Switch Owners Report Hardware Problems, Though It’s Tough To Tell How Many

Switch Owners Report Hardware Problems, Though It’s Tough To Tell How Many

With every new console launch comes a suite of hardware issues, and the Switch is no exception. People who bought Nintendo’s hybrid console say they’re running into all sorts of problems, ranging from big (crashes) to small (dead pixels).

There’s no way to tell just how many Switch users have received malfunctioning consoles. We reached out to Nintendo yesterday to see if they have a sense of the scale here, and they haven’t gotten back to us yet. But we’ve seen a large number of reports from people who say their sleek new $469.95 system is causing them all sorts of grief.

YouTube videos like this one, compiling all of the hardware problems, have gone mega-viral:

Here’s a small sampling of the issues we’ve seen reported, although again, it’s very difficult to tell what’s present in a few dozen systems and what’s present in a few thousand.

  • Left JoyCon connectivity problems. This is the most common, and it’s one that many of us on Team Kotaku have run into. The solution, of course, is to stay away from aquariums. (Or buy a Pro controller.)
  • System crashes
  • Unreasonably loud noises
  • Dead pixels (which you should cherish IMO)
  • Overheating
  • Terrible Wi-Fi signal
  • JoyCon wrist straps getting stuck (although this may be a design issue rather than a hardware failure)
  • Screen flickering
  • Screen getting scratched by the dock, which has apparently been pulled from Nintendo’s store.

Tell us Kotaku readers who just bought Switches: Is yours working properly? Have you run into any of the problems listed here? Have you encountered entirely different problems? And does Zelda make up for all this?


  • Don’t forget also, people are report Breath of the Wild is having frame rate drops on the Switch. Quite frankly, I would expect issues like that on a PC I built ten years ago, not in a launch title on a new console. I’m hoping for a hardware refresh before I get one.

    • It has momentary drops around the edge of loading zones, weirdly only in docked mode, but for the vast majority of the game it rarely steps down from a locked 30 and has perfect frame pacing.

      Plenty of games on the other consoles have far less stable framerates, and some of the best ps4 games have consistently shit frame pacing, which I find far more egregious.

      • Far out, really? I’ve never owned a PS4 so I had no idea. I still think that’s pretty ridiculous though.

      • Agreed, but have you been to where the master sword is holy korok does is dip to a distracting rate

      • Yeah, I’m only having frame rate issue while docked. if its a noticeably lush area with alot of foliage the moves in the wind I’ll usually play it in handheld mode to avoid the drop.

    • It’s completely unnoticeable (coming from someone who generally games on 1080p with a GTX 1070).

      What isn’t unnoticeable is the damn left joycon dropping out with it’s in docked mode.

      Regardless – BOTW is incredible. Every bit as good as The Witcher 3.

  • Not a single issue here except the joy con strap things are a bit stiff to remove the one time I did it.
    Pro controller on the couch with Zelda on the TV. First session was with the grip and no control issues there or with 1 2 Switch and the family.

    • Well metal on plastic the tabs that hold it will wear quite quickly as you attach and detach the joycons.

    • Indeed, Ninty’s policy of dead pixels are not a problem is also a concern. My first DS had a stuck pixel but fortunately the store I purchased it from accepted a return. I’ve been lucky since but its a worry every time I get a new Ninty system.

      • A lot of companies list dead pixels as standard though but still offer returns. If nintendo stop offering returns i’d be concerned but right now people are reporting they’ve had nintendo replace systems plus stores have been doing it too.

      • But like, every other manufacturer has the same policy. Sony, Dell, Apple, Asus… They all vary in specifics, but they’re all non-zero tolerances.

        You can still get the products replaced up-front, I’ve swapped a couple of things over the last fifteen years.

        And it’s not like every switch is full of dead pixels and everyone’s screwed. My friends and I have four between us and they’re all error free (zelda loading screens are good for pixel hunting).

        • Not quite true. Dell only have a zero policy on their ultrasharp series. All other monitors have varying amounts depending on type (e.g. monitor vs laptop screen) and whether it’s a bright/stuck or dead pixel.

          Sony are worse. They have 2 bright/stuck and 8 dark pixel policy. Unless there are adjacent pixels.

          Lucky for us retailers don’t usually know this and are happy to swap.

      • Return it to the store instead. They won’t have a weird pixel warranty, they’ll just take it back.

  • The joy con things only get stuck if you put them on the wrong way.. Which can happen. If you put them in the correct way they slide off really easily. In saying that last night I took my switch out of its bag after a flight, plugged it into the power and it wouldn’t run 4 ages. 3 hard resets and eventually had to plug it into the dock for it to work

    • If there’s an issue with them getting stuck, though, surely they could have designed it so that they would only go in the right way?

      • Yes. It’s as if they never tried it when the first one came out of the production line. It’s unbelievable how many silly things they missed.

        It gets stuck even if you put it in correctly. A kid would certainly have trouble getting it back out.

        The finger thing in the video happened to me. It’s really hard to get a grip on both devices, press the little notch and also pull really really hard.

        For instance, if you try to play with it in hand and charge at the same time, the fan in the system whirs like you are holding an overclocked GTX 480. Which means the device is being detected as docked while it’s charging or someone forgot to turn the Fan down in that specific mode.

    • No, they are super hard to take of correctly as well. I was reading on another site and everyone in the comments was meantioning it. Yes, I am sure they were on correctly, it’s not hard to see.

      • Maybe just in comparison I find it easy. If you put them on backwards my god you need to use the jaws of life to get them off. If you put them on wrong its just a hard tug. Which I have expereince with.

  • No problems here, though I’ve found I can replicate the left Joy-Con issue if I take it a few metres away from the console and hold it completely behind my back. Not a problem in normal play.

  • I have a feeling that in 12-24 months Nintendo will be releasing a “New Nintendo Switch”. Same CPU but with a bunch of fixes (such as the ones mentioned above). I’m gonna just wait for that.

    • Other consoles have had slight revisions without being a ‘new’ version, i would expect that in the next 12 months with increased left joycon strength and some fix to the dock.

  • Havent had any issues with mine. Have been playing it in bed every night and docked with a pro controller during the day

  • No absolutely major issues here, only concern is that my left joy con seems to disconnect maybe once an hour (only for a few seconds) when I’m playing at my partners house, but as a hand held it is absolutely perfect.

  • I haven’t had any issues thus far. Need to see some concrete figures – as with any new piece of hardware, there’s a tendency for the issues to get a little blown out of proportion. The internet loves to go ‘LOL, LOOK THE NEW THING IS SHIT WE TOLD YOU SO LOLOLOL’

    Regardless, it’s crappy people are having issues, and I hope Ninty gets it sorted for people asap. Any persistent bad customer experience these days can be a real issue a company has to work hard to overcome the bad press on.

  • For me no issues right now, but i have barely had it for a week and only get to play it after work. So i haven’t really put it on its legs yet.

  • Mine flat out refuses to talk to my wireless network. It will talk to other networks, including my phone as a hotspot, but will not find my home network. Every other device in the house, including the WiiU, is having no issue with the wireless network. I have tried the Switch in about 8 different spots – no dice. Going to ring Nintendo this morning to see what they say, but it has meant that I have made virtually no progress in Zelda because if I have to replace the system I don’t want to lose hours of progress.

    • What’s your wireless security? I’ve seen some reports saying it doesn’t like WEP, and changing to WPA2 fixed it.

      • Cheers. I spoke to Nintendo today and they said a similar thing – apparently it doesn’t like WPA2-TKIP, so I have to change to WPA2-AES. As I am hopeless at this stuff I am ringing Optus when I get home to help me out (hopefully they’ll be more helpful than they were on saturday, when they were bloody useless). I’m just relieved it looks like I won’t have to swap consoles!

  • I’m yet to have any issues with the Switch, only time I’ve had left joycon issues is when I was trying to make it have issues.

  • I had HDMI audio bug out on me the first time I used the dock. An update and reboot fixed it, and no problems since.

  • I experienced a funny issue last night with the right joycon. My brother was playing the Switch but stopped playing when the right joycon just randomly stopped working. I had a look at it and while I was unsure at first, the issue was resolved by disconnecting the right joycon from the Switch, and then pressing the tiny, circular button to re-sync the controller.

    An easy fix, just weird that it dropped out like that to begin with.

    I’ve also noticed that the wi-fi is particularly crappy. I admit, where all my games are, the wi-fi isn’t great… but my phone, my partner’s phone and her laptop are still able to reach the wi-fi, the Switch however cannot.

    Other than that, I haven’t experienced any issues.

    As for the frame rate drops in Zelda, I’ve noticed some tiny frame rate drops but in all honesty, nothing worth complaining about. It’s not Batman: Arkham City PC launch bad.

    • so you have issues with yours, yet “haven’t experienced any issues”?

      thats a new kind of fault right there,,,

      take it back ASAP before its next year and you still havnt taken it back

      but that seems to be the logic here doesnt it

      sorry for roasting its not really directed at you but to the situation in general

      • If you read my comment, I said “Other than that, I haven’t experienced any issues”. This means that aside from the random (and at this stage, only happening one time) right joycon dropping out, and the crappy wi-fi, I haven’t experienced any other issues.

        Maybe I didn’t explain my comment properly.

        I’m going to try the wi-fi tonight and see what happens if I take the Switch and move it closer to the router. The room where my partner and I generally hang out for our gaming is far from the wi-fi. While our phones and my partner’s laptop can reach the wi-fi, it tends to drop out, so I’ll do some further investigation and try it from another room in the house.

  • The only thing that bothers me is I prefer to buy digital games these days. I don’t want unnecessary clutter filling up spare rooms. If I buy a switch and buy Zelda digitally, and my switch turns out to be faulty, I’ll have to re buy the game, won’t I?

    • worst-case scenario, Nintendo would be able to move things across for you, but usually you can do system transfers with Nintendo devices (haven’t tried with the Switch)

  • Ive had zero console issues on either of our Switches or joycon – everything has been perfect. Only issue I had (which seems to be fixed) was when using the pro controller – the left control stick would stop functioning and then going to Joycon would result in the right side Joycon getting stuck in a down right angle.

    Powered completely off with all the controllers attached today and restarted – been perfect since with both.

    All these reports are being blown way out of proportion – there is small issues because there has never been a console like this and will have a few teething issues to iron out. Feel like its just another option to bash Nintendo – because you know, doing that is cool.

    The OS is faster and smoother than Xbone and Ive had both a Xbone and Xbone S die on me – bad luck or is this common and not reported? (Doesn’t stop me loving those things to pieces).

    Overall the Switch has been amazing so far. Playing it all over the house docked and undocked – and my partner only plays undocked. Seriously can’t wait for more games and Splatoon 2/Mario kart for some fun online gaming.

  • left controller drops out alot when its in dock mode.
    framerate on zelda whilst in dock mode is appauling – whoever passed this during QA needs shooting.

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