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Another Joy-Con drift class action lawsuit filed against Nintendo

Including a robust technical breakdown

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Nintendo Switch - blue and red Joy-Cons in Joy-Con Grip Photo: James Bareham/Vox Media
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo is facing another class action lawsuit for its problems with Joy-Con drift. The complaint was filed Tuesday in a Seattle court. It’s a technical issue that’s caused a lot of problems for the company; it’s facing multiple lawsuits in the United States and beyond. A judge in Washington moved a previous case to arbitration, and another, filed in October in California, is still in the courts.

Joy-Con drift is a problem that occurs on Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers when the joysticks “drift,” causing a character or cursor to move unintentionally. Players have been complaining about the function nearly since the console was released, but the first lawsuit was filed in 2019. Nintendo began offering free repairs for controllers affected by Joy-Con drift shortly after. Problems continued even with new console models, like the Nintendo Switch Lite.

In the new lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiff outline a robust technical breakdown completed by an expert. The expert suggests Joy-Con drift is caused by wear on the interior pads of the controller. Lawyers allege Nintendo is aware of the problem and is not appropriately informing its customers; they calls on consumer advocacy investigations in France, Belgium, and Switzerland, as well as Nintendo president’s Shuntaro Furukawa’s comment regarding “trouble caused to customers” related to Joy-Con drift.

The lawsuit outlines the minor’s experience with the Nintendo Switch system, noting that drift began three months after buying the console. The controllers were repaired by Nintendo, but failed again after “several more months.” Nintendo repaired the controllers for a $40 fee. (It’s noted that the minor used his own money.) This cycle continued on for three pairs of Joy-Cons.

Included in the lawsuit are photos of the technical teardown, as well as electron microscope images showcasing damage on the circuits. The lawsuit alleges unlawful and unfair conduct on Nintendo’s part, as well as consumer fraud.

Though unrelated, in October, Nintendo dropped the price of its single Joy-Con controllers by $10, the first price drop in the three years since its launch. A single Joy-Con now costs $39.99 — which certainly still isn’t cheap if a replacement is needed.

You can see a full copy of the complaint below.