Valve has confirmed that they are working to ensure that the Steam Deck will not have thumbstick drift.
In recent years, one of the major points of contention regarding new hardware releases has been the possibility of stick drift and how it can be combated. Therefore, when valve announced the Steam Deck, the possibility of stick drift was widely discussed. In an interview with IGN, Valve spoke on the matter, reassuring potential customers that they are confident that the Steam Deck will not suffer from thumbstick drift.
When speaking with IGN, Yazan Aldehayyat - a Valve hardware engineer - stated, "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." He continued, "I think we feel that this will perform really well. And I think people will be super happy with it. I think that it's going to be a great buy. I mean, obviously every part will fail at some point, but we think people will be very satisfied and happy with this."
Steam Deck designer John Ikeda also spoke on the creation of the device, stating:
"We purposely picked something that we knew the performance of, right? 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."
This confirmation comes on the back of Nintendo refusing to confirm whether the new Nintendo Switch (OLED Model) will have implemented a fix for Joy-Con drift (an infamous issue for switch consoles). When questioned by The Verge, Nintendo stated:
“The Joy-Con controller configuration and functionality did not change with Nintendo Switch (OLED model). The configuration and functionally is the same as that of the Joy-con controllers for the Nintendo Switch console.”
This response indicates that the current issues regarding switch controller drift may not be changing in the updated model.
Thumbstick drift can be caused by a multitude of reasons, including dust particles getting in the way of the electrical current, wear and tear and manufacturing errors. As a result, the controller can register movement where there is none and can ruin the gameplay experience for the user.