I’ve been a big fan of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller since its release; I love the big face buttons and stellar battery life, and Nintendo absolutely nailed the ergonomics. The fact that it has asymmetrical analog sticks is also another big win in my book.
However, after almost five years, the Switch Pro controller is starting to feel visibly outdated, and it’s time Nintendo gave its first pad a makeover.
The Switch Pro Controller undoubtedly has its issues, some of which have been around since launch, while others have surfaced over the years. And given that the Switch Pro controller’s list price is still $69.99 / £59.99 / AU$99.95 (although you can often get it for less), it’s also starting to look unnecessarily expensive. for what you get.
So what can Nintendo do to fix it?
Attach the D-pad
The biggest issue I have with the Switch Pro Controller is its finicky D-Pad. It has been unreliable since day one, to the point where I tend to avoid using it altogether if I can.
Play Tetris 99 using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller’s D-Pad and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll end up dropping a Tetronimo you didn’t want, resulting in early elimination and screams of frustration. And that’s because the Pro controller’s D-Pad has a bad habit of erroneously registering horizontal inputs as vertical inputs.
Considering Nintendo has a history of churning out nearly flawless D-Pads over the years (not counting the microscopic one on the GameCube controller), the Switch Pro Controller’s borked directional pad is truly an outlier for the company.
The dodgy D-Pad problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the Joy-Con controllers also lack a dedicated D-Pad, meaning you’re at the mercy of Nintendo’s Pro Controller if that’s your favorite way to play.
A revamped D-Pad would go a long way to making Nintendo’s Pro Controller feel worthy of its professional moniker, and it’s long overdue at this point.
Add a headphone jack
It’s also quite disconcerting that the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller still doesn’t have a headphone jack. Even when it launched in 2016, it seemed like a strange omission on Nintendo’s part, especially since Sony’s DualShock 4 gave us this feature in 2013, and Microsoft quickly updated its Xbox One controller. original to offer the same functionality in 2015.
Seven years later, the lack of a headphone jack on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller seems like a huge oversight, and it really needs to be addressed. I rarely play games using just my TV speakers, but it’s still the only option on the Switch unless you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones – and Nintendo has only added Bluetooth connectivity to the Switch than last year.
Considering the Switch itself has a headphone jack, there’s no reason Nintendo couldn’t stick a 3.5mm port on its controller now.
Improve HD rumble
Sony’s DualSense controller has proven that haptic feedback can really dazzle; but as the old saying goes, “Nintendo did it first”.
HD Rumble is a criminally underutilized part of the Nintendo Switch, with even Nintendo not using it effectively in its first-party titles. In fact, the last time HD Rumble really wowed was in 1-2-Switch, which also feels like when Nintendo ditched the technology.
HR Rumble may not be as advanced as Sony’s haptics, but I’m sure Nintendo could add a new and improved HD Rumble to its Pro Controller, which currently feels like you’re holding a vibrating Nokia 3310 when he growls. ‘.
Add analog triggers
Wouldn’t it be great if Nintendo ditched the digital triggers on the Nintendo Switch Pro controller and added analog ones, like on the controllers from Microsoft and Sony? Yes Yes.
If you’re not clear on the difference between the two, digital triggers basically act like a button: you press it and it registers an input. Analog triggers, on the other hand, offer more fidelity and work more like an accelerator pedal on a car – they can register different levels of input depending on how far you press a trigger, giving players more granular control in racing games, for example.
Having analog triggers on the Pro Controller would make racing games so much more satisfying to play on Switch, and would benefit future titles like Mario Kart 9. For now, we’re forced to hold down a button to operate the cars vroom.
If Nintendo implemented these four modest changes, it would significantly improve its feeling of fatigue pad. We’ve seen Nintendo refine the Switch itself with the Switch OLED with great success, so hopefully Nintendo gives its Pro Controller some long-awaited love and attention sooner rather than later.