Nintendo offers lifetime free repairs

Since the launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017, there have been problems with the console’s detachable controllers. Now the European Commission has intervened.

From now on, owners of a Nintendo Switch who are affected by the so-called “Joy-Con Drift” problem can have the controller repaired by Nintendo free of charge. It does not matter whether a mechanical defect or wear and tear is responsible.

Defective Joy-Cons have “drift” problem

Since the release of the original Nintendo Switch in 2017, user reports of malfunctioning Joy-Cons have been piling up. The analog joysticks in the controllers register an input, although they are either not operated or not even touched. In games, for example, this leads to the camera perspective suddenly changing or the game character starting to run out of control. The problem has therefore become known as “Joy-Con Drift”.

Despite numerous user complaints and lawsuits, Nintendo has never officially acknowledged that it was a design flaw. Later versions of the Switch – the Switch Lite and Switch OLED – also exhibit the same problem. By January 2021, 25,000 complaints had been received by the member organizations of the European Consumers’ Association alone. So far, however, affected users have had to contact support and have the controllers repaired or replaced, often at their own expense.

European Commission gets involved

However, under pressure from the European Commission, the company has now reacted. From now on, the company will repair Joy-Cons free of charge and without ifs and buts. The European Commission announced this in a press release. Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said:

“I’m pleased that Nintendo has voluntarily taken action to address EU consumer law compliance concerns by addressing the early obsolescence of certain controllers and granting a lifetime right to free repair in this specific case. This avoids the disposal of unrepaired controllers and thus unnecessary waste. […]”

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice – 04/04/2023

Affected users can now contact Nintendo Support with their defective Joy-Cons and order a repair free of charge. It is irrelevant whether the defect occurs in new devices or only after many years of use. Nintendo promises to repair Joy-Cons that are no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty free of charge. This applies to the two revisions of the original Switch as well as to the Switch Lite and the Switch OLED.