Nintendo Says JoyCon Wireless Issues Were Caused By ‘Manufacturing Variation’

Nintendo Says JoyCon Wireless Issues Were Caused By ‘Manufacturing Variation’

If you, like me and several other Kotaku staff, have run into a consistent left Switch JoyCon signal issue, don’t worry: Nintendo says it isn’t in fact a hardware problem, but a “manufacturing variation”. The company also says to contact them for a fix if you’re running into the problem.

Here’s Nintendo of America’s full statement to Kotaku:

There is no design issue with the Joy-Con controllers, and no widespread proactive repair or replacement effort is underway. A manufacturing variation has resulted in wireless interference with a small number of the left Joy-Con. Moving forward this will not be an issue, as the manufacturing variation has been addressed and corrected at the factory level.

We have determined a simple fix can be made to any affected Joy-Con to improve connectivity.

There are other reasons consumers may be experiencing wireless interference. We are asking consumers to contact our customer support team so we can help them determine if a repair is necessary. If it is, consumers can send their controller directly to Nintendo for the adjustment, free of charge, with an anticipated quick return of less than a week. Repair timing may vary by region. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit

A CNET report suggests that Nintendo’s fix is to stick a tiny piece of conductive foam in the left JoyCon, so feel free to try that yourself if you’re feeling adventurous. Otherwise, hit up Nintendo, and make sure you know it’s clear that this isn’t a design issue but a manufacturing variation.


  • ((Sorry for the double post, I keep forgetting about the edit bug here))

    “The Switch doesn’t have design issues. It is the most well designed console of all time.”

    Jokes aside, Nintendo is not doing itself any favours. While it is a given that new console releases have teething issues the Switch is showing issues that should have been caught early on. And even then, trying to no use the term “hardware issue” is more a show of contempt rather than finding out what went wrong.

    • They are just doing it to avoid a recall. If they admitted that the hardware was flawed by bad design they’d have to offer free returns on all units purchased from launch. At least in Australia we can just go to the retailer for a replacement or refund. Technically they have the option to repair it, but I’ve never seen that happen.

      • Pretty sure it’s not bad design. There was something that def went wrong with the manufacturing. There is no way they did not notice this during the stupid amount of QA that would have gone into the system alone, not to mention all the game playtesting.

        • On the contrary, I think it would be very easy not to notice it. Apparently it only appears when the controller is out of line of sight or there is significant interference from other sources. Even if it was noticed, it may have been considered an acceptable flaw. I’ve had the same problem with 2 separate PS4 units and 4 separate Dualshock 4 controllers. It’s just the way it’s designed – the signal from the controller is subject to interference.

          • Several of the 1 2 Switch games require pretty precise measurements of they joycon in 3D space like the safe cracking game. I still can’t believe no one ever noticed this if it was in fact a design issue. The fact that there are so many people with nothing wrong also leads me to believe it was a manufacturing error.

  • My controllers definitely have this issue, if I even so much as lean back on the couch, the Joycon refuses to work so I have to play leaning forward all the time and make sure I don’t accidentally put my finger in front of the controller.

    • I have about 80cm worth of wriggle room from the dock, and if I put a piece of cardboard between the J-con and console it drops out too. definitely one of these people.

    • My PS4 has this issue. Funnily enough, my PS3 has no such issues and is sitting right next to the PS4. Must be differences in the hardware used in the controller or the receiver in the main unit.

  • Any time I bring any of these issues up around my friends (hardcore fans), I get told it’s fine and isn’t a problem. GGWP Nintendo. You could release a brick and your fanbase would say its the best thing since the last console.

    • Don’t get that either, from reading around it seems a lot of people don’t have any problems while using the joycons but some of them can still reproduce the issue if they go out of their way to. I don’t buy it’s a variation i think it’s widespread in the design it’s just the problem affects some people while others play in a way/environment that it doesn’t cause an issue. Either way at least they are fixing it and hopefully the new batches they release will have the fix too.

      • I’ve been smashing mine in every possible location and controller variation, not once have i had Joycon issues, not a single of my friends have had issues either so its obviously not as wide spread as people like to believe.
        I’ve not even been able to replicate the issues on purpose.

        The idea of manufacturing variation is actually a pretty good explanation if something is off even marginally in the manufacturer process for say the occasional batch of devices that would account for some people having issues and others not.

        • “Me and my friends” isn’t anywhere near a big enough sample for you to conclude that it’s not widespread. “Variation” is also PR-speak for defect – because of a problem in the manufacturing process, a certain percentage of controllers are defective.

          • Says you, by that same token the the vocal minority of people on social media aren’t what i’d call a big enough sample for me to count it as widespread either, given half the complaints ive read are people saying ” I dont own one but this is a real issue” and “I’m glad i didn’t buy one until this issue was fixed”.

            Every manufactured item in existence has potential for defect due to any of millions of unknown possibilities, so while it may be PR talk, as i said its probably the most likely cause.
            And the fact that Nintendo have come out and said, yes we found an issue with some devices heres how we plan to fix it, i dont see the problem

          • How many friends do you have that own a Switch? I’d be willing to bet that there are more actual complaints of signal problems on social media than you have friends who haven’t experienced the problem.

          • How many people own a switch VS how many are complaining? id be willing to bet there are far less actual signal problems than complaints on social media.

          • (reposted because of the edit/moderation bug)

            That’s not what I asked, and you’ll note I said “actual complaints” above, specifically to exclude what you’re describing. You’re arguing that your group of friends is enough of a sample to determine accuracy. The number of people in your sample vs the number of people in the public sample is the relevant comparison.

    • It isn’t a problem if you don’t have the issues, I don’t have them.

      Good they are offering a fix.

    • I think you can test it on the main menu under the options for stick calibration. Move the stick around in a circle, then put your hand in front of the left joycon or put it behind your back and try again and if it’s not moving in a perfect circle and breaking up all the time then you’ve got the issue.

      Here’s a video

  • So I personally haven’t noticed the issue but I always play BotW with a Pro Controller when I’m in TV mode anyway but just for curiosity I tried this out with my 3 joy-cons last night in the main menu.

    I was about 3.5-4 meters from the console and I was able to replicate the issue with my red and grey joycons by completely covering them with my hands however I could not replicate with my blue joycon in any combination that I tried.

    I wonder if the foam would really help in this case because it’s to stop interference but I might get in touch with Nintendo either way. Has anyone here had any experience with Nintendo Australia abou this issue?

  • Just called Nintendo and it’s pretty straightforward, provide your serial number and a few details and they send an email with a form to fill out and an Australia Post slip that covers the cost of shipping and so on. 5-10 business days and shouldn’t cost anything aside from packaging as long as you haven’t been tampering with the thing.

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