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Nintendo's newest patent may address analog stick drift on next console

Joy-Con drift has plagued the Nintendo Switch since launch, but Nintendo's follow-up console may provide a solution to the long-standing controller issue.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

September 11, 2023

1 Min Read
Screenshot of the Nintendo Switch console lying upright next to two Joy-Cons.

A recent patent from Nintendo suggests its upcoming Nintendo Switch successor will avoid analog stick drift with its controllers. Though the patent was filed in May, it was just revealed on September 7, and comes not long after it was reported Nintendo showed off said Switch successor to external developers at Gamescom.

Said patent describes the inner mechanics of an analog stick that uses a magnetic field to communicate movement (or a Hall Effect). For the Hall Effect stick, the patent proposes resistance using "magnetorheological fluid whose viscosity changes with a magnetic-field intensity and which becomes resistance when the operation element is displaced.”

The Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers have had an issue with analog stick drift for years, across both the original 2017 model and the more recent OLED version. Nintendo's offered free repairs for those affected, but it's not available in every country.

Nintendo hasn't managed to find a full-on fix for Joy-Con drift for the Switch family of systems. But touting new, drift-less analog sticks with its upcoming system would further entice audiences towards buying it, particularly since the developer will have a big launch title where stick drift would be a hassle to deal with.

With reports of the Switch 2 aiming for a late 2024 release (likely around the holidays), new and improved analog sticks are even more important than before.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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