It's been almost four years since the Nintendo Switch made its debut on the market, but complaints about the console's Joy-Con controllers show no signs of stopping. Today, BEUC, the European consumer organization, has filed a formal complaint to the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities in the EU against the Japanese giant for premature obsolescence of its hardware.
As you might expect, the issue lies in what's become known as Joy-Con drift - when the analog sticks in the Joy-Con controllers start registering inputs without any actual interaction from the user, causing characters to move on their own. BEUC states that this flaw makes the console "unusable".
BEUC has worked with a number of consumer associations around the European Union, which started investigations a few months ago, and has received over 25,000 complaints from customers in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Greece. According to consumer reports, 88% of cases of Joy-Con drift happen within two years of buying the console.
BEUC's Director General, Monique Goyens, said:
“Consumers assume the products they buy to last an appropriate amount of time according to justified expectations, not to have to pay for expensive replacements due to a technical defect. Nintendo must now come up with proper solutions for the thousands of consumers affected by this problem.
It’s high time for companies to stop putting products onto the market that break too early. Creating unnecessary electronic waste completely goes against the objectives of the European Green Deal. To help combat this problem and to help consumers make the right purchase decision, manufacturers should be obliged to provide pre-purchase information on product durability to help consumers make both more informed and more sustainable choices”.
Nintendo has yet to fully acknowledge that something is wrong, so the organization claims that consumers are being misled by omission of key information, based on the EU's Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. BEUC urges Nintendo to fix the issues as quickly as possible, as well as inform consumers of the limited longevity of the Joy-Con and repair them for free until the issue is fixed. Nintendo has already been offering free repairs in some regions for a while now, despite not making any announcements regarding fixes or changes to the Joy-Con's design.