Nintendo has been repairing Switch players' Joy-Con "drift" issues for free, even if they're no longer under warranty, in North America since 2019. Over the past years, it has launched the same program in France and Latin America. Now, the gaming giant has expanded its free unlimited repair service for drifting Joy-Cons to the European Economic Area (EEA), UK and Switzerland "until further notice." On its UK website (as first seen by Nintendo Life), the company said it's offering repairs in those areas "for responsiveness syndrome relating to control sticks." Further, it will fix the known problem for users even if it's "caused by wear and tear."
Switch players in Europe are already pretty well-protected with a warranty that lasts for 24 months instead of merely 12. When the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) urged an investigation into the Joy-Con drift issue back in 2021, it said 88 percent of the 25,000 complaints it received were from people whose controllers showed symptoms of the problem within the first two years. That means the standard warranty in Europe would be able to cover most people's repairs. But now players can get Nintendo to fix their controllers for free, even after their warranty is over.
While the BEUC called this development a "tangible win for consumers," it also believes it's a "short-term fix." In the end, Nintendo will still be allowed to sell a product with a known defect that leads to early failure, the group said, and that's something it hopes would be banned in Europe.
The Joy-Con drift, characterized by the Switch detecting movement even though the player isn't touching the controllers' analog sticks, has been a consistent source of frustration for gamers for a long time now. Nintendo has had to face lawsuits accusing it of selling Joy-Con while knowing that they're "defective." And while company president Shuntaro Furukawa acknowledged the problem and apologized for it back in 2020, it remains an issue that plagues fans to this day.