Tech Facts

Valve wants to reduce problems with controls that pull to the sides


Valve has worked hard to avoid all forms of so-called “drifting” with the analog levers on Steam Deck. And it’s a real hit for Nintendo, whose Switch console has been plagued by the problem for several years.

  • Sony and Nintendo sued for “drifting” with DualSense and Joy-Con
  • Valve’s engineers are happy with the control of Steam Deck
  • Big problem for gamers when the analog levers pull to the sides

Read more: Xbox One Controller Issues – Microsoft is suing

Analog controls have problems with “drifting”

Steam Deck has fixed controls that cannot be easily replaced. This means that any problems that afflict them mean that potentially the entire game console needs to be replaced or submitted for repair.

This is the reason why Valve has worked extra hard to try to solve a really annoying problem that affects many analog controls on hand controls – namely that they pull to the sides.

The phenomenon is called “drifting” and means that the hand control registers a movement on the analog levers even when the user is not moving them. This allows characters in games to move even when the control is not in use. Or that it is inadvertently scrolling through the menus.

If it’s annoying? Absolutely. Does the Nintendo Switch have major problems with side-by-side controls? It depends on who you ask. Players have been complaining loudly ever since the first Switch model. Nintendo, on the other hand, refuses to admit that this is a major problem.

Read more: Nintendo Switch Light has joystick problems – the levers pull to the side

The construction of an analog lever for Steam Deck. Image: Valve

Technical solutions should solve the problem with Steam Deck

When the physical parts around the analog levers wear out, the control will inevitably start to pull to the sides.

The big question for many is not whether it will happen, but when. And hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat, who works at Valve, says his team has worked hard to try to solve the problem.

IN an interview with the website IGN, Yazan says that “we have done a lot of reliability tests” and that “I think we feel that it will work really well”.

Designer John Ikeda, who also works at Valve, says in the same interview that the company has chosen quality parts from a recognized manufacturer for maximum durability.

“We did not want to take the risk. Just like our customers didn’t want us to take it either, ”says John.

Read more: Nintendo refuses to say whether Switch (OLED) fixes Joy-Cons that pulls to the sides

Sony and Nintendo in court due to faulty controls

Both Sony and Nintendo have been forced to go to court due to faulty hand controls where analog levers that pull to the sides make it easier for players.

Earlier in February, Sony was sued by the law firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP due to problems with the DualSense control for the Playstation 5.

And Nintendo has got at least three lawsuits on the neck due to the same issue with Joy-Con for the Switch console.

It would not be entirely surprising if Valve tries to avoid ending up in front of a judge due to exactly the same problems as the competitors. Or what do you think?


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