The Nintendo Switch might not have gained a perfect score, but reception has mostly been positive. The most glaring problem, perhaps, is the connectivity issue that plagued some Joy-con controllers. Nintendo has so far demonstrated it skills at downplaying the problem but it might silently already have a fix ready, as well as new Joy-con SKUs. And apparently, that fix is nothing but sticking in a small piece of metal-coated foam to reduce interference from outside forces.
While Bluetooth hasn’t exactly been the most stable or reliable of wireless connections, the Joy-con’s dropping connections go beyond being a nuisance. They are a nightmare for gamers. Nintendo has been consistent denying any fault on its part. It has even pointed the blame at other wireless devices nearby, some of which have become common place in modern living spaces, even aquariums. But while Nintendo continues to look noncommital to the problem, CNET’s Sean Hollister discovered that the gaming giant actually knows exactly what’s going on. It even has a temporary fix for it!
Sending in his wayward Joy-con for repairs, Hollister received a replacement controller in no time flat. Curiosity got the better of him and he opened up the “fixed” Joy-con to see what has changed. To his surprise and amusement, he discovered that the only thing that has changed was a small piece of conductive foam added to the lower right corner of the Joy-con. This foam, treated with some conductive metal, is used to lessen the interference of external radio signals on the Joy-con’s own antenna. When Hollister removed the foam, the controller stopped working as expected.
When pressed, Nintendo of America did concede that there was a “manufacturing variation” that caused the connection issues but that it only affected a small number of controllers. Such variation was already addressed and new Joy-cons, which are already populating retailers, no longer exhibit the behavior. Manufacturing defect that affects only a small, perhaps insignificant, faction of the otherwise satisfied owners. Somehow, we’ve heard of that excuse before.