Belgian consumer organization Testankoop has demanded Nintendo repair all Joy-Cons for free, and honor a two year warranty.
In case you missed our prior reports, the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons have issues with drifting–which is when the joystick remains untouched, yet input is still registered.
This resulted in a class action lawsuit by Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner, & Donaldson-Smith in July 2019. Reports suggest Nintendo even began repairing Joy-Cons for free mere days after the lawsuit became public knowledge.
The Nintendo Switch Lite was later added to the lawsuit, and the hardware failure causing the drift was exposed. Curiously, a Tencent representative (the distributor of the Nintendo Switch in China) told a customer that the drift was caused by playing an imported game.
In late December, 2019 we also reported how French consumer magazine 60 millions de consommateurs awarded Nintendo their “Golden Cactus” award (specifically the “Cactus of the Too Fragile Product”), which is given to products and services that cause the most frustration.
Now, Belgian consumer organization Testankoop (literally “Test Purchase”), have announced they have sent Nintendo a “notice of default.” Essentially, under European Law, all manufacturers must offer a two year warranty. Nintendo’s warranty was 12 months, in addition to charging for Joy-Con repairs, and only offering free repairs on a spotty and unofficial basis.
Testankoop states that “We ask Nintendo to communicate openly about this manufacturing defect and to repair or replace all devices free of charge. Know that as a consumer you are always entitled to enforce a two-year warranty from the seller.” (translation: Google translate) Nintendo is also reportedly considering extending their warranty from 12 months to 24.
To compound these issues, the coronavirus has had a major affect on several video game companies, and many other forms of business interacting with Asia.
Among them, Bloomberg (via Gamasutra) reported that the Nintendo Switch could suffer a shortage in the US. This was due to supply issues in China, which in turn would affect output in Nintendo’s factory in Vietnam. If so, the impact would be felt around April.
Nintendo themselves stated there had been no “major impact,” and that they did not foresee any shortages. However, they did state the situation may change if the cornavirus’ spread grows worse.
Combined with the fact a ruling in Belgium could quickly spread across all of the EU, and Nintendo may struggle to keep up with demand to repair all Joy-Cons. Hindrances to production could also harm research and development into a longer-lasting analog stick, at least until the effect on China’s production has been fully realized.
We will keep you informed as we learn more.