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A New Patent Aims to Fix Controller Drift Issues

One of the most visible problems related to video game controllers at the moment is the issue of joystick/controller drift, where a joystick will randomly jerk control away from the player. However, a new controller drift patent filed by Collective Minds Gaming might be on the way to fixing it, according to the patent’s description.

The invention may be used to correct for “drift” phenomenon of the actuator (e.g. a directional control stick) or to generate a scaled control signal indicative of a of a scaled displacement value of the actuator…

Drift is normally caused by certain components within a controller such as a potentiometer (used to position joysticks) or a bias spring becoming worn. This problem has proven to be endemic in many modern consoles, most notably in the Nintendo Switch, whose JoyCon controllers are constantly dealing with such a thing. The patent itself suggests a solution already used on other controllers, based on the same principles of haptic triggers.

drift patent

drift patent 2

Also, a stop member may be provided for limiting displacement of a directional control stick of the video game controller from a neutral position of the controls tick.

Haptic feedback has become a big selling point of more modern controllers, particularly haptic triggers that can change the way a gun fires, something that the Playstation 5’s DualSense controller also has. A new joystick drift patent has also been filed by Sony to counter its own drift issues. Collective Minds’ own patent seems to intend to assign a value to a control stick in the “neutral” position so that the controller knows when to make something not move in a direction, like so:

The controller is configured to generate a control signal encoding data indicative of a displacement value the actuator from a neutral position of the actuator.

Considering that Collective Minds has successfully filed their new joystick drift patent, it’s likely that it’s worked in testing, so hopefully various third-party controllers for consoles that come out in the future can make use of this same system to eventually eliminate drifting.