Nintendo will now fix faulty Joy-Con controllers for its Switch console for free after years of complaints.
The Japanese gaming company has been criticised since shortly after the system launched in 2017 over a fault that saw its analogue sticks register movement when not being used.
It was dubbed “Joy-Con drift” and can impact players both when the controllers are attached to the console in handheld mode and when used wirelessly.
The problem even impacted the Switch Lite, which is a smaller all-in-one unit with the control inputs built in.
Nintendo has always insisted that the issue is not widespread, but following negative media coverage it has been offering free out-of-warranty repairs to customers in the US since 2019.
That policy has now been extended to the UK and much of Europe.
An updated support page reads: “Nintendo takes great pride in creating high-quality and durable products and is continuously making improvements to them.
“Therefore and until further notice, Nintendo offers to customers who purchased the respective product in the European Economic Area, UK, and Switzerland that repairs for responsiveness syndrome relating to control sticks will be conducted at no charge by official Nintendo repair centres.”
‘Short-term fix’ needs more publicity
The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), which made a formal complaint to the EU about the issue in 2021, welcomed the offer but said it was a “short-term fix”.
“Nintendo can still sell the console with the potential bug,” deputy director general Ursula Pachl said.
UK consumer champion Which? also called on Nintendo to do more to promote the offer.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said many customers will already have bought potentially expensive replacements over the years – a pair of Joy-Cons retails for £59.99.
He said: “As well as free repairs, Nintendo also needs to commit to compensation, refunds, or replacements for any consumers who have been impacted by this issue since the launch of the console and promote this scheme so that consumers know that support is available.”
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It comes as Nintendo prepares to release one of the most highly anticipated games of the year next month.
The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom will hit the Switch on 12 May and is expected to drive another spike in sales of the popular console, which has already shipped more than 122 million units.
It is the third best-selling games console ever.