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Steam Deck stick drift is a software problem, and a fix has already rolled out

Steam Deck with battery life remaining overlay on the screen
(Image credit: Future)
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Recently, Steam Deck users started reporting a worrying problem with their brand new units: stick drift. It's an issue that has plagued the Nintendo Switch, and to a lesser extent Xbox and PlayStation controllers, and manifests as a slight drift of the analog sticks while gaming. That can be a huge problem in most games, but especially where precision is necessary, like for example, in Elden Ring.

While a handful of problem cases is hardly evidence of a widespread problem, several posts on Reddit confirmed that drift is happening, specifically on the right stick. This video is pretty conclusive. But thankfully, Valve has confirmed that though it is a widespread problem, it's an easily fixable one. Even better, a firmware update has already rolled out to fix it.

Valve UX designer Lawrence Yang confirmed on Twitter that the problem should now be addressed. "The team has looked into the reported issues and it turns out it was a deadzone regression from a recent firmware update," Yang tweeted. "We just shipped a fix to address the bug, so make sure you're up to date." A reddit user also posted a Valve support response that said much the same thing.  

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Whether the Steam Deck would suffer stick drift or not was a big question in the lead up to launch. Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck's control inputs aren't easily replaceable, meaning if your stick starts drifting, you're kind of stuffed. "We've done a ton of testing on reliability," Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat said back in July. "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." 

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.