Another major characteristic of Nintendo Switch is the Joy-Con controllers. A big part of the user experience comes from the Joy-Con, but were there any improvements?
Yamashita: Joy-Con controllers have lots of different features, so we’ve been continuing to make improvements that may not always be visible. Among others, the analog-stick parts have continuously been improved since launch, and we are still working on improvements.
The analog stick at first release cleared the Nintendo reliability test using the method of rotating the stick while continually applying a load to it, with the same criteria as the Wii U GamePad’s analog stick.
As we have always been trying to improve it as well, we have investigated the Joy-Con controllers used by the customers and repeatedly improved the wear resistance and durability.
The parts of the Joy-Con analog sticks are not something that can be bought off the shelf but are specially designed, so we have undergone a lot of considerations to improve them. In addition, we improved the reliability test itself, and we have continued to make changes to improve durability and clear this new test.
When the effects of our improvements were confirmed, we promptly incorporated them into the Joy-Con controllers that are included with the console, Nintendo Switch Lite, and the ones sold individually, that were manufactured at that time. This involves the internal components of the Joy-Con, so you can’t tell the improvements from the outside, but we use the new versions of the parts when we repair them. Also, similar continual improvements have been made for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller as well.
Do you mean that, basically, wear is unavoidable as long as the parts are physically in contact?
Shiota: Yes, for example car tires wear out as the car moves, as they are in constant friction with the ground to rotate. So with that same premise, we asked ourselves how we can improve durability, and not only that, but how can both operability and durability coexist? It’s something we are continuously tackling.
Yamashita: The degree of wear depends on factors like the combination of the materials and forms, so we continue to make improvements by researching which combinations are less likely to wear. We mentioned that the Joy-Con controller specifications hadn’t changed in the sense that we didn’t add new features such as new buttons, but the analog sticks in the Joy-Con controllers included with Nintendo Switch – OLED Model are the latest version with all the improvements. Needless to say, so are the analog sticks included in Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, separately sold Joy-Con controllers, and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller that are currently being shipped.
Content pre-recorded in accordance with current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. This article has been translated from the original Japanese content. 1: Gaming consoles are destined to be continuously improved, even after launch 2: The visible…