-government private organization of consumer rights groups (ie, is powerless, and certainly cannot be described as "a REAL consumer protection agency [with] REAL power").

You're praising the EU for "enforcing standards and making those that ignore them pay through the nose" when nothing has actually happened yet...?
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,240   +2,290
My Girlfriend has gone through two sets of Joy-Cons now because of this drift issue. Nintendo legit ignore complaints or Warranty requests.

Disgraceful, I'm surprised it's taken this long to be submitted to somewhere worth while.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,254   +7,024
I'm not sure how much of the article you read, but the EC hasn't DONE anything yet. The article is literally about the fact that a complaint has just been submitted to them, imploring them to investigate....

The only party that has 'done' anything to date is the BEUC (in submitting the complaint), which is a non-government private organization of consumer rights groups (ie, is powerless, and certainly cannot be described as "a REAL consumer protection agency [with] REAL power").

You're praising the EU for "enforcing standards and making those that ignore them pay through the nose" when nothing has actually happened yet...?

I should have made the point of past performances by the EU and you are right, at this point it's just a complaint but they stay true to past practices it will develop and not too long from now ......
 

Fearghast

Posts: 446   +348
I like Nintendo hardware and games like probably any fanboy, but it seems Nintendo needs to suffer some nice, big, meaty, fine to finally realize they need to fix this ... and rework their RMA program in general.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,805   +2,157
TechSpot Elite
Here's yet another example of how the European Union's operation makes us North Americans look like a bunch of dumb bumpkins with our corrupt neo-liberal, crony-capitalist governments who care more about corporations than people.

It's getting pretty damn embarrassing to be honest.