While you may have thought you were lucky to be in the first batch of Steam Deck orders, a few early owners are reporting that their handhelds have joystick drift after just a little bit of use.
At least three separate posts on the topic have been made to Reddit's r/steamdeck, a dedicated forum for the new gaming PC. Two of them show the issue in settings, where you can test all of the inputs on the built-in controller. The third shows the mouse moving largely on its own in the settings menu for Civilization VI. Wario64 on Twitter first highlighted some of these complaints. At least one other complaint hatt, showing the left joystick, has popped up on Twitter.
Update, March 1, 8:25 p.m. ET: Valve, however, says the issue has to do with calibration.
"The team has looked into these reports and has determined there was a deadzone calibration issue introduced in a recent firmware update," Lawrence Yang, a developer on the Steam Deck said in a statement to Tom's Hardware. "We have just shipped a fix to address the problem, and the team will continue to watch for reports related to this issue."
The original story continues below.
Absolute Drift on #SteamDeck pic.twitter.com/YWugzn4wc7March 1, 2022
It is unclear how widespread this issue is. Steam Deck units just started being delivered this week, and complaints seem few and far between. Reviewers didn't complain about drift in reviews, either. We have double checked our review unit, which isn't showing any signs of joystick drift.
In an interview with IGN last July, Steam Deck designers said it was doing its best to ensure the reliability of its joysticks.
"We purposely picked something that we knew the performance of, right?" designer John Ikeda told IGN. "We didn't want to take a risk on that, right? As I'm sure our customers don't want us to take a risk on that either."
Drifting joysticks are inevitable; almost every controller exhibits the issue eventually, often due to dust embedding itself in the controller or degradation from regular wear and tear. What's unique here is that it's happening to some people so soon after purchasing their Steam Decks.
In 2019, complaints about drifting Joy-Sticks on Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers for the Nintendo Switch led to a class action lawsuit. Those issues popped up over time, rather than largely at once.
An iFixit teardown and a video from Valve showed that the Steam Deck's joysticks can be replaced. IFixit will be selling replacement parts, but whether or not joysticks will be included in the kit has yet to be announced.