Tough love for frail Wii strap

What hurts more: Launching your new game controller into your new flat-screen TV, or having to tell the world that your hot new product is prone to breaking?

Wii remote

For buyers of Nintendo's just-released Wii, it's the household gadget catastrophe. For Nintendo itself, it's fessing up that the wrist straps on the wave-me-like-a-madman remote control aren't up to being waved by a madman--or even your typical 13-year-old game player.

In letting the world know that it's ready to replace a mere 3.2 million overly delicate wrist straps around the globe, Nintendo is using some delicate language: This is a "voluntary exchange," the company says, and most certainly not a recall. (No, a recall is what Nintendo has in mind for 200,000 AC adapters for its DS and DS Lite consoles in Japan.) The replacement straps aren't exactly strapping, what with a diameter of 0.04 inch, but that's nearly twice as thick as the earlier 0.024 inch.

If your wrist strap held firm but you smacked your Wii remote-waving hand into a bookcase, that's a hurt of a different sort.

Blog community response:

"So it's not us gamers being clumsy oafs who forget to attach the Wii-mote's wrist strap when flailing about in our living rooms, then."
--Wiisee.net

"Although no Wii lawsuit has yet to be reported, it may just be a matter of time before the company faces legal trouble for the faulty wrist attachments."
--Gizmo Cafe

"The size of the recall is testimony of the popularity of the Wii. It may be that the recall actually generates even more buzz around the Wii since it highlights one of the key features of the console."
--Tech.Blorge.com

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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