Last week, Valve’s highly anticipated Steam Deck was launched and we’ve already been treated to videos showing Gabe Newell, the company’s president, hand-delivering some of the orders to commemorate the moment. As with any big release though, some issues have also been making their way out there as well — a few Steam Deck users have reportedly suffered from joystick drift and have taken to Reddit, to demonstrate the problem.
As you can tell from the name, stick drift occurs when the character, cursor, or directional view corresponding to a joystick continues to move, even when you aren’t actually moving it. The issue isn’t exactly a new phenomenon and has plagued Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, essentially since the console first launched in 2017, prompting a class action lawsuit two years later. Nintendo now repairs Joy-Con controllers that suffer from drifting, for free.
In the video above you can see the Steam Deck is still registering movement across the right joystick even though there is no force being applied. Other users have noted that they’re experiencing the same thing, despite very minor use of the handheld so far. As of this publication there have been three different video examples of users experiencing the issue.
A small percentage— While it is unfortunate that stick drift is affecting the early rollout of Steam Deck, Valve says a firmware patch should fix the glitch which the company identified as a “deadzone calibration” problem. A Valve spokesperson expounded on the issue to IGN:
"The team has looked into these reports and has determined there was a deadzone calibration issue introduced in a recent firmware update. We have just shipped a fix to address the problem, and the team will continue to watch for reports related to this issue."
Some Reddit users experiencing the problem say the patch has done the trick, which is a big relief given the prospect of an actual hardware issue like the one that plagued Nintendo’s Joy-Cons. As noted by IGN, there is a chance that the re-calibration may have a negative effect on small joystick movements, but for now we’ll just have to wait and see.
Maybe being on the Q2 and later portion of the waitlist is not such a a bad thing after all.
Update: This article has been updated to included Steam’s response and new information about a firmware patch.