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Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers.png
Detached Joy-Con in grey.
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Video game controller
Retail availability 2017-present
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.1 [1]
Power Internal (non-removable) 3.7 volt, 525 mAh, 1.9 watt hour lithium-ion polymer battery [1]
Predecessor Wii U GamePad

Joy-Con are the primary controllers of the Nintendo Switch video game console. They consist of two individual units, each containing an analog stick and an array of buttons. They can be used while attached to the main Nintendo Switch console unit, or detached and used wirelessly; when detached, a pair of Joy-Con can be used by a single player, or divided between two as individual controllers.


Illustration of left and right Joy-Con controllers, in neon red and neon blue

Joy-Con are distributed in pairs, designated as "Joy-Con L" and "Joy-Con R" respectively. They each measure 35.9 by 102 by 13.9 millimetres (1.41 in × 4.02 in × 0.55 in), and the Joy-Con L and R weigh 49 grams (1.7 oz) and 52.1 grams (1.84 oz), respectively. When measured from the top of the analog stick to the tip of the ZL/ZR trigger it has an extreme depth of 28.4 millimetres (1.12 in).[2][3]

Joy-Con can be attached to the sides of the Switch console via rails, or detached and used wirelessly—either as a pair (comparable to a Wii Remote and Nunchuk), or divided between two different players. Up to 8 Joy-Con can connect to a single Switch Console at a time.[4][5] The Joy-Con can be optionally attached to a "Joy-Con Grip" accessory, with or without charging capabilities, that convert the controllers to a more traditional gamepad-like form factor.[6][7]

When detached from the console, both Joy-Con units operate autonomously of each other, and communicate with the console via Bluetooth.[8] Wrist strap attachments are provided, which are similarly installed by sliding them onto the controllers' rails. The strap attachments have a rounded shape and raised shoulder buttons to improve the ergonomics of the Joy-Con when used individually.[3][9][10]

Joy-Con contain non-removable 3.7 volt 525 mAh 1.9 watt hour lithium-ion polymer batteries; they are charged when attached to a Switch Console that itself is charging. A separate "charging grip" accessory allows the controllers to be charged in a gamepad configuration via USB-C.[11][6] Nintendo released a Joy-Con AA battery pack attachment on June 16, 2017, with it sliding onto the Joy-Con similarly to the wrist strap attachments.[12]

Colors and variations[edit]

Joy-Con can be obtained in various colors, either with the purchase of the Switch console, or individually, both separately or as a pair. At launch, Joy-Con were available in slate gray, neon red and neon blue colors.[7] Black Joy-Con are also issued with Switch development kits.[13] In mid-2017, Nintendo introduced neon yellow Joy-Con, releasing alongside Arms[14] as well as neon green and neon pink Joy-Con which launched alongside Splatoon 2.[15] A pair of red Joy-Con were released as part of the Super Mario Odyssey bundle, except in Japan where they are available standalone, which was released in October 2017.[16] An exclusive Nintendo Labo Joy-Con design, light brown in color, was released in 2018. It is exclusively available to winners of the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest.[17]

In conjunction with the launch of the Switch's Online service, Nintendo will offer Joy-Con shaped and modeled after the controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System (in North America and Europe) or the Famicom (for Japan) only for the various NES/Famicon games that will be made available as part of the Online service. The controllers lack some of the buttons on the Joy-Con but do include the D-pad, A and B buttons, and Start and Select buttons, work wirelessly, and charge by attaching them to the Switch Console. These controllers will only be available to those that subscribe to the Online service and they will start shipping in December 2018.[18][19][20]


The feature set of the Joy-Con was partially inspired by feedback from players using the Wii Remote, according to Nintendo's Shinya Takahashi. After releasing games that heavily used the Wii Remote with the Wii, such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit, players had asked for different design features, such as having a smaller form factor, or being able to be strapped to a part of the body. Nintendo envisioned what benefits towards innovative design and gameplay could come from a smaller form factor, which led to the idea of a console that could be portable, controlled through these smaller controllers. This became the fundamental principle of the Switch, and directly into the Joy-Con design.[21]

Both controllers contain a clickable analog stick, four face buttons, two top buttons, two side buttons accessible when detached (which become shoulder buttons when held horizontally) and designated as SL and SR, a + or - button, a sync button, and player indicator lights. Joy-Con L contains directional buttons, a - button, top buttons designated as L and ZL, and a screenshot button, which enables the player to upload screenshots to social media. In an update released in October, 18th, 2017, the screenshot button is also able to record up to 30 seconds of gameplay in select games. Joy-Con R contains A, B, X, and Y buttons, a + button, top buttons designated as R and ZR, and a Home button.[5]

Each Joy-Con contains an accelerometer and gyroscope, which can be used for motion tracking.[22] Games can support using the Joy-Con for pointing controls similar to the Wii Remote while detached without the need of a sensor bar.[23] Joy-Con R contains an infrared depth tracking sensor, which can read objects and motions held in front of it; as an example of its functionality, Nintendo stated that the sensor could distinguish between the hand shapes of rock–paper–scissors.[24][22] Joy-Con R also contains a near-field communication reader for use with Amiibo.[22][25]

The Joy-Con contain a haptic feedback engine known as "HD Rumble", which was developed in partnership with Immersion Corporation. Nintendo stated that the system could generate fine tactile feedback, such as the sensation of individual ice cubes and water in a glass.[26][27]

Third-party development[edit]

It was discovered shortly after public release that Joy-Con can connect to and be used with other Bluetooth-enabled personal computers and mobile devices.[8]


Technical issues[edit]

Prior to the public release of Nintendo Switch, various video gaming websites reported that the controllers—most commonly the Joy-Con L—were susceptible to connection losses when used wirelessly. It was initially unknown whether these problems were the result of an interference issue, or caused by the pre-launch software on review units.[28] A Nintendo spokesperson stated to Polygon that the company would "continue to monitor the performance of Nintendo Switch hardware and software, and make improvements when necessary". The company posted guidance on its support website for minimizing Bluetooth signal interference, including recommendations that the Switch console be placed away from other wireless-enabled devices.[29] On March 22, 2017, Nintendo confirmed that the interference issues were caused by a "manufacturing variant" in a small number of Joy-Con from early production runs, and that the company would allow owners to send in their affected Joy-Con for repairs free-of-charge.[30]

On launch, it was reported that the wrist strap attachments for the Joy-Con were hard to detach from the controllers. It was also reported that a wrist strap could easily be attached to the Joy-Con incorrectly and become difficult to remove.[31][9]

Legal issues[edit]

In August 2017, Los Angeles-based tablet peripheral manufacturer Gamevice filed a lawsuit against Nintendo in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the design of the Joy-Con controllers conflicts with its patent on the design for the Wikipad, an Android-based gaming device that also features a tablet with a detachable controller. The lawsuit sought damages on existing Switch sales and banning further sales of the console.[32] The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by Gamevice on October 23, 2017.[33]

However, in March 2018, Gamevice initiated a second patent infringement lawsuit on Nintendo related to a different set of patents. Gamevice also sought action through the United States International Trade Commission related to patent infringement under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, and was seeking to block imports of the Switch into the United States.[34][35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nintendo Switch Teardown - iFixit". 
  2. ^ "Specifications — Nintendo Switch — Nintendo". Retrieved February 27, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Sarkar, Samit (January 13, 2017). "Nintendo Switch has 32 GB storage, 720p touchscreen". Polygon. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Nintendo Switch uses detachable 'Joy-Con' controllers". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (January 13, 2017). "Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller does some amazing things". Polygon. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Nintendo Switch's included Joy-Con Grip is not the same as $30 Charging Grip". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Yin-Poole, Wesley (January 13, 2017). "A pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-con controllers costs £75". Eurogamer. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers also work with Windows, Mac, and Android devices". The Verge. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con wrist straps have an annoying issue, but you can fix it". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ Frank, Allegra (January 13, 2017). "Everything we know about Nintendo Switch". Polygon. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Here's how to charge the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller". Polygon. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Nintendo introduces new neon yellow Joy-Con color and controller battery pack". The Verge. 2017-04-12. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Developer reveals black Nintendo Switch, and it looks awesome - NintendoToday". NintendoToday. 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2018-09-14. 
  14. ^ Statt, Nick (April 12, 2017). "Nintendo introduces new neon yellow Joy-Con color and controller battery pack". The Verge. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Webster, Andrew (May 18, 2017). "Nintendo is releasing neon pink-and-green Switch controllers for Splatoon 2". The Verge. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  16. ^ Makedonski, Brett (September 13, 2017). "There's a Super Mario Odyssey Switch bundle that comes with two red Joy-Con". Destructoid. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  17. ^ "My Nintendo - Nintendo Labo Creators Contest – Nintendo Labo Official Site". Nintendo. 
  18. ^ Gach, Ethan (September 13, 2018). "Nintendo Switch Is Getting NES Controllers". Kotaku. Retrieved September 13, 2018. 
  19. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (2018-09-13). "Nintendo Switch Online Members Can Buy These Nifty NES Controllers". Variety. Retrieved 2018-09-14. 
  20. ^ Carter, Chris (September 16, 2018). "Say what? Nintendo states Switch NES Joy-Con will only work on NES games". Destructoid. Retrieved September 16, 2018. 
  21. ^ McAloon, Alissa (February 9, 2018). "The Nintendo Switch, Joy-Cons, and even Labo are the result of Wii-era feedback". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  22. ^ a b c "Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers are insane". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  23. ^ Kuchera, Ben (March 16, 2017). "Nintendo Switch's World of Goo shows off system's Wii-style pointer controls". Polygon. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Nintendo's Joy Con controller contains motion tracking camera, other tricks". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  25. ^ Rad, Chloi (October 20, 2016). "Nintendo Confirms Amiibo Support for Nintendo Switch, Clarifies Additional Features". IGN. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Meet the minds behind Nintendo Switch's HD Rumble tech". Techradar. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Nintendo's HD Rumble will be the best unused Switch feature of 2017". Engadget. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Nintendo Switch Joy-Con connection issue sparks concern ahead of launch". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Nintendo suggests Switch Joy-Con issues caused by interference (update)". Polygon. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Nintendo: Left Joy-Con issue has been fixed on future Switch consoles". Polygon. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "Nintendo Switch is safer without its safety straps". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  32. ^ Fingas, Jon (August 11, 2017). "Nintendo faces lawsuit over the Switch's detachable controllers". Engadget. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Gamevice, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. et al". RPX Corporation. Archived from the original on September 19, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  34. ^ Conduit, Jessica (May 1, 2018). "Nintendo faces Switch patent infringement investigation in the US". Engadget. Retrieved May 1, 2018. 
  35. ^ Good, Owen (May 6, 2018). "Nintendo sued by peripheral maker alleging Switch design infringes patents". Polygon. Retrieved May 6, 2018. 
  36. ^ "USITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of Certain Portable Gaming Console Systems with Attachable Handheld Controllers and Components Thereof | USITC". Retrieved 2018-09-01.