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Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons seem to be having issues on pre-release hardware (update)

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This is going to be something to watch for on launch day

Joy con
The left Joy-Con in action
James Bareham/Vox Media

The versatile Joy-Con controllers are one of the bigger selling points for the Nintendo Switch, but issues with the pre-release controllers being played on un-patched Nintendo Switch consoles seem to be more common than we would like.

Here’s the odd thing: It seems to be almost exclusively happening to the left Joy-Con.

“The biggest current issue with the Switch is one of basic reliability,” Polygon’s pre-review stated. “Over the course of my time with Breath of the Wild, I’ve had repeated problems with the left Joy-Con controller partially or even completely losing sync from the Switch console while docked and connected to my television. This is a pain in the ass at best, but has also resulted in several deaths playing Breath of the Wild.”

With only a limited number of systems being played by the press it’s a bit concerning how common we’re seeing this particular issue.

Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann has been able to replicate the issue, linking a YouTube video from GameXplain that convincingly details the problem.

IGN’s Jose Otero also found himself struggling with the input lag:

NintendoWorldReport’s Neal Ronaghan had the issue both standalone and while attached to the Grip:

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier confirmed that he’s struggled with the left Joy-Con specifically as well:

The issue isn’t universal; some are reporting no issues when playing their Switch, and our own hardware in Polygon’s New York office has not suffered from this issue. But the problem does seem to be popping up relatively often. Here’s SIFTD’s Shane Satterfield:

The Joy-Cons from either side of the Switch can be used as standalone controllers for two-player games, but the left and right Joy-Con are not exactly the same hardware. You can buy each side individually, they’re oriented to be connected to the system in a specific way and the right Joy-Con includes the hardware for amiibo use as well as the IR camera that can sense the distance from your hand. Here’s Retronauts’ Jeremy Parish:

It’s also very possible we’re seeing a firmware issue that will be fixed with Nintendo’s day one patch, and this won’t be a problem for anyone except the members of the press who are playing right now or players who for some reason won’t be able to download the patch on launch day.

Our advice? Keep an eye out for controller issues if you’re planning on buying the Switch, but we wouldn’t start getting worried until units that have been patched share the same behavior.

We reached out to comment to a Nintendo rep, who said they are looking into the issue.

Update: We’ve added a handful of additional examples, including the video from GameXplain.


Watch: Nintendo Switch unboxing and impressions