Joy-Con drift sucks. Many of us have had it, and we’re sure many of us have had to contact Nintendo to send it off to get repaired. But did you know Nintendo itself doesn’t handle the repairs?
Kotaku has investigated the process of getting your Joy-Cons repaired if they get the dreaded drift. It has traced the service back to a company called United Radio, with a repair shop in Syracuse, New York. Nintendo is the face of the repairs, but United is the actual hands fixing your Joy-Cons.
Kotaku spoke to a former supervisor from the company, who told the website that the “very stressful” volumes of Joy-Con numbers coming in led to high turnover and a lot of mistakes. United Radio had “to set up an entire new workspace just for Joy-Con repair” because of just how many were coming in.
Because of this, a lack of expertise, and the high turnover rates at United Radio, it had to rely on a number of temps through recruitment and staffing company Aerotek. Most of the temporary workers are Vietnamese immigrants, as Syracruse has a high population of people living there of Asian descent. Only a handful of staff was able to speak English, but according to Kotaku’s source, these workers are also the ones that “stuck around the longest”, but many other temporary staff members only stayed for two and a half months, despite the promise of full-time employment after three months.
Initially, United Radio would just issue replacement Joy-Cons, but in 2018 the employees were forced to repair them instead of swapping them for working units. The workers were expected to repair 90% of all Joy-Cons within four days.
Aerotek would also often fire employees for minor issues, and sometimes staff would just stop showing up. Coupled with the high number of Joy-Cons coming in, it sounds like a very difficult situation, with pressure from the public and Nintendo.
Nintendo has faced multiple lawsuits over Joy-Con drift over the years, and most recently, one case is hinging on whether two kids can sue the company. Doug Bowser has commented on the issue as recently as last November, saying, “It’s something we are continuously tackling.”
You can read the full report from Kotaku below for additional insight on the difficulties of Nintendo’s Joy-Con drift repairs and the repair shop.