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Valve Hopes To Avoid Thumbstick Drift On The Steam Deck

The Half-Life/Portal publisher and developer claims its done a lot of testing and that fans will be happy with the hardware

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A close-up of the left thumbstick of the Steam Deck.
Image: Valve / Kotaku

Thumbstick drift is a nasty and frustrating problem that seems to have become more common on some consoles and devices. Valve is aware of these issues and says it has done a bunch of tests and picked high-quality and reliable parts to avoid the “risk” of stick drift becoming a problem with Steam Deck devices.

In an IGN interview with Valve designers and engineers who worked on the Steam Deck, the company claims that it is fully aware of the ongoing kerfuffle regarding joystick drift and that it is trying to avoid that situation. To do this, Valve explained that it has done a “ton of testing on reliability” of various Steam Deck parts and it believes customers will be “super happy” with how the device performs.


“ I think that it’s going to be a great buy,” explained hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat in the IGN interview. “I mean, obviously every part will fail at some point, but we think people will be very satisfied and happy with this.”

Another step in the company’s plan to combat stick drift, according to Valve, is that its using parts that it knows have a high-performance quality. “We didn’t want to take a risk on that, right,” said Steam Deck designer John Ikeda. As I’m sure our customers don’t want us to take a risk on that either.”


Read More: I Despise Joy-Con Drift, But I’m Learning To Live With It

All of this sounds good and is important because unlike the Switch or PS5, which have suffered from stick drift issues in the past, the controller inputs of the Steam Deck are built into the device, which would make repairs trickier and more expensive than just buying a new controller.

Image for article titled Valve Hopes To Avoid Thumbstick Drift On The Steam Deck
Photo: Valve

Stick drift has long plagued the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, with fans recently discovering a potential fix for the problem using cardboard. PS5 controllers have also encountered stick drift. Things have gotten so bad that some folks have restored to lawsuits against the console makers producing these controllers.


Valve announced the Steam Deck, a portable PC capable of playing high-end games, earlier this week and opened up pre-orders soon after. While the pre-orders hit a snag early on, things have calmed down a lot since then. The base version of the device starts at $400, a price that Valve boss Gabe Newell said was “painful” to achieve.

Meanwhile, resellers have already swooped in and are trying to sell pre-registrations on eBay for, in some cases, upwards of $2000.