Don't Throw Away Your Broken Switch Controllers, Nintendo Might Fix Them For Free

Nintendo will be repairing Switch gaming consoles affected by the Joy-Con drift issues with its detachable controllers without any cost, as long as you live in Europe. Nintendo announced yesterday that will offer free repair services for malfunctioning Joy-Con controllers with the "drifting" issue, which causes the control sticks to register an input even when users are not physically interacting with it. For now, the company says it will offer the free repair service to Switch owners living in the European Economic Area (EEA), the U.K., and Switzerland. Nintendo's policy change comes a day ahead of an order from the European Commission, which reached out to the company after multiple users lodged complaints about the controller drift issue before the region's consumer rights body.

The EC's statement notes that the Network of Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Authorities, in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Development and Investments and the German Environment Agency, connected with the Japanese gaming behemoth to find an appropriate solution. The key argument was that in absence of a proper repair and replacement solution, consumers were either forced to fork extra cash or simply threw away the malfunctioning controller, which led to e-waste accumulation. To recall, Nintendo even had to face a class-action lawsuit in the US over the Joy-Con drift problem, which is said to be a result of wear and tear, or possibly particle accumulation.

At long last, Nintendo walks the right path

Nintendo's official support page mentions that the company will offer free Joy-Con servicing even for units that are past the standard 24-month manufacturer's warranty. The EU's statement, on the other hand, adds that Nintendo will accept no-cost repair requests irrespective of whether the drifting happens due to wear and tear or if it originates from manufacturing defects. If you happen to live in supported EU regions and have a Switch – both standard and Lite — console in your possession, you can book a repair service here. However, the company warns that due to stock shortage issues, it might take some time before customers can book a slot.

In the meanwhile, you can try a few at-home solutions yourself. The first option is recalibrating the thumbsticks from the system settings. You can also try updating to the latest firmware update before fiddling with hardware-level fixes. Another fairly popular solution is using compressed air to clean the debris accumulation underneath, and following it up by recalibrating the thumbstick controls. Reddit is also buzzing about an alternative fix – one that definitely voids the standard warranty – that involves putting a carefully cut card stock above the silver plate fitted inside each half of the Joy-Con controller.