Nintendo Faces Fourth Class Action Suit Over Joy-Con Drift

Nintendo is now under fire over potential issues in its Joy-Con controllers for the Nintendo Switch as a fourth class action lawsuit has been filed against it.

Polygon is reporting that the new suit, filed in the Federal Western District Court of Washington, alleges the same sorts of problems which have been reported in other suits not only in the US, but also in France. The plaintiff’s counsel in this latest suit commissioned an assessment from a technical expert. The expert’s conclusion was that the drift issue stems from “excessive wear on the pad’s surface.”

“As the steel brushes inside of the joystick move back and forth, they rub away the soft carbon material that makes up the pad, which changes its electrical resistance and leads the drifting phenomenon,” the suit reads. “The difference in surface hardness between the steel brush and the carbon pad results in excessive wear debris that collects on the steel brush tips. This transferred debris exacerbates the wear of the pad. The wear of the carbon (a known soft material) by the steel brushes (a known hard material) inevitably causes the joysticks to fail.”

The first class action suit was filed in July 2019 in California, with the suit amended a few months later to encompass the Switch Lite. A second was filed in France in September by consumer advocacy group UFC-Que Choisir. A third, also in California, was filed just last month. This latest suit also reports that ongoing investigations are also occurring in Belgium and Switzerland, suggesting potential lawsuits may be in the offing there as well.

Food For Thought

At this point, despite public apologies from Nintendo’s CEO, Nintendo needs to not only do something but actively be seen as doing something. The internal construction of Joy-Cons will almost certainly have to undergo a redesign, assuming they’re not forced to do so by one court or another. More importantly, Nintendo is likely going to have to communicate design changes in a way that makes it clear they’re not simply trading out one problem for another, an explanation sufficiently simple enough for lay people to grasp but detailed enough to satisfy the technical crowd.

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