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New Videos Suggest the Nintendo Switch Lite Might Have a Drift Problem Too

Illustration for article titled New Videos Suggest the Nintendo Switch Lite Might Have a Drift Problem Too
Screenshot: Alexis Javier (YouTube)

A teardown of the new Nintendo Switch Lite shared on YouTube revealed the new handheld console’s joysticks are very similar to those used on the original Switch, leading many to speculate that joystick drift could still be a problem. But now, just a few days after it hit stores, a Reddit user shared a video of their Switch Lite already exhibiting the dreaded drifting effect. It could be an even bigger issue on the mobile-only device. 


Spawn Wave, the YouTube channel that shared the Switch Lite teardown, found the new portable console used analog joysticks that looked identical to those used in the original Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controller. In terms of design and materials they looked identical to the naked eye, but the Switch Lite’s joysticks did feature a different part number, leading many to wonder if they were actually updated hardware that addressed the drift problem affecting the original Switch console where input would be detected by a game even if the joysticks weren’t being touched.


But if a video shared by Alexis Javier yesterday is to be believed, which shows the camera in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild spinning all by itself after one of the sticks is gently nudged, the Switch Lite’s joysticks are susceptible to the same drift problem as the original models are.

Assuming the video is real, it reveals an even bigger problem for the Switch Lite. The detachable Joy-Cons for the original Switch are easily replaceable and relatively inexpensive. So if Nintendo turns down a user’s request for a repair or a hardware swap, the console is still playable after a quick trip to the video game store. But the Switch Lite is an all-in-one machine, and repairing its analog joysticks requires the entire console to be disassembled; that’s extensive surgery that will require it being shipped off to Nintendo or a repair center to complete, which many users have reported takes a few weeks.

Some users have been able to reduce the joystick drift they’ve been experiencing on the original Switch with simple hacks like simply squirting contact cleaner into the base of the joystick. It’s not a recommended approach for the Switch Lite, however. If you damage one of the original Switch’s Joy-Cons, it’s self-contained and easily replaceable. If you squirt contact cleaner into your Switch Lite it will undoubtedly cause more damage and void your warranty in the process.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo for comment on this issue and will update this post when we hear back.


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I’ve had the same Switch since launch, and I thought I got lucky. I never experienced any drift with my left joy con.

Fast forward to a couple weeks back. Nintendo had just added a bunch of SNES games to their online service. I load up A Link to the Past, and play for a couple of hours... and Link starts drifting to the left, a lot. Lots of frustrating, accidental deaths. I figured it was a fluke; an issue related to playing a game designed to work with a D-pad, using a joystick.

So I bought the Link’s Awakening remake a couple days ago, played it for 5 minutes, and Link started moving to the left again. There are times where I’m pushing the joystick all the way to the right, and it feels like Link is moving at half speed. More frustrating accidental deaths.

Now I’m at the point where I’m thinking about buying new joy cons, but A) they’re bloody expensive and B) how long before they start drifting too?