The Joy-Con are the primary game controllers for Nintendo's Nintendo Switch video game console. They consist of two individual units, each containing an analog stick and an array of buttons. They can be used while attached to the main Nintendo Switch console unit, or detached and used wirelessly; when detached, a pair of Joy-Con can be used by a single player, or divided between two as individual controllers.
Detached grey Joy-Con.
|Developer||Nintendo Platform Technology Development|
|Product family||Nintendo Switch|
|Type||Video game controller|
|Camera||Infrared depth sensor (R only)|
|Power||Internal 3.7 V, 525 mAh, 1.9 Wh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)|
Joy-Con are distributed in pairs, designated as "Joy-Con L" and "Joy-Con R" respectively. They each measure 35.9 by 102 by 13.9 millimetres (1.41 in × 4.02 in × 0.55 in), and the Joy-Con L and R weigh 49 grams (1.7 oz) and 52.1 grams (1.84 oz), respectively. When measured from the top of the analog stick to the tip of the ZL/ZR trigger it has an extreme depth of 28.4 millimetres (1.12 in).
Joy-Con can be attached to the sides of the Switch console via rails, or detached and used wirelessly—either as a pair (comparable to a Wii Remote and Nunchuk), or divided between two different players. Up to 8 Joy-Con can connect to a single Switch Console at a time. The Joy-Con can be optionally attached to a "Joy-Con Grip" accessory, with or without charging capabilities, that convert the controllers to a more traditional gamepad-like form factor.
When detached from the console, both Joy-Con units operate autonomously of each other, and communicate with the console via Bluetooth. Wrist strap attachments are provided, which are similarly installed by sliding them onto the controllers' rails. The strap attachments have a rounded shape and raised shoulder buttons to improve the ergonomics of the Joy-Con when used individually.
Joy-Con contain non-removable 3.7 volt 525 mAh 1.9 watt hour lithium-ion polymer batteries; they are charged when attached to a Switch Console that itself is charging. A separate "charging grip" accessory allows the controllers to be charged in a gamepad configuration via USB-C. Nintendo released a Joy-Con AA battery pack attachment on June 16, 2017, with it sliding onto the Joy-Con similarly to the wrist strap attachments.
Colors and variationsEdit
Joy-Con can be obtained in various colors, either with the purchase of the Switch console, or individually, both separately or as a pair. At launch, Joy-Con were available in slate gray, neon red R and neon blue L colors. Black Joy-Con are also issued with Switch development kits. In mid-2017, Nintendo introduced neon yellow Joy-Con, releasing alongside Arms as well as neon green and neon pink Joy-Con which launched alongside Splatoon 2. A pair of red Joy-Con were released as part of the Super Mario Odyssey bundle, except in Japan where they are available standalone, which was released in October 2017. An exclusive Nintendo Labo Joy-Con design, light brown in color, was released in 2018. It was exclusively available to winners of the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest. In July 2018, Hori, a video game peripheral company, released a dark blue left Joy-Con featuring a classic D-Pad in lieu of directional buttons. The controller lacked features such as HD rumble, SL and SR buttons, gyroscope, and wireless connectivity standard to previously released Joy-Con, forcing its use to be restricted to handheld mode. This was notably the first officially licensed Joy-Con to be released by a third-party company. Two more officially licensed D-Pad variants featuring The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey themes were later released by Hori in September 2018. Joy-Con colors based on Eevee's color scheme and Pikachu's color scheme were released alongside Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! on November 16, 2018, as part of the Pokémon: Let’s Go! Switch bundles, and a fourth D-Pad Joy-Con variant featuring a Pikachu theme was released by Hori on the same day to complement the games. Gray Joy-Con variants featuring a silver Smash Bros. cross logo became available for pre-order alongside Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on November 2, 2018, and were later released on December 7, 2018, as part of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch bundle. In July 2019, Nintendo announced that the neon purple and neon orange Joy-Con will be released on October 10, 2019, as well as the blue and neon yellow Joy-Con.
In December 2018, Nintendo also released two Joy-Con variants with designs resembling classic Nintendo NES and Nintendo Famicom controllers, available exclusively to individuals with an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription. The Famicom variants were additionally only locally available to Switch Online members in Japan. These variants were designed to be used specifically with the library of classic Nintendo titles available through the Nintendo Switch Online service, as well as with select modern Switch titles. Both are notable for heavily deviating from the normal Joy-Con design, instead being taller and more rectangular in shape, having fewer buttons than standard Joy-Con, and, in the case of the Famicom variants, featuring a working microphone in the right controller.
|Super Mario Red|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|
|Disney Tsum Tsum Left|
|Disney Tsum Tsum Right|
The feature set of the Joy-Con was partially inspired by feedback from players using the Wii Remote, according to Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi. After releasing games that heavily used the Wii Remote with the Wii, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit, players had asked for different design features, such as having a smaller form factor, or being able to be strapped to a part of the body. Nintendo envisioned what benefits towards innovative design and gameplay could come from a smaller form factor, which led to the idea of a console that could be portable, controlled through these smaller controllers. This became the fundamental principle of the Switch, and directly into the Joy-Con design.
Both controllers contain a clickable analog stick, four face buttons, two top buttons, two side buttons accessible when detached (which become shoulder buttons when held horizontally) and designated as SL and SR, a + or - button, a sync button, and player indicator lights. Joy-Con L contains directional buttons, a - button, top buttons designated as L and ZL, and a screenshot button, which enables the player to upload screenshots to social media. In an update released in October, 18th, 2017, the screenshot button is also able to record up to 30 seconds of gameplay in select games. Joy-Con R contains A, B, X, and Y buttons, a + button, top buttons designated as R and ZR, and a Home button.
Each Joy-Con contains an accelerometer and gyroscope, which can be used for motion tracking. Games can support using the Joy-Con for pointing controls similar to the Wii Remote while detached without the need of a sensor bar. Joy-Con R contains an infrared depth tracking sensor, which can read objects and motions held in front of it; as an example of its functionality, Nintendo stated that the sensor could distinguish between the hand shapes of rock–paper–scissors. Joy-Con R also contains a near-field communication reader for use with Amiibo.
The Joy-Con contain a haptic feedback engine known as "HD Rumble", which was developed in partnership with Immersion Corporation. Nintendo stated that the system could generate fine tactile feedback, such as the sensation of individual ice cubes and water in a glass.
It was discovered shortly after public release that Joy-Con can connect to and be used with other Bluetooth-enabled personal computers and mobile devices.
Prior to the public release of Nintendo Switch, various video gaming websites reported that the controllers—most commonly the Joy-Con L—were susceptible to connection losses when used wirelessly. It was initially unknown whether these problems were the result of an interference issue, or caused by the pre-launch software on review units. A Nintendo spokesperson stated to Polygon that the company would "continue to monitor the performance of Nintendo Switch hardware and software, and make improvements when necessary". The company posted guidance on its support website for minimizing Bluetooth signal interference, including recommendations that the Switch console be placed away from other wireless-enabled devices. On March 22, 2017, Nintendo confirmed that the interference issues were caused by a "manufacturing variant" in a small number of Joy-Con from early production runs, and that the company would allow owners to send in their affected Joy-Con for repairs free-of-charge.
On launch, it was reported that the wrist strap attachments for the Joy-Con were hard to detach from the controllers. It was also reported that a wrist strap could easily be attached to the Joy-Con incorrectly and become difficult to remove.
One of the more common issues to be found with the Joy-Con is joystick drift. This issue only occurs when dust or other small particles come in contact with the internal sensors of the analog stick. The most commonly used remedies for this issue is compressed air or contact cleaner, which can be blasted underneath the rubber skirt of the joystick in hopes of removing any foreign particles that may be present. Nintendo repairs this issue for free if under warranty, but the cost of repair for an out of warranty Joy-Con could be over $40 according to many reports on the topic. The high price of repair leads many to buy an entirely new Joy-Con as they only cost slightly more than a repair, a single being $49.99 and a set of two $79.99. In response to increased complaints and potential legal action for the drift issue, Nintendo stated that they were aware of the frequent reports, but did not offer immediate advice outside of contacting their technical support lines.
In August 2017, Los Angeles-based tablet peripheral manufacturer Gamevice filed a lawsuit against Nintendo in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the design of the Joy-Con controllers conflicts with its patent on the design for the Wikipad, an Android-based gaming device that also features a tablet with a detachable controller. The lawsuit sought damages on existing Switch sales and banning further sales of the console. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by Gamevice on October 23, 2017.
However, in March 2018, Gamevice initiated a second patent infringement lawsuit on Nintendo related to a different set of patents. Gamevice also sought action through the United States International Trade Commission related to patent infringement under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, and was seeking to block imports of the Switch into the United States.
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in July 2019 over the Joy-Con drift issue. The suit alleges that Nintendo is well aware of the defect but does not "disclose the defect and routinely refuses to repair the joysticks without charge".
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