Wii have a problem (but it’s your fault)

Nintendo Safety Manual for Wii

Who knew a games controller could wreak such havok. Head over to WiiHaveAProblem and be astounded by the number of TV sets that people have taken out when they’ve been playing with their new Wii and the controller has been thrown out of their hands with such force as to break the strap. Carnage ensues.
What does Nintendo have to say about this situation?

Vispi Bhopti, of Nintendo Australia, said the problem was less to do with quality issues and more related to the way the console was being used.

“Nintendo has done various tests before we launched, but it turns out people are playing with a lot more gusto than we would’ve anticipated,” he said

“At this point, I do want to clarify that Nintendo is introducing a brand new form of entertainment and a brand new form of interacting … it’s not like conventional video games, and … we need to let people be aware of how they should approach it. This will take a little time for some people.”

Bhopti added that over-the-top movements and letting go of the controller places unnecessary strain on the wrist strap, causing it to snap.

via Sydney Morning Herald

Oh. So it’s not Nintendo’s fault, it’s your fault. You’re not playing the right way. You’re playing too hard.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a tremendous cop out and would much rather lay the blame at the feet of whoever designed the testing for this ‘brand new’ product? Isn’t one of the most exciting things about a product like this the fact that people will use it in new and unexpected ways?

I would love to know more about these ‘various tests’ that Nintendo carried out and the context in which they took place.

You see, if they did all their testing in a lab, then there is no way that they would have seen this coming, because users, generally, behave themselves pretty well in a lab. Particularly if you’re videoing them.

Users in their own environments are different animals, so imagine if Nintendo did some contextual research… well, it just seems so obvious in retrospect, doesn’t it.

A Wii, a couple of boisterous guys on a Friday night, and a weak wrist strap.

Wii have a problem

It was never going to end well, was it?

Contextual research. It’s fun to do, and sometimes there’s a really good reason to get out of the lab.

Image credit: WiiHaveAProblem


  1. Carla December 12, 2006 at 12:06 am

    Yeah I bet they didn’t factor alcohol into their testing equation…

  2. Jon December 12, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Great post! Someone at work just mentioned that one of his sons friends nearly took out the new HDTV… not good.

    There is no substitute for the real world.

    Carla – great point about the alcohol! Just imagine that consent form! :-)

  3. David December 12, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    Have a Wii – feel empathetic towards those who have had problems but think the risk/reward is microsopically small.

    Nintendo is going to make a huge some of money – lawyers will salivate – but the good done by a Wii (making a passive device require physical interaction) will help the karma of the company and their executives withstand the negative energy of some local harm.

    Look for Wii boxing tournaments at your local bar soon.



  4. leisa.reichelt December 12, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    I agree, David – it’s just a matter of time before Wii tournaments are the next big thing to do on a Tuesday night at your local. I can just picture it… brilliant!

    What I’m finding interesting in that there is a population of very vehement Wii defenders out there who are also taking the Nintendo stance on this (it’s the users who are being dumb and breaking their own TVs, it’s not Nintendo’s fault).

    I’ve love to have one to play with myself so that I could make my own judgement.

    Does this count as a letter to Santa? :)

  5. Santa December 12, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Even I am at the whim of supply and demand economics. Couldn’t even swap an elf for one at the moment.

  6. leisa.reichelt December 15, 2006 at 12:50 am

    hey Santa,

    that’s a bummer, but thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know :)

  7. leisa.reichelt December 15, 2006 at 10:03 am


    Nintendo are recalling straps and replacing with straps that are twice as strong

    (seen on BBC Breakfast this morning)

  8. liam December 18, 2007 at 6:35 am

    anyone who hits there self with the wiimote is an idiot

  9. dan February 19, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Anyone who blames Nintendo is an idiot.

  10. Peter August 16, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I feel that a basic inclusion within the Wii accessories pack should be cricket nets. These would allow users to develop their enthusiasm with impunity and protect their IVD. Perhaps they could also develop some coordinating clothing containing kevlar plates and a full face helmet, after all we are now in the era of extreme video sports.

  11. jack November 12, 2008 at 7:35 am

    dude…. bottom line: people are going to get hurt. there’s nothing anyone can do about it. people are bound to get hurt no matter what nintendo (or anyone for that matter) does.

  12. jack November 12, 2008 at 7:39 am

    also, i have a wii, and everybody who has played it has never gotten hurt. it’s not nintendo, it’s the dumb-ass people. there was one incident, however, where the wii remote hit my TV pretty hard, but that’s because while my idiot friend was passing the remote to the next person, my other idiot friend was looking straight ahead, not paying attention, swung her arm up (wii bowling), and hit my friend’s hand, causing the wiimote to fly across the room and hit the TV. that wouldn’t have happened if he was wearing the strap.

  13. Anonymous November 28, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    wii is suckish! it has a lot of problems, bad graphics, weak straps,imean!!! loo at the ps3 it is awesome no nothing. #$*%!!!

  14. Corey December 3, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Why didn’t you put the strap on.I say that it is your fault your eye is like that.Ha ha ha ha!!!

  15. Amanda December 22, 2008 at 1:41 am

    now come on. Put the blame on yourself. They put all kinds of warnings on the system. It blows me away that people can’t take responsibility for their own actions. HOLD ON to the controller.

  16. cha January 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    lmao rookie mistake.