Nintendo released its new Switch console on March 3. In the weeks since, the web has buzzed with complaints about connectivity problems with the left Joy-Con controller, which can be used as half of a traditional gamepad or as a standalone controller when you have a hankering for multiplayer action.
We noticed these connectivity problems with our own Switch. Obstructing the connection between the Joy-Con and the Switch led to input lag, repeated commands, or a total lack of response. Wiggling our foot or placing our hand in our lap was still enough to cause problems with the controller-- and that was after we followed Nintendo's advice to move the Switch away from other wireless devices and put the console in front of our TV instead of behind it.
Nintendo responded to these complaints with the following statement. We first spotted the statement in a Forbes article, but we confirmed with Nintendo that it's accurate and legitimate:
At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we want our consumers to have a positive experience. It is common with any new innovative consumer technology for consumers to have questions, and Nintendo Switch is no exception. There are no widespread technical problems, and all issues are being handled promptly, including the reports regarding the left Joy-Con Bluetooth connection. To best support our customers, we continuously update the online consumer support site and provide real-time answers to the questions we are receiving. We want our consumers to get up and running quickly to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we encourage them to contact Nintendo’s Consumer Service team. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit: http://support.nintendo.com.
The company also said that "the total number of repair or replacement requests for Nintendo Switch, including for Joy-Con, is consistent with what we’ve seen for any new hardware Nintendo has launched." That provides some useful perspective--it shows that the Switch's launch problems don't stand out when compared to the console's predecessors--but without hard figures it's impossible to figure out how widespread these problems actually are.
Online echo chambers also make it hard to gauge the Switch launch. Many people who purchased the console and haven't experienced any problems aren't going to seek out messaging boards to report their findings. Instead, the consumers who do encounter hardware defects are going to be the ones who start clacking away at their keyboards, usually with the hope of figuring out how they can address whatever issue they've found in their newest toy.
Not that reported Joy-Con issues have held the Switch's launch back. Retailers still can't keep the device in stock--Target restricts sales to its physical stores, Amazon offers the console only from third-party sellers, and Walmart's online store doesn't have the Switch, either. Anecdotally, our local Best Buy had signs at its entrance apologizing to prospective shoppers for not having the Switch in stock.
You can learn more about the Switch in our hands-on with the console. We've also covered the device's current lack of a Virtual Console for access to old games, Nintendo embracing downloadable content with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the Switch's official specs.