With the launch of the Nintendo Switch OLED this week, fans of Ninty are excited. And to help hype up the new console variant, Nintendo is promoting some improvements made to the design. The new interview as part of the Ask the Developer series, sees two heads at the company talk about the new console and plans for the future. Director Ko Shiota and Deputy General Manager Toru Yamashita answered various questions about the Switch OLED, and addressed fans concerns over particular issues.
The core design behind the OLED model is to refine the experience. With more visual clarity and improved battery life, they have done that to a degree. but there remains one bugbear in the design. And fans have been letting Nintendo know about it for years—the JoyCons.
It’s very clear by this point that the JoyCon design is flawed, and the analogue sticks are prone to random inputs, called “drifting”. This issue has been pointed out by experts and consumers until Nintendo stopped listening. And even after lawsuits were filed, and Nintendo offered free repair services, these issues remain. JoyCon drift was even reported in many international units.
I get it, it’s really expensive to retool production of technology and supporting parts. But at some point, it seems as though Nintendo would rather eat the monetary and reputation loss, than fix the problem.
But according to Nintendo, they actually aren’t planning on doing anything about it right now. Over the course of the new interview, various insiders at the company revealed that the company is telling gamers they will have to wait for a fix. “For example car tyres wear out as the car moves, as they are in constant friction with the ground to rotate,” Shiota says. “So with that same premise, we asked ourselves how we can improve durability, and not only that, but how can both operability and durability coexist? It’s something we are continuously tackling.”
The point is further expanded by Yamashita who added that the company has been trying a few things to address JoyCon wear, and that the new OLED model should last a bit longer. They also point out that all the newest controllers on store shelves right now have these same improvements. So given that gamers all over are still reporting drift issues on JoyCons, the issues are likely more embedded in the design than Nintendo can easily retool to fix.
“The degree of wear depends on factors like the combination of the materials and forms, so we continue to make improvements by researching which combinations are less likely to wear,” Yamashita adds. “The analogue sticks in the Joy-Con controllers included with Nintendo Switch – OLED Model are the latest version with all the improvements. Needless to say, so are the analogue sticks included in Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, separately sold Joy-Con controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller that are currently being shipped.”