After close to a month of discussion regarding problems with the Nintendo Switch’s JoyCon controllers, the company behind the console has finally addressed the issue head-on. According to Nintendo, the left JoyCon sync issue is a result of a “manufacturing variation,” and has since been addressed on the production level.
What’s more, according to Nintendo, the variation has been fixed and all future Nintendo Switch consoles should be without the sync issue. That’s good news considering Nintendo is looking to double production on the Switch to meet the very high demand.
Obviously, the statement from Nintendo will do little to ease the frustrations of current Nintendo Switch owners, but it likely makes the console more enticing to those that were on the fence. Many tech enthusiasts like to wait until the major hardware kinks are worked out before buying a new product, and in this case that kink was the left JoyCon losing synchronization with the Switch console. With it gone, the only potential problems are dead pixels, one unit failing altogether, and some scratching on the bezel of the handheld unit.
To Nintendo’s credit, the company tried to offer solutions to the sync problem, but those were merely workarounds. Having to move wireless devices or sit closer to the TV were not simple solutions, and in some cases they defeated the appeal of the Switch. A seamless transition from handheld mode to TV mode is what makes Switch so unique, but having to stop and make sure the TV mode works correctly hurts that appeal.
Hardware breakdowns of the Switch showed that the left JoyCon wasn’t manufactured the same way as the right JoyCon, but Nintendo did its best to try to defer any blame. Some may argue that the company is doing the same with its official statement (read below), but that’s a different matter.
"There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway. A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level.
"We have determined a simple fix can be made to any affected Joy-Con to improve connectivity.
"There are other reasons consumers may be experiencing wireless interference. We are asking consumers to contact our customer support team so we can help them determine if a repair is necessary. If it is, consumers can send their controller directly to Nintendo for the adjustment, free of charge, with an anticipated quick return of less than a week. Repair timing may vary by region. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit http://support.nintendo.com."
Now that the issue is officially addressed and hopefully gone for good, it will be interesting to see how things play out in the coming months. No doubt early Switch adopters will want to send their consoles in to fix the manufacturing error, but as the statement explains, Nintendo does not guarantee a fix will happen. If the company won’t acknowledge that dead pixels on the Switch screen are a defect, then it’s hard to imagine it would be willing to fix millions of consoles.
However, that doesn’t mean all hope is loss; there will be plenty who send in their console and come away with an improved JoyCon. Unfortunately, fixing that problem means putting a piece of foam in the controller, not replacing the device altogether.