Gulp

Plenty of us are already enjoying our brand new Nintendo Switch consoles but reports that Joy-Cons are randomly disconnecting have sullied the experience for some. We'd held out hope that this issue could be solved via a software update but Ars Technica is now offering the opinion that the problem is related to hardware.

The site points to YouTube hacker Spawn Wave's teardown of the Joy-Con controller, and the fact that the left and right Joy-Cons have entirely different internal layouts. That alone isn't a shock - the right-hand Joy-Con has extra features, such as the NFC reader and the IR sensor - but what is interesting is that Nintendo doesn't seem to have done a very effective job of locating the left-hand controller's Bluetooth antenna.

While the right-hand Joy-Con has a dedicated Bluetooth antenna connected to the main circuit board via a wire, the left Joy-Con's antenna is built directly into the circuit board itself and runs up the top outside edge - right next to where the controller usually rests in your hand. This alone could be the potential cause of those disconnections, but Spawn Wave also notes that the antenna is sitting alongside a piece of metal, which may result in additional interference.

To put his theory to the test, Spawn Wave solders a piece of wire to the Joy-Con's Bluetooth chip. The controller works without issue from a distance of 30 feet, while the right-hand Joy-Con (the one that doesn't have the fault) dropped connection at 20 feet.

While this is far from being conclusive proof, it does seem quite plausible that the issues with the left Joy-Con are related to hardware rather than software, given that the internals of both controllers are quite different. Assuming this is indeed the cause, where it leaves Nintendo is anyone's guess; a redesign of the controller is certainly in order and the company may also be forced to offer an exchange service for left-hand Joy-Cons.

What do you make of these findings? Do you think the tests prove the issue is hardware-related, or are you holding out for a software fix?

Thanks to SLIGEACH_EIRE for the tip.

[via arstechnica.com]