When the Nintendo Switch launched earlier this month, one of the most widely reported issues was connection trouble with the console’s left Joy-Con controller. Many players, us included, were finding that when playing the console in its TV mode, the left Joy-Con controller would occasionally drop its connection and stop working completely.
For a time Nintendo was simply advising players not to place anything between themselves and the console, or play near wireless devices or aquariums while it looked into the issue. Now it seems Nintendo has discovered it is indeed a hardware issue, as well as how to fix it.
CNET’s Sean Hollister has reported (opens in new tab)that after experiencing the well-documented connection issues he sent his faulty Joy-Con back to Nintendo who fixed it for free within the week.
Hollister took photos of his controller before and after Nintendo fixed the controller, and although doing this hasn’t told us what exactly is causing the connection problem, it is telling us how Nintendo is solving it.
There are no big changes to the fixed Joy-Con, no new chips or boards – Nintendo has simply fitted a small square of conductive foam above the controller’s antenna to shield it from RF interference.
To make sure this was indeed the fix, Hollister removed the foam Nintendo had added from the controller and found it stopped working again.
If you have a faulty controller, then, it seems it would be advisable to contact Nintendo’s customer service and get it sent off for repair.
If you’ve not bought the console yet but you’re planning to soon, you may not have to worry about the problem at all. Hollister also purchased a new left Joy-Con from Amazon and found that it worked perfectly out of the box.
When he opened the controller he found that though it didn’t have the same foam fix as the one Nintendo returned to him, it did have a different circuit board number.
Though it’s pure speculation, this change makes it seem likely that Nintendo has perhaps already changed its manufacturing process so that new controllers won’t face the same issue.
Nintendo hasn’t confirmed whether or not this is the case, instead stating “There are no widespread technical problems, and all issues are being handled promptly, including the reports regarding the left Joy-Con Bluetooth connection.”
If you’re dealing with connection problems yourself, it’s always worth phoning Nintendo’s customer service on +1 (800) 255-3700 in the US, +44 (0)345 60 50 247 in the UK, or 0800 743 056 in Australia.