Nintendo tells Switch users dead pixels are their problem
Switch owners complaining of distracting dead or stuck pixels, or light or dark patches on the screens of their brand new consoles, are being told by Nintendo that they are “normal” and are not defects.
New Switch players have taken to online discussion boards, including a 2,000-comment strong Reddit post, to complain of screen issues distracting play, unbecoming of a £280 handheld gaming machine.
In a support document entitled “There are black or bright dots on the Nintendo Switch screen that do not go away, or there are dark or light patches on the screen” Nintendo said: “Small numbers of stuck or dead pixels are a characteristic of LCD screens. These are normal and should not be considered a defect.”
So called “dead” pixels – those that do not react or light up and remain black at all times – were common in the early days of LCD screen technology. Sony’s original PlayStation Portable also suffered from dead pixels on launch, but improvements in the underlying technology and manufacturing techniques driven by their use in billions of smartphones has generally been regarded to have significantly reduced the issue.
Customers wishing to swap their Switch consoles with defective screens will get no support from Nintendo. A similar issue happened with the Nintendo DS at launch in the US, but the Japanese gaming company eventually relented after complaints from buyers, begrudgingly offering replacements under warranty.
Nintendo said at the time: “We suggest that you use your system for a few weeks to determine whether this interferes with your enjoyment of game play. If, after using your system for awhile, you feel that this tiny dot is too distracting, the Nintendo DS does carry a one-year warranty.”
Nintendo also warned users that using the Switch near an aquarium or within a metre of another wireless device, including laptops, wireless headsets, wireless printers, microwaves, cordless phones or even USB-3.0 compatible devices “such as hard drives, thumb drives, LAN adapters, etc”, might cause the Joy-Con controllers to disconnect from the Switch.
The company has also dashed the hopes of those looking to share saved game data between multiple Switch consoles. It stated that saved game data, which is stored on the internal memory of the machine, cannot be transferred to a microSD card or moved to another console.
Nintendo told gaming site Kotaku: “At this time, it is not possible to transfer saved data from one Nintendo Switch system to another.”
The departure from a common feature of Nintendo’s previous handheld and home consoles, including the 3DS and Wii U, was not welcomed by gamers.
Meanwhile, differences between the Switch’s docked and mobile playing modes have shown that, at least for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Switch performs better when not docked and attached to a TV. Analysis by Eurogamer showed that where Zelda is played in handheld mode on the Switch with consistent frame-rates and smooth play, the same could not be said when docked, where the game could stutter and drop from the required 30 frames per second to just 20fps.
For now, it appears that the Switch, with its relatively underpowered processor and graphics system compared to other home consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox One or Sony’s PlayStation 4, operates best as a handheld gaming system using its built-in 6in 720p screen, rather than attached to a TV with a 1080p resolution.