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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 controller(s) 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 blue

Joy-Con are distributed in pairs, designated as "Joy-Con L" and "Joy-Con R" respectively. They each measure 4.02 by 1.41 by 1.12 inches (10.2 cm × 3.6 cm × 2.8 cm), and the Joy-Con L and R weigh 1.73 ounces (49 g) and 1.84 ounces (52 g), respectively.[2]

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.[3][4] 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.[5][6]

When detached from the console, both Joy-Con units operate autonomously of each other, and communicate with the console via Bluetooth.[7] Wrist straps can be attached to the two Joy-Con when they are detached from the console; the straps contain a 0.57 in (1.4 cm)-wide base for attaching them to the Joy-Con's side rails, which also extend their shoulder buttons.[2][8][9]

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.[10][5] 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.[11]


Joy-Con can be obtained in several colors as part of the Switch bundle or through added purchases. In addition to the slate gray that the rest of the unit offers, consumers can opt to get Joy-Con in neon red and blue colors.[6] In mid-2017, Nintendo introduced neon yellow Joy-Con, releasing alongside Arms[12] as well as neon green and neon pink Joy-Con which launched alongside Splatoon 2.[13] A pair of red Joy-Con were released as part of the Super Mario Odyssey bundle, which was released October 27, 2017.[14]


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.[15]

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.[4]

Each Joy-Con contains an accelerometer and gyroscope, which can be used for motion tracking.[16] Games can support using the Joy-Con for pointing controls similar to the Wii Remote while detached without the need of a sensor bar.[17] 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.[18][16] Joy-Con R also contains a near-field communication reader for use with Amiibo.[16][19]

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.[20][21]

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.[7]


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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

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 stuck, making it difficult to remove.[25][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nintendo Switch Teardown - iFixit". 
  2. ^ a b Sarkar, Samit (January 13, 2017). "Nintendo Switch has 32 GB storage, 720p touchscreen". Polygon. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Nintendo Switch uses detachable 'Joy-Con' controllers". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (January 13, 2017). "Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller does some amazing things". Polygon. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Nintendo Switch's included Joy-Con Grip is not the same as $30 Charging Grip". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Yin-Poole, Wesley (January 13, 2017). "A pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-con controllers costs £75". Eurogamer. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers also work with Windows, Mac, and Android devices". The Verge. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Frank, Allegra (January 13, 2017). "Everything we know about Nintendo Switch". Polygon. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Here's how to charge the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller". Polygon. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Nintendo introduces new neon yellow Joy-Con color and controller battery pack". The Verge. 2017-04-12. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  12. ^ Statt, Nick (April 12, 2017). "Nintendo introduces new neon yellow Joy-Con color and controller battery pack". The Verge. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ a b c "Nintendo's Joy-Con controllers are insane". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  17. ^ Kuchera, Ben (March 16, 2017). "Nintendo Switch's World of Goo shows off system's Wii-style pointer controls". Polygon. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Nintendo's Joy Con controller contains motion tracking camera, other tricks". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  19. ^ Rad, Chloi (October 20, 2016). "Nintendo Confirms Amiibo Support for Nintendo Switch, Clarifies Additional Features". IGN. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Meet the minds behind Nintendo Switch's HD Rumble tech". Techradar. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Nintendo's HD Rumble will be the best unused Switch feature of 2017". Engadget. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Nintendo Switch Joy-Con connection issue sparks concern ahead of launch". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Nintendo suggests Switch Joy-Con issues caused by interference (update)". Polygon. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Nintendo: Left Joy-Con issue has been fixed on future Switch consoles". Polygon. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  25. ^ "Nintendo Switch is safer without its safety straps". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 7, 2017.