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Coming off a slew of enthusiastic Steam Deck reviews, fans were getting excited about Valve’s new hardware. But a handful of reports from early adopters briefly poured cold water on that anticipation. The Steam Deck has analog-stick drifting issues — at least according to a number of posts on Reddit. But in the hours since those posts, Valve is claiming to have identified and eliminated a software bug that was causing the problem.
On Reddit, users like Hollandje demonstrated the analog stick continuing to receive input even after they let go. This looks a lot like the drifting problem that affects Nintendo Switch and the gamepads for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
But this is no longer a problem, according to Valve designer Lawrence Yang. Valve claims the issue was a bug in its firmware. This glitch caused a “deadzone regression” that apparently operates like stick drift.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Steam Deck is drift free. All analog sticks fail over time, and some launch busted — just like a display with a stuck pixel. But even in that case, the good news is that the Deck’s sticks are very easy to replace. You might not want to fix them yourself. That is understandable. But you can take them to a local repair center and get the device back quickly as long as they have the right components.
The bigger story here is that it is easy to give into FUD and hype in the early days of new hardware. If you’re sensitive at all to either, then you should tune out. It’s going to take time for the Steam Deck scene to gather enough data to know the real truth about this device. So sit back and don’t fear the worst from every negative headline.