Federal Court Rules Switch Joy-Con Claim Must Go To Arbitration

Published: May 22, 2020 10:52 AM /


Someone re-attaching a Joy-Con controller to the Nintendo Switch

The ongoing saga of Nintendo and the case of the Joy-Con drift continues. The Illinois federal court has ruled that a case brought against Nintendo by a dissatisfied gamer must go to arbitration.

This case was originally brought against Nintendo by gamer Zachary Vergara. In the original lawsuit, Vergara states that the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers possess a fault which causes their analog sticks to drift when not being manipulated by the player. According to Vergara, this issue "significantly interferes" with Switch gameplay. Vergara is seeking damages plus the legal costs for his attorney and the court case.

Similar to another case brought against Nintendo by complainant Ryan Diaz, a district judge has ruled that Vergara's case must go to arbitration. According to the judge, the parties - that is, Vergara and Nintendo - "enter[ed] into an arbitration agreement" that means they must ask an arbitrator whether the case belongs in court or not. These terms were in the original Nintendo Switch end user license agreement that Vergara agreed to when he purchased the console.

A set of Joy-Con controllers for the Nintendo Switch
Nintendo is facing a number of lawsuits over allegedly faulty Joy-Con controllers.

This is a small win for Nintendo, but it won't be the end of the case. Should the arbitrator decide that the case must indeed take place in court, Vergara will doubtless bring it back and Nintendo will need to defend itself. It should be noted, however, that since this is a federal court ruling, it sets precedent for any similar cases to be brought against either Nintendo or other gaming peripheral manufacturers, and even helps set precedent beyond the gaming sphere. Essentially, the case has strengthened the arbitration process; it's likely that any plaintiff bringing complaints against companies for faulty controller or peripheral functionality will be referred to arbitration.

What exactly is Joy-Con drift?

When people complain about Joy-Con drift, they're talking about the analog stick on either Joy-Con controller moving by itself. This can either happen immediately after purchasing the controllers or can appear after a certain amount of time. There are a number of home-made remedies purporting to fix the problem, but none of them have anywhere near a 100% success rate. Effectively, if you get Joy-Con drift, you need to contact Nintendo to schedule a repair, especially if the non-invasive methods of fixing the problem don't work.

We'll have to wait and see what happens in this case. For now, Nintendo can breathe a little easier, but we very likely haven't heard the last of Vergara or the Joy-Con drift case. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.

Have you experienced Joy-Con drift? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for five years, and in those five years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph