Nintendo has started offering free repairs for faulty Joy-Cons in more parts of Europe, regardless of warranty status, as first reported by Nintendo Life. On a support page on Nintendo’s UK website, the company says it will fix Joy-Cons inflicted with the dreaded stick drift “at no charge” in the UK, Switzerland, and the European Economic Area (EEA) — even if the company’s two-year warranty has expired.
Although Nintendo has offered free repairs for out-of-warranty Joy-Cons in North America, Latin America, and France, it never extended the policy to the UK, Switzerland, and all of the EEA until now. The company previously only repaired faulty Joy-Cons in these countries for free if they had an active warranty, and it’s unclear how long this offer has been active. We reached out to Nintendo for more information, and we’ll update this article if we hear back. The European Commission said Nintendo changed its policy after it contacted the company.
There are some exceptions to this policy, however. In the fine print, Nintendo says it may “refuse to provide repairs” for stick drift caused by third-party accessories; if it was caused by accidental damage; or if the controller has been “opened, modified or repaired” by anyone not authorized by Nintendo. It also implies that it may not perform repairs on faulty Joy-Cons for free forever, as it states this offer is only available “until further notice.”
Joy-Con stick drift, which causes the thumbsticks on either controller to read input when there is none at all, has remained an issue since the Switch was first released in 2017. Nintendo itself suggested that the problem may never be fixed, with one of its executives stating that stick drift is something the company is “continuously tackling.” This issue has resulted in numerous lawsuits, including one that got tossed out in court earlier this year after a judge sided with Nintendo.
Nintendo’s response to stick drift has caught the attention of government watchdogs and consumer rights groups in recent years. In 2021, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) called on the European Commission to investigate the issue, while a study from the UK-based consumer group later found that a design flaw causes stick drift. The issue may even present itself in new OLED Switch models, which has led some third-party companies to come up with their own drift-immune Joy-Con designs.
Update April 5th, 1:37PM ET: Detail about the European Commission contacting Nintendo.