Meet The Nintendo Switch Controller – The JoyCon

A good portion of Nintendo’s Switch presentation tonight was dedicated to the brand new controllers – dubbed Joycons – that attach to either side of the Nintendo Switch tablet itself or on the included “Joycon Grip” which forms the controller that we saw in the initial reveal video.  All of these features we knew about this past fall but in typical Nintendo style, the Big N had a number of features for the Joycons that they kept close to the chest.

At launch the Joycons will be available in either a slate grey color scheme – seen in all of the advertisements thus far or a special edition blue and pink color scheme. The Nintendo Switch will have two retail skus to reflect these color variations, meaning you’ll be able to pick out whichever color your local GameStop has to have in their allotment of 3 consoles for launch day.

In terms of input we knew that the Joycons both feature asymmetrical joysticks and 4 face buttons on the top of the controllers. What we didn’t know: The small little nubs next to the joystick on the right controller and the buttons on the left are used for sharing screenshots and reading amiibo NFC data respectively. The little buttons on the top of the Joycons not only connect them to the Tablet but are also used as the L & R buttons when detached.

The Return of Motion Controls

Here is where stuff gets kinda futuristic:

  • Each Joycon has built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers for 3-D dimensional sensing (think Wiimote)
  • The right joycon has a built-in IR sensor that allows it to recognize 3D objects and the distance between the controller and the object,
  • Haptic feedback, called “HD Rumble” in the Nintendo presentation, allows for precision rumble and emulation of physical objects – like the sensation of ice cubes in a glass, according to Nintendo.


Here’s hoping that developers find new and interesting ways to use all of the technology that Nintendo is packing into their latest controllers. Lest it become underutilized like the DS microphone or the 3DS’ dual cameras.


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