Xbox Drift Class Action Case Leads to Arbitration

The Xbox controller drift issue is being negotiated out of court.

A lawsuit for controller drift in the Xbox One’s Elite controller is currently under arbitration, which means it will be settled out of court. The case was originally filed in April 2020 by the law firm Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (CSK & D). Drift occurs when the controls become worn with use and the joystick is locked in a “drift” position.

The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft is “fully aware of the lack of drift after numerous online complaints from its customers, but has not disclosed the defect and routinely refuses to repair the controller free of charge if the defect manifests itself.”

Since filing, players who experienced the drift have come forward and Microsoft has urged an impartial judge to settle the case. The company previously alleged plaintiffs “agreed to their service agreement,” which states that all disputes should be resolved this way when they first signed up for Xbox Live or when they purchased and used their controllers.

Photo by Lalesh Aldarwish from Pexels

“The avid Xbox gamers filing this lawsuit have Microsoft repeatedly agreed to submit their disputes to consumer-friendly, individual arbitration,” the Microsoft attorney wrote in court documents. “The court should therefore force the plaintiffs into arbitration in which they can reject their arguments regarding scope, unconsciousness and rejection.”

The attorneys continued, “Since ‘the Services’ includes Xbox Live, the online service for Xbox games, any dispute over Xbox gameplay is arbitrary. Here plaintiffs have Xbox Live gamertags, and their claims focus on alleging alleged controller defects preventing “accurate gameplay”. A referee could easily conclude that this dispute is about gameplay. Finally, it makes no difference that the full terms of the arbitration agreement have only been published online, with a detailed summary in the controller product manual. The product manuals in the controller boxes summarized the terms of the arbitration, and the URL on both the boxes and the manuals led directly to the warranty page, not a general home page. “

CSK&D partner Benjamin Johns announced that this is likely the “end of the road” but that his company will continue to fight to ensure that every affected player receives an appropriate payout.

Nintendo has faced similar litigation related to drifting the Switch’s Joy-Con controller since 2019. The litigation shows that even after the controllers have been repaired and Nintendo paid for these services, the problem remains evident. A case filed by player Luz Sanchez in Washington was previously subject to arbitration.

“Within a year,” the plaintiff alleged, “the drift became so pronounced that the controllers for general use in gameplay were no longer functional. The defendant continues to market and sell the products with full knowledge of the defect and without disclosing the Joy -Con drift defect. ” to consumers in marketing, sales promotion or packaging. The defendant had a financial motive to hide the defect as it did not want to stop selling the products and / or had to spend a significant amount of money to fix the defect. “


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