With all the lawsuits, official investigations, homemade fixes and fan complaints, it’s safe to say that controller stick drifting – especially on Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers – has been a heated talking point in gaming over the past few years.
Of course, plenty of controllers from a variety of manufacturers have the potential to suffer from drift (yes, even your fancy new PS5 DualSense could end up having problems), so conversation surrounding the topic has started once again thanks to the reveal of Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck, a system which some will consider to be one of Switch’s closest rivals going forward.
Keen to reassure potential customers that drifting won’t be an issue with the Steam Deck, Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat and designer John Ikeda have touched upon the system’s design process in conversation with IGN. When specifically asked about stick drift, Aldehayyat says:
“We’ve done a ton of testing on reliability, on all fronts really – and all inputs and different environmental factors and all that kind of stuff. I think we feel that this will perform really well. And I think people will be super happy with it. I think that it’s going to be a great buy. I mean, obviously every part will fail at some point, but we think people will be very satisfied and happy with this.”
Ikeda mentions that the team didn’t want to “take a risk” on the parts they selected:
“We purposely picked something that we knew the performance of, right? We didn’t want to take a risk on that, right? As I’m sure our customers don’t want us to take a risk on that either.”
The drift issues that have plagued Switch’s Joy-Con controllers have been a huge headache for Nintendo; the company has faced lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit, has been forced to apologise, and has been put under pressure from the European Consumer Organisation to investigate and solve the issue. It’s hardly surprising that Valve would want to avoid a similar nightmare with its new tech.
Do you have any interest in Valve’s Steam Deck, and would you choose it over a Switch OLED?