Some Steam Deck users are reportedly suffering from stick drift

Valve might not have eliminated stick drift in the Steam Deck, as users report problems just days after launch. Fortunately, there's a fix.

Steam Deck under a red light

02/03/2022 Valve has released a patch, fixing stick drift on the Steam Deck

A controller can pack many buttons, be as comfortable humanly possible, and look stylish to boot, but it’s all for naught if it suffers from dreaded stick drift. Despite Valve assuring customers that it’s doing everything it can to avoid thumbsticks wandering without the input of their user, some Steam Deck owners are reportedly experiencing stick drift just days after launch.

At least three posts have landed on Reddit, all showcasing the right analogue stick’s input moving with a mind of its own. Stijnnl’s cursor drifts downwards in Civilization 6, and while Hollandje uses the Steam Deck’s own controller input test to visualise the problem, they confirm it also affected their gameplay after “light use”. Specifically, Hollandje tells me it only interferes when the “right joystick is set to mouse input in games like Worms Revolution,” and not necessarily when using the default controller settings.

Currently, Valve doesn’t make it easy to calibrate your Steam Deck controller in handheld mode, but the Reddit users found a fix by heading into desktop mode and using Big Picture in Steam’s desktop app.

If you’re suffering from the same issues, here’s how you can set a deadzone for your analogue stick on the Steam Deck:

  • Hold the power button
  • Select ‘switch to desktop’
  • Boot the Steam app
  • Click on Big Picture mode in the top right, next to minimise
  • Click the cog to head into settings
  • Navigate to the Controller Settings menu
  • Click on the Steam Controller at the bottom of the list
  • Select Calibrate
  • Adjust the deadzone of your affected stick using the sliders

It’s currently difficult to tell just how prevalent the problem is, especially when our Steam Deck review found the joysticks pretty reliable. Fortunately, Valve seems to be investigating the issue after asking those affected a series of questions. We’ve reached out for comment and will report back if we hear anything.

Update: Valve has completed its investigations into the issue and released a patch to fix stick drift on the Steam Deck.