QC luanches a Court case – Interestingly asking age and hours average usage reveals telling details as noted below
“As part of its fight against organised obsolescence, and after analysing Switch controllers in a laboratory test, the UFC-Que Choisir filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor today against Nintendo for programmed obsolescence. [Sept 2020]
After the UFC-Que Choisir denounced malfunctions affecting Switch controllers last November, more than 5,000 consumers contacted our association, in just 48 hours, to denounce the same recurring failure of the “Joy-Con Drift” affecting their Nintendo Switch controllers: the controller undergoes unexpected ghost movements, which prevent consumers from using their game console correctly.
Problems that persist despite Nintendo’s commitments :
In January 2020, following the intervention of our association, the CEO of Nintendo France undertook to repair the controllers without difficulty, even outside the warranty.
However, reports continued to come in to the association. The figures speak for themselves: 65% of consumer victims noticed this breakdown less than a year after purchasing the controllers. It appears regardless of the player’s profile or age, even when playing less than 5 hours a week. 25% of consumers even saw the breakdown occur within 6 months of purchase, despite the low level of use of the console.
Laboratory expertise needed:
Given the extent of the complaints, UFC-Que Choisir had an expert appraisal conducted on several defective levers, more or less recent, in order to analyse the origin of this breakdown.
The experts noted that Nintendo made changes to the design of its controllers a few months ago, but not to the problem that caused the failures. While Nintendo was informed of this malfunction, the Japanese giant chose not to intervene on the components subject to this failure.
Indeed, in all the samples analysed, the experts are unanimous. Two causes are (more than likely) at the origin of the breakdown:
– Premature wear and tear of the printed circuits;
– A sealing defect which leads to a worrying quantity of debris and dust within the joystick, the origin of which appears to be both internal and external.
Nintendo’s inertia in the face of this malfunction:
The apologies of Nintendo’s CEO, pronounced last July, have therefore not been translated into concrete terms. The company continues to sell controllers that are destined to break down before the end of the first year of use, with full knowledge of the facts.
The nature of the failure, the frequency with which it appears to players, the limited lifespan of these products, and Nintendo’s inertia despite being informed of the malfunction… are all characteristics that indicate that Nintendo is engaging in a practice of programmed obsolescence.
Exchanging or repairing products, which have a non-negligible probability of breaking down again within a year, can only be a temporary remedy. As the malfunction has been known for 3 years, it is essential that the Japanese giant now follows a curative rather than a corrective scenario.
As Nintendo celebrates the 35th anniversary of its mythical character “Mario”, it is important to remember that the expertise acquired over these years must be put at the service of consumers. It would be ironic to note that the father of the famous plumber was unable to fix a problem with the watertightness of his controllers… Determined that Nintendo should review the manufacture of its controllers to avoid the almost systematic occurrence of this breakdown, the UFC-Que Choisir is therefore lodging a complaint today with the Public Prosecutor of Nanterre.
In the meantime, the UFC-Que Choisir invites consumers to contact Nintendo’s after-sales service to obtain free repair of their defective controllers. A step-by-step guide is available on our website quechoisir.org. The UFC-Que Choisir provides consumers with a form that allows them to report a refusal to accept the free repair of controllers.
More generally, to help the UFC-Que Choisir in its fight against organised obsolescence, our association calls on consumers to report their appliances that have become worn out too quickly via its “breakdown observatory”.
So they actually hired experts to check out the controllers ! Amazing what you can do with 160,000 subscribers money.
As a very family-centric device I do agree it is one worth fighting on. I wonder what over consumer bodies have done in Europe.