Nintendo Switch Launch Issues

Oh boy…

Not every console or handheld launches smoothly and it looks like the Switch has got its own handful of hardware issues.

(The following video contains some mature language)

So if you hadn’t heard, the Nintendo Switch launched March 3rd to much excitement. The consoles are currently sold out everywhere and most people are enjoying their Switch and probably spending hours on end exploring the vast land of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

However, not all is well as there’s been an increasing number of reports regarding the Switch’s hardware issues. Let’s go over a few of the more common issues.

Left Joy-Con Losing Connection – This is probably the first issue people heard about prior to the Switch’s launch. Some of those who were lucky enough to receive early Switch consoles reported the left Joy-Con having connection issues, mainly pertaining to the analog stick. When playing Zelda for example, some would be controlling Link, when all of a sudden, Link would stop responding to analog movements or get locked in the direction the analog stick was pointed in last. It seems like very basic things can disrupt the connection between controller and console like your hand or body. So when playing, make sure that you’re close to the console and nothing is in your way.

Wrist Strap Getting Stuck – The Joy-Cons come with wrist straps out of the box. These straps not only keep your controller tethered to your wrist for safety, but they also make the SL and SR buttons easier to press. It’s easy to put them on, but also easy to make a mistake; and gods help you if you make that mistake. When sliding the wrist strap onto the Joy-Con, it’s important that you line the +/- icons on the wrist strap with the matching +/- icons on the Joy-Con. Now say you accidentally slid the wrist strap on the wrong way. Well, guess what? You’re screwed. That thing ain’t coming off anytime soon. Yes, the wrist strap will get stuck and very difficult to pull off if put on the wrong way. This probably wouldn’t be an issue if the wrist strap wasn’t so easy to put on incorrectly. They seem to slide into place just as easily the wrong way as they are the right way; it’s getting them off that will prove to be a challenge.

The Dock Scratches Your Screen – The Dock that comes with the Switch is used to seamlessly “switch” (haha) the display from the console to your TV. It’s expected that people will be sliding the Switch in and out of the Dock frequently since it is a device marketed as a home console and handheld. Just make sure to be gentle with it, because it’s been reported that the Dock can scratch the Switch screen. The Dock is mostly plastic and that includes the inside of it. There are two plastic panels on the inside that can easily scrape against the Switch screen if not careful. Luckily it’s on the sides of the screen rather than the display itself, but any kind of scratch on a screen can drive someone like me nuts. It’s sounding like a screen protector is a must for Switch owners.

Major Internal Hardware Issues – So, as seen in the video at the start of this article, the Switch has also been having some pretty serious issues internally. Such as the Switch not loading past the “Nintendo” screen, the Switch not reading game cartridges, the Switch randomly crashing and creating ear piercing screeches, the Switch screen flickering and/or having bars struck across the screen, the Switch causing games like Zelda to have some serious graphical glitches, the Switch having dead pixels, and the now infamous blue or orange screen of death; the former being completely unsolvable and calls for a system replacement. All really bad stuff.


Word on these issues have been making their rounds on the internet and becoming widespread. However, to be fair, it’s very possible that these issues are just a vocal minority. Based on general feedback, most people seem to be enjoying their Switches and aren’t experiencing these issues. It’s expected that out of the 2 million Switch units Nintendo plans on shipping in March that there will be a few dead-on-arrivals.

That being said, the more external issues regarding the Switch and its accessories’ general design is another thing. Stuff like the Dock and wrist strap issues are things Nintendo should look into especially, as it affects all Switch owners. Whether you’re careful or not, it’s still something to be mindful of for the Switch. It has been reported though that the Dock has been pulled from the official Nintendo store. Hopefully this is a sign that Nintendo has heard the complaints and are working on a fix for the Dock so it won’t scratch your screen and maybe they’ll even address other issues as well.

So if you’re like me and couldn’t get a Switch at launch, don’t feel too bad. With any luck, by the time you do get one, Nintendo will have fixed these issues. Here’s hoping.

Stephan Phelps

A gamer through and through. Lover of all kinds of games with an especially soft spot for Nintendo.

Favorite game: EarthBound

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PAX South 2018