Nintendo Finally Responds To Switch's Joy-Con Issues

Nintendo's Switch console made its way to consumers today. We have one in house, and already, we can confirm that the Joy-Con controllers have connectivity problems. Our left Joy-Con, specifically, frequently and consistently delays or drops the connection to the Switch console.

This isn't an unknown problem. Several reviewers complained about this issue, and the general consensus was that people with large hands might obstruct the signal, but otherwise the Joy-Con was hunky-dory. It's not. Nintendo finally acknowledged the problem today with an article on its support website, advising consumers with faulty Joy-Con controllers to limit potential sources of interference. That list of problem devices includes:

Cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.Wireless headsetsWireless printersMicrowavesWireless speakersCordless phonesUSB 3.0-compatible devices such as hard drives, thumb drives, LAN adapters, etc.

Nintendo advises Switch owners to move those devices three to four feet away from the console. If that doesn't work, the company asked its customers to "please power these devices off while using the Nintendo Switch console" if the problem persists, which is about as useful as having a doctor tell you to stop moving your arm if your elbow's making a weird clicking noise. But that's not all; Nintendo also said to make sure the Switch is not:

Behind a TVNear an aquariumPlaced in or under a metal objectPressed against a large amount of wires and cordsWithin three to four feet of another wireless device, such as a wireless speaker or a wireless access point.

That's already proven to be a problem for us. Using the Switch in TV mode requires putting the device in a dock, and the easiest place to put that dock is behind the TV to which it's connected. The alternative would be to either place it horizontally, which is worrisome because the inside of the dock isn't padded to protect the console's display, or to find somewhere else on the entertainment center to put the device. There simply isn't any room for that.

Even if there were, the Switch is probably not going to be anyone's only console. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been out for years. Combine those with set-top boxes, wireless routers, speakers, and the like, and it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Joy-Con and the Switch will be in perfect harmony. And that's assuming Nintendo's explanation for the problem is accurate--a few tests with our console raise questions about that.

Our Joy-Con controller doesn't experience problems all the time. Issues occur only when a specific part of the controller is touched. Moving closer to the Switch, or providing line-of-sight between the two instead of allowing the TV to sit in between them, does not alleviate this problem. Avoiding the particular spot on the Joy-Con requires holding the controller in an uncomfortable position that many people (including us) won't naturally assume.

It's good to see Nintendo respond to the Joy-Con problem, but the response itself feels a lot like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' admonishment that people experiencing cellular network problems with the iPhone 4 were just holding the device wrong. Switch itself is promising, but the Joy-Con issue somewhat mars the experience, and Nintendo's unwillingness to admit fault raises serious questions about the company's respect for its customers.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • ern88
    So it sounds to me like the joy con's are IR Wireless and not Bluetooth
  • turkey3_scratch
    So is the joycon charged separately or something? Like when you're not playing on the TV but are playing with the portable screen, how does the joycon receive power?
  • atavax
    Do these solutions seem not credible for a lot of users? Yes. But it sounds like you're living in an echo chamber with comments like "the Switch is probably not going to be anyone's only console" and "Combine those with set-top boxes, wireless routers, speakers, and the like, and it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Joy-Con and the Switch will be in perfect harmony."

    I'm sorry, but not everyone can afford multiple consoles of the same gen and actually in my experience a lot of PC gamers don't buy non nintendo consoles, simply because the other brand consoles overlap with PC gaming too much.

    millenials are the cable cutters and the cable nevers, lack of a tv box is common. I'm not aware of any reason to have the wireless router right next to the TV. Wireless speakers are a luxury most people don't have, and i am not aware of a reason to keep a wireless router right next to the TV.
  • targetdrone
    So not only does the Switch require a day one SD card upgrade but you also need to invest heavily in Tin Foil to keep unwanted signals out of your gaming room.
  • dstarr3
    Early adopters = beta testers
  • Emanuel Elmo
    So $300 for a device that you can not put anywhere you want and must keep out of the way of any wireless source. Oh and if your hands are too big... good luck with that.

    btw... the knew about this... Yea... I'll stick with PS4... I can put that anywhere I want and not have an issue... Did i mention the PS4 is also 300 bucks.

    It is a shame. There is no time like the present to rip people off of their hard earned money.
  • Emanuel Elmo
    19378068 said:
    Early adopters = beta testers

    it is a shame it has come to that. It sure is early adopters=beta testers.

    I guess the good old days of company QC'ing the crap out of there product is long gone.
  • hoofhearted
    You're holding it wrong.
  • Warsaw
    Disappointing to hear about initial problems with the switch. Have real high hopes for the console and looking forward to get one, just unfortunate that it launched with these issues.
  • Argent6978
    I don't know what you people are talking about. I've been using my Switch just fine with no interference problems. The dock sits right between my PlayStation 4 and a DirecTV box. I also always either use the joy con grip to put the controllers in, or if I feel like relaxing my arms more, I put the wrist strap connections on the joy cons. I had heard of the connection issue before I got my Switch and was concerned, but now I don't see any big issue with it at all.