New Nintendo Controller Patent Shows Possible Joy-Con Drift Fix

A patent for a new Nintendo controller, published by the United States Patent Office on September 7, indicates the Super Mario developer is at least considering how to permanently shake its Joy-Con drift issue. Joy-Con drift, a phenomenon in which your Switch responds to phantom Joy-Con movement, has frustrated Switch owners since the console’s 2017 debut, triggering class action lawsuits, and begetting an official apology from Nintendo, which outsourced some drift repairs to a constantly overwhelmed repair shop in Syracuse. But through all of this Joy-Con misery, Nintendo has failed to incorporate a permanent fix until, maybe, now.

According to the controller patent, which was first filed on May 11, it proposes “a resistance section using a magnetorheological fluid whose viscosity changes with a magnetic-field intensity and which becomes resistance when the operation element is displaced.”

A screenshot from Nintendo's patent shows a square-shaped controller.

Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

“I hope this means we’re getting Joy-Cons that use magnetism not to drift, as a change like that is long overdue,” games writer and accessibility advocate Laura Kate Dale told me over Twitter DM. However, some think the patent could instead hint at Nintendo introducing “force feedback analogue sticks similar to the resistive triggers on PS5” to a future console, Dale says. If that’s the case, “my main hope is that they can be switched off on a system level for disabled players,” she continues.

Read More: Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Repair Center Was Constantly Overwhelmed, Claims Former Supervisor

Nintendo’s patent is also kicking up more rumors about the much-asked-for Nintendo Switch 2, which appears to be scheduled for a 2024 release, though some developers reportedly received hands-on time with the device earlier this summer. Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment.

“There are a lot of rumors doing the rounds that the Switch 2 is going to basically be a Switch, but with more power under the hood, and a reliance on DLSS-style upscaling to improve framerates and resolution,” Dale, who leaked Switch news in 2016, told me. “As a disabled gamer, I’d love to see a hypothetical Switch 2 make an effort to be more accessible” by adding some features that “are now standard on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, such as system-level colorblindness filters and accessibility tags on the digital store.” Out with the Joy-Con drift, in with the more accessible gaming future.


Fix Incoming For Viral Miles Flub

A person in a Spider-Man suit stands in a building.

Image: Insomniac Games

Spider-Man 2 developer Insomniac Games is promising a fix for a bit of an embarrassing slip-up in an upcoming patch. In what was likely an attempt to represent co-protagonist Miles Morales’ Puerto Rican heritage, the Cuban flag was displayed in the character’s apartment instead.

Read More: Spider-Man 2: The Kotaku Review

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has been out for a couple of days now and folks seem to be having a great time with it. Sitting at a 91 on Metacritic, the game featuring dual protagonists Peter Parker and Miles Morales is a hit with fans and critics for sure. Miles himself was introduced to the web-slinging world via the comics back in 2011. Living in Brooklyn, Morales is of Black and Puerto Rican descent. As New York is home to the largest Puerto Rican population in the continental United States, his inclusion is a reflection of Spider-Man’s setting.

Responding to a post on X (formerly Twitter), Insomniac’s director of community and marketing, James Stevenson, recognized the slip-up and promised a fix.

The flub certainly didn’t go unnoticed. “They forgot this guy’s nationality,” one YouTuber remarked. The same video documents the fact that Morales’ suit featuring the Puerto Rican flag was correct, but it’s clear that at some point in development, someone at Insomniac seemed to have overlooked the difference between the two flags.

Though they both feature five stripes, a triangle and a star, the Cuban flag’s stripes are blue with a red triangle, while the Puerto Rican flag is the opposite: a blue triangle with red stripes.

It’s definitely not a good look for Insomniac Games, which had received praise from fans for its representation of Puerto Rican culture in Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Spider-Man 2 is currently available for PS5.

Update, 10/26/2023, 11:00 a.m. ET: Insomniac pushed out a fix for the flag error earlier today. Players have reported spotting the Puerto Rican flag in place of the Cuban one throughout Harlem. “We understand that accurate representation matters, and greatly regret this error,” the studio tweeted. “We sincerely apologize and will do better in the future.”

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