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Hero Child Sues Nintendo Over Hellish Joy-Con Drift

Illustration for article titled Hero Child Sues Nintendo Over Hellish Joy-Con Drift
Photo: Gizmodo

If you’re familiar with the dreaded Switch phenomenon known as “Joy-Con drift,” you’re likely privy to the unique feeling of rage you feel when the movements of your controllers aren’t aligning with what’s happening on your screen. One child has evidently had enough, and he and his mother are now suing Nintendo over the ongoing issue.

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Joy-Con drift is a widespread issue that affects the function of the Nintendo Switch’s joysticks. The complaint that was filed Monday in the California’s Northern District Court alleges that Nintendo has had knowledge of the problem “for years, and still, has done nothing to adequately fix it or alert consumers of its existence.” Wandering controller inputs aren’t limited to the older Switch, either; the problem has plagued Switch Lite users as well. Indeed, Nintendo users have been complaining of the issue for so long that this week’s complaint isn’t even the first class-action suit about it.

This latest suit was filed by a California woman—on behalf of herself, her young son, and other similarly disgruntled consumers of all ages—who purchased a Nintendo Switch in December 2018 and cycled through not one, but two sets of Joy-Con controllers by June 2020, both of which experienced the drift malfunction. The Switch itself retails for $300, while the replacement Joy-Cons retail for $80 for a pair. Had she known about the issue, the complaint states, “she would not have purchased the Nintendo Switch or additional controllers, or she would have paid substantially less for them.”

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In particular, the suit takes aim at Nintendo’s failure to notify users in any meaningful way that the issue may occur, be it on product packaging or through any kind of marketing. Moreover, the complaint notes, the company’s president Shuntaro Furukawa apologized for the issue earlier this year. However, rather than remedy the problem, Nintendo continues to stock shelves with products that are or have the potential to become functionally defective, a move the complaint characterizes as “unlawful conduct.”

“Defendant continues to market and sell the Products with full knowledge of the defect and without disclosing the Joy-Con Drift defect to consumers in its marketing, promotion, or packaging,” the complaint states. “Upon information and belief, Defendant has had a financial motive to conceal the defect, as it did not want to stop selling the Products, and/or would need to expend a significant amount of money to cure the defect. Despite Defendant’s affirmative misrepresentations as to the functionality of the Products, Defendant could have easily disclosed the defect to potential consumers in any number of ways, including on the product’s packaging or the set-up screen.”

Nintendo did not immediately return a request for comment about the suit.

The suit is seeking $5,000,000 in damages. Should they lose in court, or should this suit go to arbitration like the previous one, we always have the option of simply replacing the Switch joysticks entirely, as one hacker recently demonstrated. But who wants to go to all that trouble when Nintendo could, you know, just fix the problem for us?

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DISCUSSION

The whole, $5,000,000 in damages thing is stupid. What this should be is a class-action lawsuit so that it would affect all customers who have bought a switch or joy-cons over the last few years (or am I misunderstanding this? I don’t know much about how the legal system works tbh).

I know Nintendo is fixing joy-cons for free (right?), but the number of people who have just tossed their controllers/paid 3rd parties to fix/bought new ones must be a staggering number because I always here about joy-con drift I feel like.