Valve has done "a ton" to avoid stick drift, increase reliability on Steam Deck

A mockup image from marketing material for the Steam Deck handheld PC, depicting the inner workings of a thumbstick.
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve's Steam Deck, the handheld gaming PC which debuted this week, has had a lot of attention when it comes to hardware, but the inevitably question of anything with a thumbstick these days is: When will the sticks start to drift?

Hopefully no time soon, says Valve, in an interview with IGN.

"We've done a ton of testing on reliability," said Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat in regards to the Steam Deck's inputs as a whole. Aldehayyat later said that "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."

John Ikeda, a designer on the Steam Deck, also said that Valve picked Steam Deck hardware with well-known performance records. "We didn't want to take a risk on that, right?" he said. "As I'm sure our customers don't want us to take a risk on that either."

With manufacturers like Sony under threat of lawsuits regarding the drift issues on the PS5 DualSense controller, and Nintendo plagued by stick drift issues on the Switch since it released, it makes sense that reliability is on the radar of hardware engineers designing a game console.

For more on Valve's new hardware, check out everything we know about the Steam Deck including specs, price, and more. Or go deeper and read this brief history of Valve's dalliances with hardware.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.