Sunday, December 4, 2022

Joy-Cons Have Been Improved, Nintendo Says

Nintendo just released a new “Ask The Developer” segment on its website. This time, it focuses on the Nintendo Switch OLED. No surprises there. The new Switch OLED console was released today, and Nintendo took the opportunity to answer a few frequently asked questions, including what they’ve done to improve the Joy-Cons and reduce the infamous Joy-Con drift.

According to the Nintendo team, they’ve been hard at work on the drift problem. But Nintendo’s response is frustrating but not ultimately surprising. According to Toru Yamashita, Deputy General Manager, Technology Development Department:

Joy-Con controllers have lots of different features, so we’ve been continuing to make improvements that may not always be visible. Among others, the analog-stick parts have continuously been improved since launch, and we are still working on improvements.

The analog stick at first release cleared the Nintendo reliability test using the method of rotating the stick while continually applying a load to it, with the same criteria as the Wii U GamePad’s analog stick.

As we have always been trying to improve it as well, we have investigated the Joy-Con controllers used by the customers and repeatedly improved the wear resistance and durability.

The parts of the Joy-Con analog sticks are not something that can be bought off the shelf but are specially designed, so we have undergone a lot of considerations to improve them. In addition, we improved the reliability test itself, and we have continued to make changes to improve durability and clear this new test.

When the effects of our improvements were confirmed, we promptly incorporated them into the Joy-Con controllers that are included with the console, Nintendo Switch Lite, and the ones sold individually, that were manufactured at that time. This involves the internal components of the Joy-Con, so you can’t tell the improvements from the outside, but we use the new versions of the parts when we repair them. Also, similar continual improvements have been made for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as well.

Translation: Joy-Cons will experience wear and tear, and Joy-Con drift — though never explicitly named — is part of that normal wear and tear.

The original Switch Joy-Cons met the same release requirements as the Wii U’s GamePad, and since then, Nintendo has continued with reliability tests and “promptly incorporated” their findings in the Joy-Con, Switch Lite, and Pro Controller designs to improve durability.

This means the Nintendo Switch OLED and new sales of the Nintendo Switch consoles should have improved Joy-Cons, but the problem may not be totally solved.

Not yet anyway.

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