Steam Deck early adopters already experiencing stick drift

The issue seems to be somewhat fixable.

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Image via Valve

Valve’s Steam Deck has been the talk of the town since it was announced back in July 2021, but the presence of thumbsticks on any controller will arouse concerns of stick drift. Unfortunately for some reservation holders, stick drift is now a part of their highly-anticipated handheld experience.

Stick drift isn’t a new phenomenon by any means; it’s been seen in Xbox One controllers, Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, and more. Despite Valve’s Yazan Aldehayyat, a hardware engineer for the Steam Deck claiming that the team had done a ton of testing to ensure a failure like this wouldn’t occur until a reasonable amount of time had passed, stick drift hit some users almost immediately out of the box. Redditor KimJongThorse posted their stick drift experience to the r/SteamDeck as did fellow Steam Deck owners Stijnn and hollandje. The issues come well after Valve assured reservation holders that they would be pleased with the hardware.

“We’ve done a ton of testing on reliability, on all fronts really – and all inputs and different environmental factors and all that kind of stuff,” Aldehayyat told IGN. “I mean, obviously every part will fail at some point, but we think people will be very satisfied and happy with this.”

While the stick drift is disappointing for early adopters—especially after such firm reassurance—there are a few solutions out there thanks to the r/SteamDeck Redditors. Some users were able to remedy the issue using a workaround that allows the Steam Deck to more or less ignore the stick drift through recalibration. This doesn’t appear to be a one-size-fits-all solution since some users have had mixed results.

Redditor hollandje was able to solve their stick drift issue and shared a step-by-step guide on how they were able to get their Steam Deck to behave normally. The process doesn’t seem to be very complicated and should only take a matter of minutes and a little patience.

Valve built the Steam Deck with longevity in mind and will also sell replacement parts including thumbsticks. After having the benefit of watching Nintendo flounder with its Joy-Con stick drift as well as the ever-troubled Xbox controllers, it was a smart play to include a way for Steam Deck owners to get more mileage out of their device. But as anyone can tell you, it isn’t a good look to have your product feature stick drift out of the box.