Nintendo has announced its new “Wide Care” subscription service in Japan. For ¥200 per month (roughly $1.50 USD), subscribers will receive up to six repairs annually on their Nintendo Switch, Joy-Con controllers, the TV dock, and AC adapters. The service covers both equipment breakdown and accidental damage up to ¥100,000 (about $739 USD).
Nintendo has come under fire in recent years due to the frequency with which the joysticks in its Joy-Con controllers break down and register inputs even when not in use. The problem, dubbed “Joy-Con drift”, began appearing soon after the Nintendo Switch was released, yet Nintendo insists the issue is due to “unavoidable” wear, likening it to tires wearing out on a car. This explanation has not stopped several lawsuits from being filed against the company due to Joy-Con drift.
In 2019, Nintendo responded to the criticism surrounding Joy-Con drift by offering free repairs for any controllers affected by the malfunction. Sending Joy-Cons to Nintendo is simple enough for the standard Switch model; the Joy-Cons can be detached from the console, and players can use different ones while waiting for their repairs. However, when Joy-Con drift hits a Switch Lite, it renders the entire console essentially useless.
Additionally, it has recently come to light that Nintendo’s repair centers are overwhelmed and unable to meet the demand for repairs.
There is no word yet on whether or not Nintendo is planning to launch its “Wide Care” service outside Japan, nor on whether this paid service will replace the free repairs the company currently offers.