During the lead-up to the release of Nintendo’s highly anticipated Switch Lite console, the issue of potential drift in the analogue sticks was discussed at length. Unfortunately, our worst fears have been realized, as users are reporting drift only a few days after receiving their consoles. Users reporting the drift are careful to point out that it is not children who may be treating their hardware without care, but adults who are delicate with their new console, and still the issue has appeared.
In the lead up to release, the threat of a class-action lawsuit saw Nintendo proactively offer anyone with drift in their Joy-Cons a free repair of their system, or compensation for repairs done by a third party. The assumption was that Nintendo would surely have remedied this design on the Switch Lite, especially when one considers that unlike the Joy-Cons, the entire console will need to be disassembled for repair.
On the one hand, the design and production of the Switch Lite was probably too far along to force a drastic change to correct problems that cause drift to occur. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that the organization did not put a full stop on production when it became both a commonly known issue among the gaming community, and when the possibility of a lawsuit became clear.
Surely the cost of such a stop would have been astronomical, and perhaps the release of the Switch Lite may have been pushed back to 2020, but would that not be better than to release a system that may suffer from drift in the analogue sticks, especially when one does not have the simple luxury of using an alternate Joy-Con?
Nintendo Enthusiast has recently reported that Nintendo worked hard with suppliers in the development of the Switch Lite to reach the $199.99 USD price point, which will hopefully appeal to a broader range of consumers. We know already that some features were cut entirely, such as the docking feature to play the console on a television, but one must wonder if the drift issue was considered and ignored for the sake of maintaining both a low cost and September release window.
Here, the possible damage to the Nintendo brand at having to mail in one’s entire Switch Lite console to fix what cannot be described as anything other than negligence in design may be difficult to quantify. Right now, players report waiting three to five weeks to receive their Joy-cons back after sending them in to Nintendo.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this issue needs to be corrected right away, and Nintendo needs to have some frank discussions with the individual who decided to maintain the same problematic design for the analogue controls, long after it was revealed to be a widespread problem in the original Joy-Cons.