[Updated on March 2 @ 1:45 PM ET] – Valve’s Lawrence Yang has responded to reports on the Steam Deck joystick drift. Yang writes on Twitter that the issues were caused by a “recent firmware update,” and the team has since fixed the bug.
The original story, posted on March 1, is as follows.
It’s not unusual for new hardware to come to the market in a less than perfect state. After all, once the tech leaves the factory and gets into the hands of its users, all sorts of problems can arise. However, if there was one issue that everyone quietly hopes to never see, it’s joystick drift. Now, it looks like some users are already experiencing joystick drift on the Steam Deck.
The Steam Deck released on February 25, and users have already reported some unfortunate news. A Reddit user first reported their issue with a video that showed how their right joystick was drifting. Then, just an hour later another Reddit user, Hollandje, posted their own video showing the same problem. And they weren’t the last person to experience this either. A third user going by Stijnnl also experienced the same joystick drift.
The curse of joystick drift strikes again
Curiously, the problem only seems to occur with the right joystick. As of now, there haven’t been any reports of the left joystick drifting at all. This could possibly indicate that there’s some kind of manufacturing problem affecting this first batch of Steam Decks. It’s hard to say what the actual cause of the drift is as of now though. Regardless, it’s disappointing to see.
Joystick drifting on handheld devices has been a big talking point over the last few years, particularly with the Nintendo Switch. Unlike that handheld system, though, the Steam Deck is specifically designed to be easily repaired. So, while it’s definitely a pain to have to open up your Steam Deck on the day it comes to your door, this might be a problem you can solve on your own. Valve also recently partnered with iFixit to supply replacement parts for the Steam Deck, including spare joysticks.
It’s a huge shame that some users of the Steam Deck are experiencing joystick drift. This is an annoying issue that can make a range of titles unplayable. And making things even worse is the fact that the handheld device has barely been out for a week. The hope now is that Valve works to iron out problems like this from Q2 onwards.