Be careful with that...

Update: Nintendo has responded to our appeal for a statement on this matter:

After checking in with the European team we can confirm that we haven’t received a notable number of consumer inquiries on this topic, but as with all our products, we encourage users who experience any issues to visit for assistance from our Customer Service team.

Original story: The Switch has been with us for over a year now, and during that time it has been lavished with praise for its versatility, portability and superb software - and rightly so.

However, no piece of gaming hardware is totally perfect and Switch has also endured its fair share of less positive press; one early issue was that some Switch units suffered from scratched screens due the console's dock, while other users reported warped consoles due the high levels of heat generated by the system. Fast forward to the present, and we've got another potential hardware headache on our hands.

Upon booting up one of our launch day Switch consoles at Nintendo Life Towers recently, we discovered several cracks along the top edge of the device - mainly located around the vent and the area around the headphone socket.

We take pride in the fact that we look after our consoles here at Nintendo Life and had taken special care with this particular unit from day one, so we decided to ask on Twitter if anyone else had experienced the same problem, just to make sure we weren't at fault ourselves - after all, portable consoles are at risk from bumps and knocks, right? Perhaps we'd just knocked the machine one day and hadn't noticed?

The reaction was surprising; within minutes we had several replies confirming that other users had cracks on their consoles in roughly the same location. Here are just a few of the replies we received:

Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.58.49 Pm
Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.59.04 Pm

Interestingly, we had a lot of people reporting issues on the left-hand side of the unit, next to the power button and the left-hand Joy-Con rail. Even worse, some had found that entire sections of the casing had actually snapped off:

Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.59.19 Pm
Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.59.34 Pm
Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.59.45 Pm
Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 2.59.54 Pm

Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 3.00.02 Pm

So what could be causing this problem? We don't know for sure, but - as several of our Twitter responders have also stated - this could well be a heat-related issue.

When docked the Switch becomes incredibly hot. As we all know, heat causes things to expand, and different materials are impacted by heat in different ways. Could parts of the Switch be expanding quicker than others, and therefore warping the machine and causing small cracks to appear in the outer plastic?

Perhaps, as some have said, the problem could be when the Switch cools down from being really hot and the plastic casing contacts; this rapid expansion and sudden contraction could cause this damage. We're no experts in this field and we're sure there are much smarter people out there who can explain this, but it seems like the most logical theory at this point in time.

Screenshot 2021 10 01 At 3.00.41 Pm

Naturally, this is a topic we'll keep our eyes on and we'll try to approach Nintendo for some kind of statement on the matter; we've been told by some Switch owners that they've actually had their machines repaired following these issues, while others have been told that the cracks are due to accidental damage and are not covered under the warranty.

Given the reaction we've had on social media, it would seem that this is quite a widespread problem, even when people have been particularly careful with their systems. Leave us a comment to let us know your thoughts and don't forget to vote in the poll below so we get an even better idea of just how many people this issue has affected.

Does your Switch have any cracks on its casing that haven't been caused by accidental damage? (1,147 votes)

  1. Yes21%
  2. No79%

Please login to vote in this poll.