Nintendo Switch 2 Could Leave Joy-Con Drift Behind, Patent Application Hints

The Kids in the Hall Effect.


Details on a new Nintendo patent application for a controller with magnetic analog sticks have surfaced, suggesting that the company's next peripheral won't suffer--possibly on a Switch 2--from the infamous drift issues of the Nintendo Switch era.

Spotted by video game accessibility consultant Laura Kate Dale, Nintendo originally filed for a patent in May, and the application was published on September 7. "No guarantees, but if this is for Switch 2, this should end analog stick drift issues next gen," Dale tweeted.

Better known as a Hall Effect joystick, these have a small magnet attached to them and sensors that measure the voltage generated by the magnetic field. Typically, Hall Effect joysticks are more durable and have a longer lifespan than traditional joysticks, which use potentiometers, as the contacts eventually wear out on those joysticks and cause the voltage readings to change, creating joystick drift. It's worth noting that Hall Effect joysticks can wear out over time as well, although they typically have a much longer lifespan in comparison.

Joy-Con drift has been a major issue for the Switch ever since the console was first released. Numerous stories have popped up over the years of players suffering from this issue, with one former employee of a repair center tasked with fixing those controllers claiming that they were overwhelmed with work. Nintendo originally sent out new replacements to customers who mailed in their Joy-Cons between 2017 and 2018, and currently, Nintendo fixes faulty Joy-Cons for free.

While Nintendo has confirmed that no new Switch hardware will be released before the end of its current financial year--which ends on March 31, 2024--rumors have been circulating that tech demos for a Switch successor was shown off behind closed doors at Gamescom. The Switch has sold 129.5 million units worldwide and 49 million across the Americas, and it looks to retire comfortably as the third-best-selling console of all time.

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