Microsoft Facing Updated Controller Drift Lawsuit

Back in April, a class action lawsuit was filed against Microsoft, alleging issues of controller drift in the Xbox Elite controller and standard Xbox One controllers (the two purportedly have a common assembly for the analog sticks). That complaint has been recently updated to cover the Xbox Elite Series 2 controllers.

According to the updated complaint, the issue lies in the potentiometer, a component which translates physical movement of the stick into an input signal which is recognized by the console. Images in the amended complaint, present on VGC, depict a grease-like lubricant which purportedly causes resistive material from a track in the potentiometer to scrape off and create erroneous input signals.

Donald McFadden, who originally submitted the complaint to the Western District of Washington Federal Court, states that Microsoft has been aware of the issue since 2014, given “a large volume of consumers have been complaining about stick drift on Xbox One controllers” and that the company “failed to disclose the defect and routinely refuses to repair the controllers without charge when the defect manifests.”

The amended complaint adds several plaintiffs, requests a jury trial, and is requesting an injunction requiring Microsoft to inform all current Xbox One owners about the defect alongside monetary damages. A trial date has not been set at this time.

Food For Thought

While this case has not yet touched on questions of planned obsolescence, unlike the French court case against Nintendo with the Joy-Con controllers, there may be questions regarding what the designed lifetimes of the analog components were supposed to be. As the Xbox Elite controllers were supposed to be a product with high durability and “professional grade construction,” the inclusion of Series 2 controllers may undermine Microsoft’s efforts for future high-end peripherals if it’s demonstrated that there isn’t any fundamental difference in the quality of components between the Elite and the standard controller.

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