BEUC launches Europe-wide complaint against Nintendo for premature obsolescence

PRESS RELEASE - 27.01.2021

Following nearly 25,000 complaints from European consumers, BEUC and its members have submitted a complaint about Nintendo to the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities for systematic problems with the functionality of the Nintendo Switch console.


Consumer complaints have been received across Europe, in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece. Consumers have expressed their dissatisfaction with a recurring technical problem with Nintendo Switch controllers, commonly referred to as “Joy-Con Drift”. This causes the games’ characters to move without touching the controller, making the console unusable.

According to consumer testimonies, in 88% of cases, the game controllers broke within the first two years of use. On behalf of consumer groups in affected countries, BEUC has submitted a complaint to the European Commission and for premature obsolescence and misleading omissions of key consumer information (on the basis of the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive).

BEUC and its members are calling for a Europe-wide investigation into the issue and for Nintendo to be obliged to urgently address the premature failures of its product. Until then, the faulty game controllers should be repaired for free and consumers should be properly informed about the limited lifespan of this product. Since coming onto the market, the console has sold more than 68 million units worldwide, many of which in Europe.

BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said: “Consumers assume the products they buy to last an appropriate amount of time according to justified expectations, not to have to pay for expensive replacements due to a technical defect. Nintendo must now come up with proper solutions for the thousands of consumers affected by this problem.

“It’s high time for companies to stop putting products onto the market that break too early. Creating unnecessary electronic waste completely goes against the objectives of the European Green Deal. To help combat this problem and to help consumers make the right purchase decision, manufacturers should be obliged to provide pre-purchase information on product durability to help consumers make both more informed and more sustainable choices”.

Attachment: BEUC Letter to the European Commission

Jan 2021