Nintendo said Friday it will replace 3.2 million straps for its popular Wii computer game controllers after receiving a rash of reports that the device flew out of the hands of players.
The Wii’s controller set is a new paradigm in game controllers and fascinated me as soon as I saw the commercial on TV. I don’t have one myself and have never actually used it, but instead of a single controller box held in 2 hands, the Wii’s controller is 2 separate units designed to be held 1 in each hand. This arrangement allows the user to control on-screen implements in the same way he would handle them in the real world. A sword slashing maneuver would be performed by slashing the controller though the air. Tennis rackets and rifles are moved on screen by handling the controller set exactly as you’d expect to handle the real-world implements.
The problem, apparently, is that moving those things in the real world means accelerating them pretty aggressively and that means some folks lose their grip. The strap, which was supposed to handle that eventuality, wasn’t designed to take the pressure, hence the recall. I note that they’re having to replace 3.2 million of the straps, so sales can’t be hurting too badly.