An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: A boy and his mother today filed a class action lawsuit against Nintendo for not doing enough to fix a hardware problem common among Nintendo Switch controllers. It is one of several legal efforts related to the issue of “Joy-Con drift” — a phenomenon where the Switch Joy-Con controllers make in-game characters “drift” even when nobody is moving them. The complaint, filed in Northern California, was brought by a woman named Luz Sanchez and her 9- or 10-year-old son, who, as a minor, is referred to in court documents as M.S. The complaint describes how Sanchez purchased her son a Nintendo Switch in December 2018, when he was 8. Within a month, the complaint alleges, Sanchez’s controllers began registering in-game movement when his hands weren’t on them. Less than a year later, it says, “the Joy-Con drift became so pronounced that the controllers became inoperable for general gameplay use.” Sanchez’s mom obligingly purchased another set of controllers, but seven months later, the complaint alleges, they began drifting too.
Joy-Con drift is pervasive among Switch devices. (Anecdotally, I’ve experienced it on two sets of my own controllers). Characters inch left or right as if a ghost was operating the console. Nintendo didn’t acknowledge the problem much until July 2019. That month, a thread on the Nintendo Switch subreddit calling out Joy-Con drift received over 25,000 upvotes. More than a dozen Switch owners filed a potential class action lawsuit (PDF) at the time calling Joy-Cons “defective.” Lawyers said Nintendo had heard users’ complaints for long enough; why didn’t the company disclose the issue? The 2019 lawsuit has been moved into arbitration, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers recently asked Switch users to submit videos describing their experiences with Joy-Con drift to help bolster their case. Last month, a French consumer group filed a complaint, too, alleging planned obsolescence. Nintendo began fixing Joy-Cons for free, post-warranty, in July 2019, and Nintendo’s president apologized for the problem in a financial meeting this summer. But Sanchez’s lawyers argue that Nintendo hasn’t done enough to fix the issue or warn customers about it up front.