Nintendo just admitted its new game console has a problem: 'We are in a fact-finding mode'

The brand new Nintendo Switch hybrid game console is finally available, alongside a much-anticipated new “Legend of Zelda” game. And, for the most part, early adopters are happy with the Switch.

Nintendo SwitchNintendoThese two people are in an ad for the Nintendo Switch, so they’re being paid to be excited. Imagine most owners looking happy like this, but genuinely.

But this is a brand-new piece of consumer electronics we’re talking about here — there are bound to be problems. 

Indeed, problems began showing up pretty much immediately. Some folks cited screen issues, from dead pixels to major visual malfunctions, but those seem to be relatively isolated.

Far more widespread is an issue some folks are encountering with the Switch’s gamepads, the so-called “Joy-Con” controllers. These guys:

Nintendo Switch (Joy-Con)NintendoThere are only two gamepads here, just shown from every conceivable angle. Each Joy-Con attaches to the side of the Switch tablet, turning it into a portable game console.

Specifically, the left Joy-Con has issues staying connected to the Switch. It disconnects mid-game occasionally, which can cause major problems in whatever game you’re playing. If you’re fighting a boss in the new “Zelda” game, for instance, and the controller disconnects mid-fight, you could conceivably lose the fight because of that disconnection. And that’s tremendously frustrating!

This seems to be a problem with the controller’s Bluetooth connection to the Switch console. The issue specifically pertains to people using the Switch as a home console — the Switch is 8-10 feet away, and has a hard time maintaining a strong Bluetooth connection to the left Joy-Con controller.

Nintendo SwitchNintendoThe left and right Joy-Con connect to the Nintendo Switch Grip, which turns them into a unified, traditional-style gamepad.

Though Nintendo previously acknowledged the issue through a bizarre message on its support page, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime offered a more specific acknowledgement of the problem in a recent interview with Time:

“We are aware of and have seen some of the reports. We’re asking consumers a lot of questions. That’s why we want to get consumers on our help line, so we can get as much information to understand the situation as possible. And so we are in a fact-finding mode, to really understand the situation and the scenarios. And with that information, we’ll look and see what the next steps are.”

That’s the first direct recognition of the issue from Nintendo since the console launched on March 3. 

But reviewers were reporting on the issue ahead of the console’s launch, even, as seen in the video below from popular YouTube gaming channel GameXplain:

So, what’s next for Nintendo’s Joy-Con issue? A recall, perhaps? That’s not clear.

Nintendo says the issue with the left Joy-Con isn’t as widespread as it may seem: “The number [of Joy-Con replacement or repair requests received] is not significant, and is consistent with what we’ve seen for any new hardware we have launched,” a company rep told Time.

That said, the issue doesn’t seem to be one of some Joy-Con controllers having issues, so much as all Joy-Con controllers having a relatively weak Bluetooth connection to the Switch console from afar. It’s still early days for the Switch, and this is assuredly far from the last time we’ll hear about the Joy-Con issue. Stay tuned!

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