Following a class action lawsuit in the United States and almost non-stop bad PR in the leadup to one of Nintendo's biggest releases of the year, the company has reportedly done an about-face on Joy-Con repairs according to a new report.
Kotaku alumni Patrick Klepek has gotten a banger of a scoop for VICE, reporting that Nintendo's customer support is being instructed to refund any users who have already paid for Joy-Con repairs, with future complaints to be dealt with no questions asked. Nintendo says in the internal note, which Klepek reportedly got a hold of, says that "customers will no longer be requested to provide proof of purchase for Joy-Con repairs".
"It is not necessary to confirm warranty status. If a customer requests a refund for a previously paid Joy-Con repair [...] confirm the prior repair and then issue a refund." The documentation tells service staff to take users through basic troubleshooting steps, but if that doesn't rectify the problem then repairs are to be issued "at no-charge".
In other words: if you've suffered from the horrific nightmare of Joy-Con drift, Nintendo isn't going to make a fuss about it.
For months, Nintendo Switch users have been plagued by what’s become known as “Joy-Con drift.” Although they’re not touching the joystick on their Nintendo Switch controller, the console still thinks it’s moving. With no permanent fix being offered by Nintendo, they’re just sick of it.
If you, like me and several other Kotaku staff, have run into a consistent left Switch JoyCon signal issue, don't worry: Nintendo says it isn't in fact a hardware problem, but a "manufacturing variation". The company also says to contact them for a fix if you're running into the problem.
I've reached out to Nintendo Australia for confirmation of the new approach and what this means for Australian Switch owners. But the news couldn't come at a better time. A class action lawsuit was filed over the debacle, and the doubts around Joy-Con reliability have cast a shadow on the upcoming Switch Lite release. That wasn't helped by the vague response from Nintendo, which has supplied just the one statement to media outlets worldwide in the past week on the matter:
At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we are continuously making improvements to them. We are aware of recent reports that some Joy-Con controllers are not responding correctly. We want our consumers to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we always encourage them to visit http://support.nintendo.com so we can help.
VICE was able to get a Nintendo support staffer in the United States to immediately take care of a Joy-Con drift issue, providing a pre-paid shipping label confirming that Nintendo would be footing the bill for all repairs and shipping. The company is yet to publicly confirm the changed approach, and Kotaku Australia did not hear back from Nintendo Australia by the time of publication.
Update: Nintendo Australia responded to our queries post-publication, providing us with the same statement above that was provided to Kotaku and other media outlets earlier this week.