After years of dealing with Joy-Con drift and no satisfactory answers from Nintendo, we may finally have our solution. A company called Gulikit has created a set of Switch joystick replacements that promise to banish stick drift once and for all (via Gizmodo).
Unlike your standard Nintendo Joy-Cons, Gulikit’s joystick replacements use so-called Hall effect sensors to essentially make them drift-resistant – the same technology used by Sega’s 1990s Saturn 3D and Dreamcast controllers. the sensors magnetize to detect the movement of the joystick, meaning none of the components actually rub against each other and wear out like the sensors used on Joy-Cons.
One of the reasons Joy-Cons drift in the first place is that they use potentiometers. This technology degrades over time, resulting in incorrect readings that make your controller appear possessed. In 2021, Nintendo executive Ko Shiota compared the problem to car tires that “wear out while the car is moving because they are in constant friction with the ground to turn”.
That’s where Gulikit’s joysticks come into play. The sticks, which are available for $29.70 on Amazon, will presumably put an end to frequent Joy-Con replacements and repair jobs (it definitely shouldn’t). You’ll need to install the replacement joysticks yourself, of course, but this video from iFixit should point you in the right direction when it comes to disassembling the Joy-Cons. The Gulikit joysticks also come with a screwdriver, replacement screws, tweezers and a plastic pry tool to get you started.
While we didn’t get a chance to try them ourselves, users on Amazon have left mostly positive reviews. However, some say they leave a small gap between the bezel that should prevent dust and other debris from entering the Switch, though it’s unclear how or if this will affect the sticks (or the Joy-Cons themselves). Gulikit also has replacement joysticks for the Steam Deck, as well as a full-fledged KingKong 2 Pro controller with hall effect sensors.
Keep in mind that adding third-party sticks may void the warranty on your Switch and Joy-Cons, but it’s still a possible solution if you’ve had enough of stick drift. It’s just sad that – in the year 2023 – we have to go through all this to make things work right when the technology is already here and has been there for decades.