The Nintendo Switch is exactly what Nintendo needed right now. After the company’s Wii U was a dismal flop, Nintendo did some soul-searching that led the company in two different directions. First, Nintendo finally accepted the fact that it has no choice but to address the smartphone market, at least to some extent. Results have been mixed so far — Super Mario Run’s time at the top was short-lived, but Niantic’s Pokemon Go continues to be a phenomenon — but we can expect plenty more from Nintendo in the coming years. But the second thing Nintendo did was go back to the drawing board when developing its next-generation video game console.
With the Wii U, Nintendo found a fresh new way to approach console gaming, allowing users to quickly and easily switch between gaming on the big screen and portable play. The system isn’t without its faults, however, and Nintendo recently issued a formal response to one of the biggest problems facing Switch owners. Now, the company has finally figured out how to fix it, and we’ll show you exactly how the fix works in this post.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell: Nintendo’s design for at least some wireless Joy-Con controllers is badly flawed. Many gamers have found that the left portion of the Joy-Con regularly “desyncs” while playing, and becomes unresponsive. After a period of time — sometimes a brief moment, sometimes up to 5 or 6 seconds — the controller reconnects and gameplay can resume. It’s a very annoying problem, and Nintendo responded with the following statement:
At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we want our consumers to have a positive experience. It is common with any new innovative consumer technology for consumers to have questions, and Nintendo Switch is no exception. There are no widespread technical problems, and all issues are being handled promptly, including the reports regarding the left Joy-Con Bluetooth connection. To best support our customers, we continuously update the online consumer support site and provide real-time answers to the questions we are receiving. We want our consumers to get up and running quickly to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we encourage them to contact Nintendo’s Consumer Service team. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit: http://support.nintendo.com.
The phrase “there are no widespread technical problems” has been called into question now, because it is crystal clear that Nintendo is well aware of a technical problem with the Joy-Con controllers. How do we know? Because as CNET reported in a recent post, Nintendo now knows exactly how to fix it.
Long story short, it looks like there is an issue with the design of the wireless radio inside the left Joy-Con controller. While the exact nature of the problem is not yet known, it results in connectivity issues caused by interference. The good news is that Nintendo seems to know exactly what the problem is, and it is now able to fix it somewhat quickly.
What’s the fix? A tiny foam cube.
As you can see in photos posted on CNET, Nintendo’s fix for the connectivity issue is a tiny piece of conductive foam placed above a portion of the Joy-Con’s antenna. This specially treated foam helps shield the antenna from interference from other radio signals in the air, which helps the controller maintain its Bluetooth connection with the Switch. It’s not exactly an elegant fix, but it does appear to solve the problem. What’s more, it confirms that a hardware design flaw is indeed responsible for the Joy-Con desync issue Switch owners have been experiencing.