Stick drift is an unfortunate reality of controllers with analogue sticks over time, although it only got the appropriate amount of attention with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. But even the Joy-Cons drifting got into the news because it happened after a few months of use. But with the Steam Deck, we see this happening in a matter of days.
The Steam Deck subreddit sees one owner showing the right stick drifting when pushed downwards. Helping make this more visible is the Deck’s own controller input test screen. Rather than snapping back to the center, we can see the X and Y values continue to fluctuate at non-zero values. Another user reports the right stick drifting when pushed to the left, again with the help of the input test screen.
It’s one thing for analogue sticks to start drifting after a couple of years, or even some months. But it’s a bit much for the sticks to start drifting in the matter of days, even if it was used for 72 hours straight.
According to The Verge, Steam Deck member Lawrence Yang says that this is a deadzone calibration issue introduced in a recent firmware update. A fix for this has also been sent out.
If that doesn’t work, there’s the option to send it back for repairs, at least in places where you can get the Steam Deck officially. Or, if you know what you’re doing, you can get the appropriate parts and do it yourself. Just remember that Valve said that this is not a good idea.