Typical with any console launch is a lot of new games, and also new hardware issues. Really, it’s not uncommon for any device to have some flaws for its first few months on the market. We saw that happen last year with the Nintendo Switch, with issues like some folks having to deal with their left Joy-Con controller constantly desyncing and the screen getting scratched when being taken in and out of the dock. The majority of these complaints have died down, but now some new drama has come onto the scene.
This saga apparently started a few days ago with Nintendo Life’s Damien McFerrari posting a poll asking Switch owners if they’ve found any cracks in the body of their systems. McFerrari published this poll after tweeting out some pictures of his own Switch system, showing that his own Switch has developed a few hairline scratches along the top of the system by the heat exhaust and near the headphone jack. This led to a number of folks responding with photos of their own cracked Switch units. A lot of the different systems appear to be forming cracks in the same general areas: along the back of the device (mostly coming out of the screws) and near the heat exhaust vent. In fact, the vent in particular has even cracked off completely on some units.
Just noticed my Switch has multiple cracks along the top edge of the console; I don't treat it harshly so I'm not sure where these have come from. Is this a weak point of the design? pic.twitter.com/4E4fdoXwZx
— Damien McFerran (@DamienMcFerran) July 5, 2018
Of course, this is definitely not a good thing to have to deal with. Not only does it look unpleasant, but it could eventually lead to the system coming apart if left unchecked. The prime reason why this is even happening appears to have to deal with the plastic along the rear and top/bottom parts of the system reacting to the rapid temperature systems that occur when the system is in use. Like any electronic device, the Switch heats up when you play it and cools down again when it’s in sleep mode. This temperature fluxation causes the plastic surrounding the system to expand when heated and contract when cooled. That constant stress is what eventually leads to cracks forming along the weakest points of the chassis.
If you have this issue, fear not—you may not have to send it in for repairs. In fact, the solution to fixing this is actually really simple. All it’s going to take is a replacement back panel (which is only $14), a tri-wing screwdriver (different from the normal Philips head, but easy to find) and a few spare minutes to perform the maintenance. Well-known YouTuber ‘Spawn Wave’ has put together a great video which shows just how easy how the whole process is. He even points out that owners of cracked Switch units can even take this as an opportunity to go ahead and use a third-party back panel, many of which have a colored transparent design. It’ll definitely make your Switch stand out from the rest in a much more attractive way than having a series of scratches running along the body!
Of course, a good question that this situation brings up is if Nintendo’s hardware team was already aware of this issue. Still, this doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem (not yet, at least). Even so, perhaps a small hardware revision should be considered that provides a solution, such as using stronger/ more flexible materials.
If you’d like to take on the task of repairing the system yourself, here are Amazon links for the materials and their prices (as of the time of writing):
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.