If a new patent is anything to go by, Nintendo may finally have a solution for the persistent Joy-Con drift that has afflicted its controllers for years.
The same day that reports emerged that Nintendo had been holding closed-door demos for prospective new Switch 2 hardware, a series of new patents filed by the Japanese hardware manufacturer appeared on the US patent office’s website. The filings seemingly depict parts that comprise the rumoured new hardware.
As spotted by Dexerto, among the filings are details of a new joystick that deploys a magnetic field to communicate movement through the controller. Those who’ve seen this tech before will recognise it as almost definitely being a Hall Effect joystick.
Hall Effect joysticks differ from standard potentiometer joysticks, like the ones in your current Joy-Cons, which communicate using electric contacts to send signals to the board. Hall Effect controllers use a magnetic field to communicate movement, allowing it to work without wearing parts down over time.
This would be a significant upgrade over the current Joy-Cons, which have been plagued with stick drift problems since the console’s launch in 2017. Initially, Nintendo refused even to acknowledge the issue but eventually bowed to pressure when it became clear the problem was not only widespread but unresolvable without changing the controller’s design.
Whether the technology will find its way into controllers attached to any potential Switch 2 hardware remains to be seen. For now, this is as good an indication as any that Nintendo is at least looking for ways to solve the drift problem permanently. We will see what the coming months bring, should Nintendo have anything it wants to talk about in regard to new hardware.
Image: Nintendo, Kotaku Australia
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