Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-10-08 11:30 (JST)
Translated by. Ryuki Ishii
On October 7, Nintendo published the “Ask the Developer Vol.2, Nintendo Switch – OLED Model” article in conjunction with the launch of Nintendo Switch OLED Model. The developers also talked about various improvements made to Joy-Con controllers.
In this episode of “Ask the Developer”, Ko Shiota (General Manager) and Toru Yamashita (Deputy General Manager) of the Technology Development Division talked about the “visible changes” and “invisible changes” made to the Nintendo Switch OLED Model. They also mentioned some of the improvements made to the Nintendo Switch hardware over the years since its initial release in 2017. One of them being the “model with extended battery life” that came out in 2019, and the other is the improvements made to Joy-Con controllers.
Yamashita touched on the subject saying, “Joy-Con controllers have lots of different features, so we’ve been continuing to make improvements that may not always be visible. Among others, the analog-stick parts have continuously been improved since launch, and we are still working on improvements.” He went on to explain that “the parts of the Joy-Con analog sticks are not something that can be bought off the shelf but are specially designed” and the company intends to “make improvements by researching which combinations are less likely to wear.”
Yamashita explains that the reliability test itself has been improved as well, and “when the effects of our improvements were confirmed, we promptly incorporated them into the Joy-Con controllers that are included with the console, Nintendo Switch Lite, and the ones sold individually, that were manufactured at that time.” New versions of the parts are used for repairs too. Yamashita also mentions that “similar continual improvements have been made for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as well.”
Many users have been suffering from “Joy-Con drift” ever since the launch of Nintendo Switch. As you can see in the video above, the Joy-Con analog sticks would drift when it is not being touched. While this is not necessarily a problem unique to the Joy-Con, it has led to class action lawsuits. In some countries, Nintendo has taken steps to repair Joy-Con drift free of charge, regardless of whether it is within the warranty period or not.
The white Nintendo Switch OLED Model comes with white Joy-Con controllers that are not sold separately. Therefore, at the time of the announcement, there were a lot of speculations saying this might be a new and improved version. However, Nintendo came out and commented that the specifications are the same as the current model.
According to Yamashita, the answer was given in the sense that they “didn’t add new features such as new buttons.” However, “the analog sticks in the Joy-Con controllers included with Nintendo Switch – OLED Model are the latest version with all the improvements.” So are all the other products currently being shipped.
Users might not have noticed, but apparently, improvements have been made to Joy-Con analog sticks. It may be difficult to select and buy a Switch based on when it was manufactured, but the Nintendo Switch OLED Model comes with the latest version of Joy-Con for sure. So that might be a good reason to pick the OLED Model instead of the others. Now that the OLED Model is out, user analysis and reviews regarding the state of Joy-Con will surely come out in the coming weeks.