As more and more reports of flaws in the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers surface, a New England law firm is championing the players with a lawsuit against the company.
If you haven’t experienced it, the fault occurs sometimes in Joy-Con that have been in use for a while. The Switch will react as if the thumbstick is being moved even when it’s not being touched, which can obviously cause some gameplay problems. The so-called “Joy-Con drift” has never really been explained. Is it the result of a hardware problem or stress from use? Nintendo isn’t saying, and I can’t even find a reliable source who knows what part of the Joy-Con causes the drift.
Regardless, the legal team of Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the affected users, claiming Nintendo‘s lack of response to this defect constitutes an unfair or deceptive business practice — and it’s replicated the complaints from Reddit and the Nintendo Support forums to support its case.
Part of the complaint (which you can read in full here) hinges on the idea that Nintendo knew about the drift problem, but shipped the console anyway:
Defendant controls the manufacture, development, marketing, sales, and support for the Switch and Joy-Con controllers. Accordingly, Defendant was responsible for performing pre-release testing on the Switch and Joy-Con controllers which should have alerted it to the defect. The Switch was first released in March 2017 and is still on the market today. Despite knowing about the Joy-Con defect, Defendant continues to market and sell the Switch and Joy-Con controllers (through third-party retailers) without disclosing the defect.
Another concern is that, when contacted about the problem, Nintendo won’t fix it for free. From what I’ve seen in the anecdotal evidence of others (my own Joy-Con are thankfully drift-free), the company‘s solution appears to be “buy new Joy-Con.”
Not that this surprises me — this is the company that responds to requests for return on digital goods with, “Well why didn’t you read reviews first?” But whether it’s actually illegal or unfair will probably be the backbone of the issue.
As for what reparations the company can give, the law firm says in the complaint the plaintiffs want “injunctive relief in the form of a recall or free replacement program [and] Equitable relief in the form of buyback of the devices.”
We’ve contacted the law firm for more information. If you want to submit your own experience with Joy-Con drift to Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith, you can do so here.