The most important part of any game or gaming hardware is being able to play it with the included controllers. The Nintendo Switch may have a serious problem in this regard as the left JoyCon controller is disconnecting during game sessions.
Multiple game outlets are reporting connection issues with the Switch's left JoyCon. Issues range from controller disconnecting and desycning from the device to noticeable input lag and latency issues, possibly indicating a hardware fault.
"During one part we do bring up two technical issues I have with the Switch, which I'm really hoping are just isolated to our console. One is with the battery not charging all the way even when it's docked, and the other with some issues of input lag in rare cases when the Joy-Con are detached from the console itself." -- What's Up Games
"The biggest current issue with the Switch is one of basic reliability. Over the course of my time with Breath of the Wild, I've had repeated problems with the left Joy-Con controller partially or even completely losing sync from the Switch console while docked and connected to my television. This is a pain in the ass at best, but has also resulted in several deaths playing Breath of the Wild." -- Polygon
"As far as potential concerns, we have experienced one problem with our unit, however: the left Joy-Con, specifically, seems to struggle to remain consistently connected (or to transmit/receive reliably) from outside of a roughly six foot radius of the console itself. We have tried all of the typical remedial steps to rectify the problem (unpairing/repairing, powering on/off, etc.) to no avail. We're quite sure it's actually a defective Joy-Con, however, as the right Joy-Con literally has no problems, ever." -- Digital Chumps
To understand what might be happening we have to take a look at the controller itself. The left JoyCon has a screenshot button and an accelerometer/gyroscope,--it lacks the home button, motion IR and NFC sensor the right-hand JoyCon has. The JoyCon controllers connect via Bluetooth 3.0 and have a 512mAh battery that lasts up to 20 hours of play.
Both the faulty battery or the actual controller could be the culprit.
But it could also be a distance problem.
How far a Bluetooth device can extend before disconnecting depends on its power class.
There are three Bluetooth power classes with varying operating ranges: Class 1's range is 100m (300 feet) but draws the most power, Class 2 has a range of 10m (30 feet) and a lower range of power draw of 2.5mW (4dBm), and Class 3 has a miniscule 1m (3 feet) range with the lowest power draw of 1mW (0dBm).
Given the Nintendo Switch JoyCon controllers take 3.5 hours to recharge a 525mAh battery, it's safe to assume the Bluetooth power class is probably Class 2. This means the JoyCons may have a operating range of 30 feet, which is certainly ideal for most homes.
Class / Maximum Power / Operating Range
- Class 1 - 100mW (20dBm) 100 meters
- Class 2 - 2.5mW (4dBm) 10 meters
- Class 3 - 1mW (0dBm) 1 meter
These issues could also be caused by interference.
Bluetooth 3.0 devices are notorious for not playing friendly with USB 3.0 devices. When these two devices are close to one another latency issues and disconnections can occur--basically the exact same issues these outlets are reporting.
"USB 3.0 devices naturally use cables, however the cables and the devices connected at each end generate electrical noise over a range of radio frequencies. Unfortunately the range of frequencies USB 3.0 is allowed to use conflicts with the specific frequency Bluetooth devices all use. This means that any USB 3.0 port, cable or USB 3.0 device can emit radio frequencies that may cause interference with any Bluetooth devices you using in your computer."
Bluetooth devices connect over a 2.4GHz frequency, so if other devices use that same frequency--like Wi-Fi routers--interference can occur.
And, of course, it could just be a faulty JoyCon controller. The left JoyCon may have a faulty Bluetooth 3.0 ratio or a bad battery that loses charge, however the outlets don't seem to reporting the latter.
But I'm wondering if this has something to do with the JoyCons not receiving power. The left JoyCon issue occurs when the controller is slotted into the stock JoyCon Grip and used to play games. The included JoyCon Grip does not have an internal battery that charges the attached JoyCon controllers.
Perhaps this has something to do with the disconnection issues, however I'm not exactly sure how this would affect anything.
In order to determine the exact culprit we'd have to check it out for ourselves. But hopefully this article will help provide perspective to those affected and maybe they can try using the devices in different environments to determine exactly what's happening.
Nintendo needs to jump in and issue a statement here pretty soon. The JoyCon controllers are incredibly important to the Switch's success to say the least.
The Nintendo Switch console relies on two detachable and combine-able JoyCons as its included controller peripheral; to get a more traditional hands-on style controller you'll have to grab an $80 Switch Pro controller. Most people probably won't buy a Pro controller and rely on the JoyCon Grip, so it's absolutely imperative the device works 100% of the time.
In any case, the Nintendo Switch launches in just 8 days on March 3, 2017 for $299. Check below for a massive catalog of info.
Everything we know about the Nintendo Switch:
- Nintendo Switch runs cool, about 37C under load
- Nintendo Switch has 25.9 GB available memory, OS is 4GB
- Nintendo Switch may use 4GB LPDDR4 1600MHz RAM
- Early Nintendo Switch consoles were actually stolen
- Nintendo won't make you rebuy eShop games on the Switch
- Nintendo Switch 480p downscale hint at Gamecube VC games
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a playground of fun
- Satoru Iwata put lots of effort into the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch supports wireless Bluetooth headsets
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild has $20 season pass
- Nintendo Switch uses 20nm Maxwell Tegra SoC
- Nintendo Switch easy for devs, light years past Wii U
- Hitman dev may be working on new IP for Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch could get Wii U game remasters
- 3DS supported alongside Switch 'for the time being'
- Devs can 'easily' port PC games to the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch JoyCons have 525mAh lithium ion battery
- Nintendo Switch is the gamer's dream, says Hideo Kojima
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild is about doing things your way
- Nintendo Switch has over 100 games in development
- Nintendo Switch paid online service only costs $26 a year
- Nintendo Switch appeals to Japanese smartphone gamers
- New Zelda is based on three words 'climb, live, protect'
- EA: Nintendo listening to third-party Switch game devs
- First footage of Nintendo Switch's touchscreen in action
- Nintendo Switch games lineup: a visual guide
- Nintendo Switch replaces Wii U on Nintendo homesite
- Nintendo Switch battery life analysis
- Resident Evil 7 isn't coming to Nintendo Switch
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Hyrule is bigger than Skyrim
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an awesome physics engine
- Switch's 4310mAh battery takes 3 hours to fully recharge
- Could the Nintendo Switch's hit full potential and boost CPU/GPU power via NVIDIA's cloud servers
- Nintendo Switch will have 'steady pacing of content'
- Switch is all about 'playing games anywhere with anyone'
- Nintendo Switch will have 'steady pacing of content'
- Putting Nintendo Switch launch games into perspective
- Stock Nintendo Switch JoyConGrip won't recharge JoyCons
- The new Zelda game takes up nearly half Switch's storage
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild runs at 900p 30FPS docked, 720p 30FPS undocked
- Nintendo Switch supports 2TB Micro SDXC cards
- Nintendo Switch online chat requires smartphone app
- Here's why Nintendo Switch doesn't come with any games
- Nintendo will soon charging gamers to play online multiplayer via subscription service
- Nintendo Switch UI revealed, let's take a closer look
- Nintendo Switch touchscreen has haptic feedback tech
- Nintendo stock drops after Switch unveil event
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- Nintendo Switch hardware specs revealed
- Nintendo Switch costs $299, coming March 3
- Nintendo Switch battery life is 2.5 hours to 6 hours
- New Mario: Odyssey game won't be Nintendo Switch launch title
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Switch launch game
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