Nintendo Switch Games : Press Preview At Grand Palais in Paris
A visitor shows the Joy-Con controllers for the Nintendo Switch games console during the new console's unveiling, Nintendo Switch by Nintendo Co on January 13, 2017 in Paris, France.  Chesnot—Getty Images

Nintendo America's Boss Answers Our Questions About Switch Concerns

Mar 09, 2017

Nintendo's new transformable game tablet, the Switch, has been in the wild for nearly a week (the hybrid TV/handheld launched on March 3 for $299). And like any novel new product whose functional possibilities challenge conventions and invite experimentation, it's experiencing a steady beat of anecdotal scrutiny.

By a quickly growing base, too. The company's North American president Reggie Fils-Aimé tells TIME that five days on, the Switch "continues to be the fastest selling system that we've ever had here in the U.S." That's including the Wii and Nintendo DS, which he adds each launched in their respective years during the more favorable holiday cycle. As a launch metric obviously influenced by acclaim for Nintendo's new Zelda, it's no bellwether of where things might stand in six months or a year—something that depends on a sustained cadence of hits—but the Switch appears to be off to a very respectable start.

Given the ostensible number of systems now in the wild, it also seems reasonable to surmise most owners aren't experiencing reported problems like screen scratching (by moving the Switch into or out of its drop-in dock), or Joy-Con connection issues when the motion control wands are freed from the tablet and waggled wirelessly. On the other hand, those reporting problems (and in some cases, documenting them in videos) are naturally wondering whether they're outliers or harbingers of something more.

TIME has yet to experience any issues with its review units, but we can only speak for ourselves. I can say that I was finally able to get a second pair of Joy-Cons (purchased a few days ago and not shipped with my press unit) to disconnect from the Switch while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But then only by sitting on the left Joy-Con like a mother bird atop her eggs, which I'm not sure qualifies as a fair use-case scenario.

TIME asked Fils-Aimé to speak to some of these concerns. Here's what he told us.

On reports of connectivity issues with some Joy-Cons

Reggie Fils-Aimé: First, we've seen the inquiries, and we here in the Americas are looking at all the information we can get our hands on. We are in the early days of a system launch, and so for us, we want as much consumer feedback as possible. We are directing consumers to contact us through Nintendo Support for any and all potential questions they may have.

Specifically on Joy-Con syncing, all I can tell you is that we are aware of and have seen some of the reports. We're asking consumers a lot of questions. That's why we want to get consumers on our help line, so we can get as much information to understand the situation as possible. And so we are in a fact-finding mode, to really understand the situation and the scenarios. And with that information, we'll look and see what the next steps are.

UPDATE: In a statement to TIME, Nintendo says "The number [of Joy-Con replacement or repair requests received] is not significant, and is consistent with what we’ve seen for any new hardware we have launched."

On reports of the Switch dock scratching the tablet screen

Fils-Aimé: Again, this is why we're encouraging consumers to reach out to us directly. We have done, as you know, literally hundreds of events, starting with our activity back in January, and most recently the various tours that we continue to take the system out on. As soon as I heard of this report, I asked my teams, "Have we seen this in our own experience?" And the candid answer has been no.

So throughout all of those experiences, throughout all the docking and undocking we've done, we haven't seen it. So this is one where if it is happening, we want to understand more as to what the specific situation is. Which is why we want consumers to let us know through our support site.

On availability of the standalone dock for the Switch

Fils-Aimé: At Nintendo of America, we were the initial market that was pushing for the idea of a second dock. The production quantity is just not ramping up as quickly as we hoped it would. So it's a pure availability situation. More will be available shortly. But certainly we understand the desire, and it's something we pushed hard for from a production standpoint.

On whether Nintendo might offer a USB-C/HDMI combo cable (so the system could output to a TV without the dock, if, say, you've brought it to a friend's house)

Fils-Aimé: Nintendo believes that our systems are best utilized with our first-party accessories. We believe for the physical security of the system, that it's best connected to the TV through our dock solution. So I say this having no doubt that there's going to be a lot of unlicensed third party solutions that will start appearing that could do potentially what you're describing.

As a company, as a philosophy, we would rather have consumers use our first-party solutions. In part because, what happens if the system falls off of where it's being secured, and all of a sudden we have a consumer with a potentially damaged unit. So we want consumers to use our solution, and that's a docking solution with the cable connected to the TV.

On whether features like video capture, video broadcasting or save file transfers are coming

Fils-Aimé: We are aware of consumer desires. So just like with the video on demand potential capabilities downstream, we're aware of this. We are always in active discussions, but we have nothing to announce right now.

UPDATE (3/10/17): Nintendo has released an additional statement on Switch support questions:

At Nintendo, we take great pride in creating quality products and we want our consumers to have a positive experience. It is common with any new innovative consumer technology for consumers to have questions, and Nintendo Switch is no exception. There are no widespread technical problems, and all issues are being handled promptly, including the reports regarding the left Joy-Con Bluetooth connection. To best support our customers, we continuously update the online consumer support site and provide real-time answers to the questions we are receiving. We want our consumers to get up and running quickly to have fun with Nintendo Switch, and if anything falls short of this goal we encourage them to contact Nintendo’s Consumer Service team. For help with any hardware or software questions, please visit: http://support.nintendo.com.

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