Catch my drift?
As with any gaming hardware, fans have had some complaints about Switch over the years. While there are minor gripes here and there, the biggest issue by far has been Joy-Con drift. Countless Switch owners have suffered from Joy-Con drift, which sees a joystick registering movement even when the player isn’t touching that joystick. This results in the game reading inputs that aren’t happening, taking control away from the player.
There’s no doubt Nintendo wants to move away from the nightmare of Joy-Con drift with the Switch’s successor, and a new patent might give us a glimpse at what the company is cooking up. Just remember that even if Nintendo files a patent, there’s no guarantee we’ll ever see the technology or product release.
Just this month, a new patent from Nintendo has popped up and it references a joystick that registers input through a magnetic field. The current Switch joystick uses physical electrical contacts to read player input, and wear and tear through normal play can lead to Joy-Con drift. This magnetic field approach means there’s no physical elements that need to come in contact, which would reduce the chances of joystick drift by an incredible amount.
This magnetic field approach is extremely similar to Hall Effect technology, which is being utilized in a few third party Joy-Con and joysticks today. This patent has Nintendo slightly rejiggering things in order to come up with an idea exclusive to them, but the same base properties are implemented.
Of course, the question is whether Nintendo will actually release this joystick. Could it be something we see crop up in Joy-Con for the Switch, or will it be used in the Switch’s follow-up? Maybe it’ll never see the light of day at all, but there’s no doubt fans would like to see Nintendo take this approach into production.