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Xbox One Controller drift lawsuit claims problem widespread

Xbox One Controller
Xbox One Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Every controller suffers from thumbstick drift after some time it seems.
  • Nintendo was recently sued for the same problem.
  • It seems like Microsoft is the latest one to be hit regarding the Xbox One Controller.
  • Plaintiff Donald McFadden says the problem is large-scale.

Almost every controller suffers from thumbstick drift after some time, and it looks like plaintiff Donald McFadden has had enough of it. Recently, a report by VGC said that McFadden has launched a lawsuit against Microsoft. The outlet said the following.

Drifting issues have been experienced by a large volume of Xbox owners across various controller models, plaintiff Donald McFadden claims in court documents seen by VGC. The lawsuit was filed by McFadden on April 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Customers experiencing problems after their 90-day warranty expires are paying to repair a known fault, it alleges.

It's unclear if this case will become a huge trial, I'm guessing it'll be settled out of court, but it's still interesting to know what it may be a major issue. Have you experienced thumbstick drift? Let us know.

It's worth pointing out that it's unknown if issues are widespread. At the end of the day, the proof of these allegedly widespread issues will be what determines if the case has any merit and goes forward.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

35 Comments
  • I have a controller that drifts up. Gave it to the kids. Very frustrating.
  • Microsoft can't account for users' wear and tear. If it can't make it past the 1 year warranty, then fine. Replace. Past the year I'm not really worried. I have my original Day One controller working just fine. Ironically my Scorpio edition quit working but was shared with my son. Obviously not cared for as well..
  • Yeah im with you on that. I had an issue with my day one xbox one controller within the 1st month sent it back and MD replaced it. My brother and I got the elite controller on the same day and he ended upgrading to the version 2 as his was falling apart but mine still works and looks perfect. Difference is he hammers games I don't so much having a family. For me something that is used a lot will have issues a few years down the line and this lawsuit seems a daft one but then again people will do anything for £
  • Seriously? Someone is suing over this?
  • I bought the new elite version 2 controller on January 7th it already has joystick drift, it is super annoying, and xbox support still hasn't gotten in touch with me about it.
  • I got an elite 2 for Christmas, it started drifting after about a week. Got a replacement and the replacement started drifting after 2 weeks.
  • My day one non Scorpio Xbox One X controller just started the drifting up on the left analog about a week ago. I fixed it by swapping out the analog sensor from a 3rd party original Xbox controller that had been sitting in the drawer for 15 years or more. Works good as new now. I have used that controller almost everyday since the One X released so it has had plenty of use and I am not rough on my controllers. Also, while I was in there, I swapped the left and right sticks because the grippy bumps were wearing off of the left stick on a part of it.
  • hmmm....My Xbox One launch day controller still works, as does the one that came with my one x. Also, my original PS1 dual shock, PS2 dual shock 2, ps3.... (all the ps controllers are fine)
    Gamecube wavebirds, fine.
    Saturn 360 pad works fine.
    Dreamcast analogs are fine.
    XB, XB360 analogs are fine
    Launch day Switch joycons and pro pad are fine.
    n64....ugh, not fine.,but that stick was horrible. With the exception of the switch, as acknowledged by nintendo, that did have an issue, drift tends to be part wear and tear as well as abuse/care of the controller. I have controllers that I've owned since the late 80s, and with the exception of ones that got rained on after a cat 5 hurricane ripped off a part of the roof directly over them and the n64 controller all of my controllers seem to be fine. (and yes, I have actually played them all in the last week, getting my gameroom up and running)
  • Great! Thought I was the only person whose controllers last forever. Never had a single controller go bad on me across PS1, Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, 360, XBO, XBX. Maybe I have gentle hands? Lol!
  • It's been a big problem with the Xbox One controllers for me. My Xbox 360 controllers never had this problem, or any other game system controller for that matter. I purchased 3 controllers from the design lab, and 2 of those are having a problem with drift after less than a year of use. By the time I could no longer play with it and contacted support it was out of warranty. I think MS should offer repair of the controllers in their MS Stores. Nobody want's to spend extra on a special designed controller just for it to be unusable within a year. This isn't just the ones from the design lab, but all of the other specialized controllers that are available.
  • Funny, I have had the exact opposite experience with the two systems. I have had several 360 controllers drift, including a few of the silver edition they released that CAME with drift. I have only had my X1X Scropio controller drift on XB1 (out of 4). This really passed me off and I ended up breaking it more trying to fix it. It is still usable, but it sometimes will get stuck in a position.
  • My Xbox 360 controllers are rock solid. My Logitech F310 that is over ten years old is rock solid. There are definitely a large number of people that report durability issues with the Elite Series controllers.
  • The 360 controllers had issues beyond the drift. Just about all of mine began to have cracks that would losen the battery pack to the point where it would turn off during play or not snap in at all. I owned at least 6 with all the same issues. Its good to hear that some people never had problems.
  • For me, I think it is the games you play the most can cause problems. On my XBox, I played a game that made me use RB constantly and in very tense moments, so I pressed it hard. As a result, that controller's RB button is no longer usable. On PS3 I played NCAA14 for years, and the plastic surrounding the left thumbstick would break at the bottom making the thumbstick stick. Every damn PS3 controller. I have gone through at least 10 PS3 controllers, but now I am motivated to just replace the top cover on one based on some of the comments. For me, XBOX controllers are way sturdier and I have had less problems. Really surprised to see the lawsuit, to me, controllers are a commodity, but I can see the issue if you are dropping for Elite ($180) each time...
  • Haven't had one break since 2013 and my friend is on his 3rd this year. He slams his joysticks and thinks it's not him that caused it. Take care of your stuff people. If it was faulty it would have broken within 3 month warranty I'm sure.
  • I got this problem as of a couple weeks ago. Tried compressed air, alcohal swabs, still doesn't work properly.
  • Yeap, two xbox one controllers, both have drift issues :(
    I think the xbox 360 controllers were FAR more reliable
  • I had this on some 360 controllers, but not all. With the Xbox One, all three controllers have this problem, including my Elite (Gen 1) controller.
  • This is just asinine. Its amazing what the courts let pass to waste our tax money. If this was about the Elites failing, I could understand. If this is about a $60 piece of plastic that you are passed failed in 3 years, then GTF over it. My XB1X SE controller failed on a drift and it upset me because that's the only limited edition console that I have owned, but I UNDERSTAND because I have put who knows how many hours of playtime on it.
  • Yep. This comment wins. No reason to get up in arms.
  • Exactly, l just fixed mine and went on with my day. If it was still under warranty, I'd call Microsoft, get it replaced and go on with my day.
  • I know if it's about $60 of plastic, but these problems are becoming worse and worse each generation of controllers I got, ever since the first iteration aka model 1609 it kept on getting weaker on the thumbsticks. The first gen elite is really messed up for me and needs to be completely repaired, thumbsticks (analog portion wobbly) needs to be replaced, rumble needs to be fixed, bumpers are becoming weak, triggers rumble is weird.
    Do keep in mind I use the controllers nearly daily, so that might be the reason they are breaking down so fast. But I've used the PS3 controllers, and they never ever have broken down in comparison, never suffered battery drain, and I think I've used them daily on my PS3. It's clear that this generation of controllers are starting to get worse. I just hope this lawsuit fixes it, replacement vs waiting what I suffer from, for example I had to wait for controller to be shipped only to have the right thumbstick with drift, then I got a free replacement, and now that the right thumbstick is already wearing down and having drift in around 3 months of use. This is making me extremely worried for my xbox one design lab controller, so I just hope this lawsuit brings some attention to the quality control of the controllers. Still probably gonna buy that new xbox one controller.
  • Everyone's experience with technology is different though. I personally feel that this generation is far better in quality than the 360 era, but thats my experience. Some people crap on Lenovo, but I had little issues with their equipment. This happens with every product, not just in tech. This lawsuit is going to do nothing to improve quality in the future I believe, especially if its proven that they are honoring warranties and if its happening outside their time frames and not right after.
  • This would be a civil case. Your taxes aren't paying for it. Loser will pay court costs and all legal fees.
  • Doesnt a civil cause still use a courtroom and judge that get paid from tax money? I thought all lawsuits used a court system.. Or is this handled via arbitration outside of a court. ***Edit*** OK, doing after doing a search it looks like it works how I thought. I'm sure there are ways to settle claims outside of a court system, but the standard way to looks to go through a court. https://litigation.findlaw.com/filing-a-lawsuit/civil-court-cases.html
  • First Xbox bought with release of One X. 7 Controllers and 3 have been tossed for drift with a 4th rumored to have a problem too so I'd say it's common. It's not just them though, it's been seen with our wii nunchucks and ps3 controllers.
  • I have had two controllers the one that came with my XBOX and the one I purchased to play two player games ( which I also think is a sham that consoles sunny come with two controllers by default anymore )... both controllers have drift and on one the stick actually broke..... It's a shame that the price for these consoles are outrageous, and then the price for the controllers and games are just as outrageous and we can't even get a controller that can stand the test of time..... I still have Atari joysticks that work..... And for those of you that don't know Atari was the first major game console in America in the 80's and they were dirt cheap and the games were $1 so we mean to tell me you want to charge us out the nose for a console and the accessories / games and we can't even get a quality product.... With where technology is these days that just doesn't add up to me
  • I play alot of xbox so I wish the drifting wasn't a problem but it is! Idk if I would sue. But I bought 3 Power A controllers and those drift, button sticking and/or trigger malfunctions of different kinds within the 90 days but there only $20 at Walmart and can easily return. Also it's not officially xbox 100% brand. Then I have 6 official xbox1 brand controllers and the 4 Black ones which 1 is day 1 controller and they all lasted the longest for at least 2-4years with out any issues but then eventually all ended up at sometime with the drift and some button/trigger issues. Then the other 2 100% offical xbox brand controllers were a white/gold one and gray/green one and the only issue I have is the drifting 1 is only rarely and one is super noticable I can't even play with it but no button/trigger issues. One common thing about all my controllers were they drifted up besides 1 that goes downward. I believe the issue is pressing the thumb stick in while moving for most part which some how has to get fixed is all. I've played Xbox sing OG Xbox and OG ones none of them have issues but 360 nothing really noticable but all playable. All xbox 1 eventually get the drift with some other issue possibly. I love Xbox/Microsoft and will stick with it for the foreseeable future. All I feel is there should be a easy way to send it in or get it fixed no charge or easy way to fix it yourself if you get the drift because they will eventually get a drift some soon or later. Also I take very good care of my controllers and clean them, it's all been by gameplay.
  • Both of my controllers have that issue, both went up with the right stick..
    my second one stopped with that behavior but only for about one month..
  • My Blue Xbox one Controller had drift out of the box, but its minimal so never worried about it
  • I don't know of a single analogue stick that doesn't eventually get stick drift, it's a limitation of the technology, nothing more. Until they devise a better way to control movement on a controller, people just need to suck it up, get it repaired under warranty, or get a new controller if it isn't, simple as that.
  • I have dozens of consoles with even more controllers, no drift in any of them. We have multiple users in the house as well. I must be one lucky son of a monkeys uncle for the past few decades. Ask my online gamer friends and the only problems they have had is when they abused their controllers out of frustration, but no so called drifting. Maybe some games are more sensitive to it that I'm not playing? Just strange.
  • I think every controller is subjected to this failure. Or PS4 controllers are exempt? Elite controller?
  • What's funny is to see people actually do downplay this. I mean if there is a problem and if it gets worse isn't it a good thing that something is done to improve things?
    Won't this encourage MS to work more on quality, resulting in a better product?
    Isn't that a good thing?
  • Pretty much happened to every controller I've ever owned. N64, PS1, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, OG Xbox and Dreamcast. The Xbox One is the first console I haven't had it. But then I'm older and play a bit less than I used to. The failiure rates for Xbox One and it's accessories is under the tech threshold. I see it thrown out of court.