Valve says to leave Steam Deck repairs to the pros as users already report stick drift

Daniel Sims

Posts: 449   +18
Staff
A hot potato: Not even a week after Valve's Steam Deck launch, multiple early adopters have reported drifting joysticks. The portable PC's sticks are relatively easily replaceable, but Valve still advises customers against attempting at-home repairs.

On Tuesday, at least two Reddit users demonstrated drift in the Steam Deck's right joystick. Both posted videos showing the system's controller input testing screen registering input while the thumbstick isn't moving. Drifting starts after the stick is moved and reset to the neutral position. It ceases when it is moved again.

Two cases among the many Steam Decks in the wild don't signify a trend, but it isn't a good sign the ailment is showing up soon after launch. Stick drift usually results from wear and tear after long hours of use.

Fortunately, replacing the Steam Deck's thumbsticks isn't too complicated, as iFixit discovered last month. Still, Valve advised against DIY repairs in October and did so again in a recent interview with Rock Paper Shotgun.

"We recommend repairs are left to pros or returned to Valve for anything that goes wrong, if that comes up," said Valve engineer Pierre-Loup Griffais.

However, Griffais still acknowledged that cracking the case open is a part of the PC gaming experience that will never go away. As such, Valve officially authorized iFixit to sell replacement Steam Deck parts for anyone who still wants to attempt a DIY repair, though they aren't available yet. Third-party repair shops will likely eventually offer to repair Steam Decks as well.

For the time being, stick drift is pretty much unavoidable for controller users on every modern game platform. Customers have brought lawsuits against Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony over the issue. Last year, iFixit's teardown of the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller showed that all the console manufacturers made the same "willful cost-saving calculation."

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

Posts: 2,890   +3,698
TechSpot Elite
Sounds like a recalibration option is needed to be added by Valve.

Which, someone from the community could probably also make one (a perk for the device).
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,204   +4,241
Either these folk are literally heavy handed or the one place where they shouldn´t have tried cost saving measures they sort of did.
 

George Keech

Posts: 174   +285
I do wonder if these people actually stick it in there pocket with the stick being strained and then this happens?

I can say I have only had one controller with stick drift and that was a very well used Xbox 360 controller with 1000s of hours of sprinting etc.- even then it was more just a slightly broken stick than drift itself
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,547   +4,508
TechSpot Elite
Either these folk are literally heavy handed or the one place where they shouldn´t have tried cost saving measures they sort of did.
Seriously? How hard is it to use decent potentiometers? Hell you could use hall sensors... This is Ridiculous.
Someone cheaped out on the pots again? How difficult is it to build joysticks that don't drift.......
It seems Valve already released a software fix for this. According to them it was caused by a firmware regression.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,752   +7,668
Well, it was reported earlier that it would need several refinements .... sounds like this one is job #1 ...
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,421
This product is swiftly becoming a meme. 6 month waiting list for a handheld console with less than 2 hours of battery, an LCD 720p screen that’s apparently expected to play games at 30fps. It requires optimisation from Valve on a per game basis to be a good experience. Now there’s even drift on the sticks.

What next? They did tightly squeeze the battery in, I hope it doesn’t explode when it gets hot…

Nothing I have seen so far has changed my mind that Valve are hopeless at making good hardware.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,024   +720
If Valve had used a PROPER mechanism, this would not be happening. Another very good reason to avoid the Deck..
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,547   +4,508
TechSpot Elite
This product is swiftly becoming a meme. 6 month waiting list for a handheld console with less than 2 hours of battery, an LCD 720p screen that’s apparently expected to play games at 30fps. It requires optimisation from Valve on a per game basis to be a good experience. Now there’s even drift on the sticks.

What next? They did tightly squeeze the battery in, I hope it doesn’t explode when it gets hot…

Nothing I have seen so far has changed my mind that Valve are hopeless at making good hardware.
How is it a meme? it's a resounding success so far. Are you that angry that people like it? Did you want a portable console that can play AAA games at 60FPS with the size and weight of your typical gaming laptop?

Why didn't you read the comments that the drift was already fixed with a software update? I know why, you just wanted to rant.

Look all of these people not reading and just skipping to ranting :)
 
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Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,421
How is it a meme? it's a resounding success so far. Are you that angry that people like it? Did you want a portable console that can play AAA games at 60FPS with the size and weight of your typical gaming laptop?

Why didn't you read the comments that the drift was already fixed with a software update? I know why, you just wanted to rant.

Look all of these people not reading and just skipping to ranting :)
It’s definitely not a “resounding success”. That’s going a bit far. You don’t get less than 2 hours battery life, users banned for trying to play destiny and joystick drift when it’s a “resounding success”.
Valve have never made good hardware, I don’t think the steam deck is very good. The reviews coming out now don’t all sing it’s praises, it looks like much hasnt changed. As a piece of hardware it’s not Apple or even Sony standards of engineering. Nobody can tell you with a straight face that a 720p lcd screen is decent by any modern standards.

But poorly designed hardware aside, the steam deck does seem to do as promised - older steam games at 720p 30fps for 2 hours (if you’re lucky). So I would still call it a success. Personally I won’t pay £500 and wait 6 months for it but each to their own.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,547   +4,508
TechSpot Elite
It’s definitely not a “resounding success”. That’s going a bit far. You don’t get less than 2 hours battery life, users banned for trying to play destiny and joystick drift when it’s a “resounding success”.
Valve have never made good hardware, I don’t think the steam deck is very good. The reviews coming out now don’t all sing it’s praises, it looks like much hasnt changed. As a piece of hardware it’s not Apple or even Sony standards of engineering. Nobody can tell you with a straight face that a 720p lcd screen is decent by any modern standards.

But poorly designed hardware aside, the steam deck does seem to do as promised - older steam games at 720p 30fps for 2 hours (if you’re lucky). So I would still call it a success. Personally I won’t pay £500 and wait 6 months for it but each to their own.
Yeah, Destiny 2 bans of users is Bungie's pettiness.

But the deck is definitely not a poorly designed hardware (this much has been established by the many hardware reviews and teardowns). It compromises the screen quality for a much better price point, but the rest is good. As far as LCD screens go, the quality isn't bad, it's made to be bright enough to be used outdoor which is a big plus. I can definitely see an higher end model with a 900p-1080p screen.

Hell, I can see hardware mods for this since it runs an open source system, so you are not restricted. There is nothing stoping people from replacing the screen with a better third party one (it's a fairly standard screen: 7 in. IPS, 1,280 x 800, 16:10, 400 nits, 60Hz).
 
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DAOWAce

Posts: 323   +62
I just want NIB PS2 controllers again.

Haven't felt good analog sticks on any gamepad in 20 years.