Valve quickly responds to Steam Deck stick drift issue with a patch

Cal Jeffrey

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Facepalm: Like the Nintendo Switch, Valve's Steam Deck is experiencing joystick drift, but the handheld has barely been out for five days. Developers have already responded to the problem with an explanation and a patch.

It was only last Friday when the first Valve Steam Decks began arriving in players' hands. People started complaining about joystick drift on the handheld consoles in just a matter of days. It's is not an uncommon problem, but even the Nintendo Switch went almost a year before manifesting such issues.

On Wednesday, a few people posted videos to Reddit demonstrating the problem using the Steam Deck's built-in stick calibration app. The app showed the stick continued registering contact even after it had returned to the neutral position. Of course, this behavior carries over into games, which is annoying at its best and game-breaking at its worst.

Later that evening, Valve Designer Lawrence Yang tweeted that the team had looked into the issue. It discovered the problem was caused by a "deadzone regression" in a previous firmware update. They immediately pushed a patch out last night that fixes the issue.

Users who experienced the problem now report that the update did fix the problem. So at least, in this case, it seems to have been software-related. However, that is not to say that the Decks won't suffer from drift caused by hardware failure down the road. All three major console makers have had trouble with sticks not zeroing after many hours of use, so there is no reason to assume Valve's Steam Deck is immune.

Fortunately, Valve has already said that it will soon be making replacement parts available for home repair, even though it advises against it. Putting up components for sale is not the same as repairing joystick drift for free as Nintendo has, but new analog units are also not that expensive.

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