Catch my Drift: Why hasn’t Nintendo fixed the Joy-Con Issue?

Currently Nintendo has 6547 employees, surely a handful of them are working on the drifting issues that have been plaguing Switch owners for a while now. We know at first Nintendo denied the issue existed and currently they will fix the issue on most joy-cons that are sent in for repair. But why not look for the root cause of the issue and take care of it on the manufacturing side so you don’t have to resolve them later. Well, here are some of my thoughts on this.

In my line of work when I’m not writing I am regression testing and life testing the products in our research and development lab so I know a few things that could be restricting or causing other obstacles for Nintendo.

First what is the issue? The answer could be a certain part failure, a combination of failures, temperature, friction, software issues, even dust, and the list goes on and on. Could Nintendo know the root cause but either can’t fix it due to shortages on certain products or could it be that it costs too much that they would take the chance of waiting until a new Switch comes out.

Speaking of a new Switch, the OLED model releasing on October 8th, 2021 will not have any changes for the joy-con. Why, is this? Why have a new model that they are touting as a premium handheld experience, still have controllers with seemingly no change to them? Well in my world the top answer always seems to be money.

Money is always a huge factor in any decision for any business, but also quality of the product and the consumer experience surrounding this product. At most places you hear phrases like. “The customer comes first,” or “Customers know best,” so we know that they are what companies must maintain and keep happy and at the same time these ideals collide with the money side of the business. You’ve heard the phrase, “Money talks,” or “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and these types of thoughts are always in the back of business owners’ minds. This is always a fine balancing act of quality and cost. Some companies have deep pockets while other companies must be craftier when spending money. We know Nintendo has a lot of cash so why are they not seemingly putting it towards the issue?

Well maybe the part or parts needed have severe shortages and so Nintendo realizing this has been repairing them within the 90-day warranty as well as 12 months for ones that came with the Switch console. If it is outside the warranty, they are charging 40 dollars for the repairs. Maybe Nintendo knows exactly how to solve the issue but it will cost a lot so they are currently designing new joy-cons and pushing the repairs because in the long run its cheaper for them to repair controllers and Nintendo is banking on some people who may not send these controllers back either because its time consuming or inconvenient. They end up buying another set of joy-cons and Nintendo makes more money. This also drives sales of the Switch pro controller as well and maybe even the sales of the dock because people are so displeased with the performance of the joy-con they just want to play it docked in multiple locations. Downfalls of products still leave room for profit.

Let’s say 12 people bought a switch and half of them had issues with the joy-con in the first 12 months and the rest had issues out of warranty. So, then let’s say the ones who had problems within warranty, half sent them in for the free repair and half didn’t know about it, so they bought either a new set of joy-cons or a pro controller. The people outside of warranty did the same thing but the people who sent in the controllers were charged 40 dollars. So, let’s do the math 60–80-dollar average for joy-cons or pro controllers, while out of warranty will cost 40 dollars per repair. A range of 480 dollars up to 600 dollars could potentially be made off of joy-cons, pro controllers, and repairs. So, is Nintendo in a hurry to spend money to drastically overhaul the issue?

When it comes down to it, Nintendo is a business, and the people who run it will do what’s best for the company. I think Nintendo knows the issue and is working behind the scenes to come out with a redesign of the joy-con most likely because of an issue that is costly to fix. I believe soon we will see that redesign and Nintendo and its customers can carry on. 

What do you think about the drift issue and what do you think Nintendo will do about it, if anything?

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Featured Image: Nintendo Life

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