Nintendo finally has a solution to fixing dreaded Joy-Con drift by way of a staggeringly cheap repairs service.
The new Nintendo Switch repair service, known as Wide Care (opens in new tab), covers the consoles as well as the infamously finicky Joy-Con controllers. The controllers, packed in with new Switch systems, have landed Nintendo in hot water before. That's largely due to their relatively poor build quality and 'stick drift' that erroneously registers movement in the analog sticks, even if they aren't being touched.
Unfortunately, the Wide Care service is only available in Japan at present. But it's nothing but good news when it comes to the price of the service. A yearly subscription to Wide Care costs just 2,000 yen. That works out to around $15 / £12 / AU$22 per year.
Subscribers are covered by up to six repairs per year, with a total repair cost limit of 100,000 yen (that's roughly $738 / £609 / AU$1,074). Accidental damages are covered, as are natural breakdowns from wear and tear, and damage from the elements.
I don't want to get your hopes up about Wide Care coming to the West anytime soon, though. A Nintendo spokesperson told TechRadar: "This service is available only in Japan. We have nothing to announce regarding the development of similar services outside Japan."
No room for doubt here, I think Wide Care is an awesome service. At surface level, it's not really any different to purchasing extra warranty. But Wide Care becomes especially appealing thanks to its absurdly low subscription cost. And it would be even better if Nintendo was able to launch the service worldwide.
The Nintendo Switch is a superb console, but one that's unfortunately plagued by Joy-Con issues. So much so, that I've long preferred the excellent Nintendo Switch Pro Controller owing to its excellent build quality and long-lasting battery life.
But I know that's not an option for many players. Some prefer the compact nature of the Joy-Con, and their aptitude for no-fuss couch co-op sessions. Others still, understandably, aren't necessarily willing to shell out extra cash for the Pro controller.
Nintendo's Wide Care would address this by giving Joy-Con users much-needed peace of mind. Being able to easily replace controllers through Nintendo, and not a third party, will hopefully go a long way to alleviate issues like stick drift. So long as the replacements aren't also faulty, of course.
But maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. It's not unreasonable to think that the cost of Wide Care could increase in territories outside of Japan. With supply issues still ongoing, a higher subscription cost might be needed to offset the demand a service like Wide Care would create.
And if that cost of subscription ends up being more comparable to just buying a new pair of Joy-Con controllers (or a Nintendo Switch console) outright, then I can see why Nintendo may keep Wide Care exclusive to Japan. That would be a shame, as the service is undoubtedly a valuable asset.