Nintendo’s Third-Party Repair Partner is overwhelmed with Joy-Con Repairs

Workers at Nintendo’s third-party restoration facility reportedly encountered a “very stressful” work environment driven by a deluge of Switches sent in for issues bonded to Joy-Con drift.

A former director at the New York-based United Radio, the company that partners with Nintendo to repair broken devices, stated that the large volume of Joy-Con repairs resulted in a high turnover rate and “lots of” errors.

United Radio is its enterprise — Nintendo merely serves as the middleman, handling customer communications and exiting the repairing to United Radio, which suits Nintendo customers located in the eastern half of the US.

The ubiquity of Joy-Con drifts shown to “easily thousands” of Joy-Cons that passed through United Radio in a single week and initiated the company to set up a workstation committed to Joy-Con repair, the former supervisor told.

Joy-Con drift is a general issue that drives the controllers to input movement when there is none, which often displays itself as your character moving around on-screen when you’re not handling your thumbsticks.

Although many Switch owners expected the newer OLED model would improve Joy-Con drift, the issue persists, and Nintendo itself implied it might never be fixed. However, in 2019, Nintendo began repairing Joy-Con drift for free, even with an expired warranty.

United Radio hires numerous temporary workers through the staffing firm Aerotek. After three months of work, workers reportedly become eligible to be employed as full-time United Radio employees. However, most temporary employees stopped working after two-and-a-half months, whether they didn’t show up for work or were terminated. This reportedly pushed it hard to establish a professional team of workers, inevitably leading to errors.

In one example of such mistakes, a customer said their Switch was returned with another person’s saved data. There are innumerable other complaints online, citing faulty repairs, missing components, or injury to their system.

A high turnover rate wasn’t the only problem contributing to repairing mistakes — a language barrier also posed challenges. The supervisor reasons they were the only aboriginal English speaker on the job, making it questioning to train employees. In addition, bi-lingual workers would often hold to “act as a liaison” to forward information between the trainer and trainee.

Tight turnaround times didn’t assist with these issues, either. However, the former supervisor said United Radio would return any broken Joy-Cons from 2017 to 2018.

After that period, workers were reportedly instructed to repair 90 percent of Joy-Cons within four days. However, it’s ambiguous if Nintendo mandated these policies.

Nintendo doesn’t just depend on contracted employees to do repairs. Former and contemporary employees at Nintendo’s Redmond, Washington headquarters revealed that Nintendo operates temporary workers for 11-month rotations with a two-month (or longer) break.

Unfortunately, employees lost the key to healthcare during this window. In addition, a former Nintendo employee filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that they were released by Nintendo and staffing agency Aston Carter for endeavoring to organize a union.