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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Wii Remote Out of Control, Says Class

DENVER (CN) - Nintendo's Wii game remote controller has a defective wrist strap that lets the thing fly out of the users' hands while they simulate tennis, nunchucks or similar actions, and then it crashes into TVs, walls and children, says a Federal Court class action.

The class claims Nintendo issued two replacement straps, and they both fail in the same way, and Nintendo knows it.

Plaintiffs claim Nintendo received complaints "within days of the Wii video game's Nov. 19, 2006 product launch."

Nintendo "has received not less than 500 reports of Wii Remote straps failing to accomplish their intended purpose and the result being property damage and/or personal injury," the complaint states. It claims that "Straps I, II and III do not require 'excessive' force to snap or otherwise fail."

And, the class claims, "Despite knowledge of hundreds of incidents involving broken televisions over time and subsequent to Dec. 27, 2006, defendant failed to report the existence of even a single 'incident' to the CPSC in monthly reports to the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission.] Defendants systematically and intentionally was untruthful in its representations to the CPSC."

The named plaintiff claims the wrist strap broke while her 11-year-old son used it properly, and the device flew into her 52-inch flat-screen TV, smashing it. She claims hundreds of other consumers have reported property damages and personal injuries from the failed wrist straps.

The complaint cites the editor in chief of IGN.com, who received a promotional game, and claims he "personally witnessed and observed the following while the Wii video game was being used in its intended and advertised manner: 'so one of the girls in particular really was having a good time and really got into this game, and she was going for the full arcing motions likes you see in those commercials ...' and 'before you knew it this Remote, with strap on, and I made sure that bad boy was strapped to her wrist, because Nintendo's warned me so many times. It actually flew out of her hand anyway, broke, out of her hand, the strap actually ripped, it went like this, flying at mach speed I think, BAM!, hit our wall, put an indent in our wall."

The complaint cites Nintendo's instructions for the controller, including, "The key is to pump the Wii Remote and Nunchuck back and forth in your two hands as rapidly as possible without abating" and "Swing hard to make sure you clear the net!"

Plaintiffs claim Nintendo warned users of the defective wrist straps on Dec. 15, 2006, and announced a "voluntary replacement" program for the wrist straps. But, plaintiffs say, Strap II had the same problem, so Nintendo issued a replacement Strap III on Aug. 9, 2007. But that one has the same problem, the class says, adding that consumers let Nintendo know it "shortly after the launch of Strap III."

The class demands an injunction ordering Nintendo to set up "a systematic claims process" for its customers, and treble damages. It is represented by Robert Kleinman of Austin, Texas.

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