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A class-action lawsuit has been filed over ‘drifting’ Xbox controllers.
Drifting issues have been experienced by a large volume of Xbox owners across various controller models, plaintiff Donald McFadden claims in court documents seen by VGC.
The lawsuit was filed by McFadden on April 28 in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. Customers experiencing problems after their 90-day warranty expires are paying to repair a known fault, it alleges.
Drifting occurs when controller movements are registered even when the analogue sticks are left untouched.
A similar class action was filed against Nintendo last year concerning drifting Switch Joy-Con controllers. Last month a judge approved Nintendo’s move to compel arbitration but denied a request to dismiss.
McFadden claims to have purchased an Xbox Elite controller (RRP $179.99) and that after a short time he noticed the joystick on it had started to drift.
He eventually decided to purchase a second Elite controller only to experience the same problem “three or four months” later, it’s claimed.
The plaintiff claims he then spent “a considerable amount of time” attempting to fix the defect on his own, including manipulating the dead zones via Xbox settings, to no avail.
McFadden alleges that Microsoft is fully aware of the drifting defect after numerous online complaints received from its customers, and yet “failed to disclose the defect and routinely refuses to repair the controllers without charge when the defect manifests.”
The lawsuit claims the potentiometer within the joystick component—the mechanism that translates the physical movement of the thumbstick into movement within a game—contains a design flaw.
It says the wiper component of the potentiometer scrapes resistive material off a curved track, resulting in unwanted electrical contact without input from the user.
The suit claims Mcfadden’s experiences are not isolated and that “a large volume of consumers have been complaining about stick drift on Xbox One controllers since at least 2014.”
It adds: “A simple Google search on this issue reveals multiple forum and message boards dedicated to stick drift; YouTube instructional videos of users attempting to fix the issue on their own; and even replacement joystick components from Amazon and other sellers.”
Shortly after a similar lawsuit was filed against Nintendo, the company stopped charging for repair of drifting Joy-Con controllers and began refunding those who had already paid for a fix, although it doesn’t acknowledge an actual fault with Switch controllers.