Nintendo is officially strapped.
Last week, Nintendo acknowledged that it was receiving reports of problems with the wrist strap that secures the Wii Remote to users' wrists and told the Associated Press that it was investigating the matter. Today, it appears that investigation has wrapped up, as the company is offering to replace users' Wii Remote straps free of charge. The newer version of the strap features a thicker cord to keep the controller tethered to a user's wrist.
However, Nintendo said it has been shipping Wii systems with the new cords since earlier this month, so it asks that users check to see which straps they have before submitting a request for replacements (see picture above). The Associated Press is reporting that Nintendo's offer applies to about 3.2 million straps worldwide and could cost the company several million dollars.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission's notice of the voluntary replacement program says Nintendo has received three reports of injuries that occurred when a strap broke. All of them happened while users were playing Wii Sports, and none required medical attention.
All that secures the TV-remote-shaped controller to players' hands (other than players' fingers) is a cloth strap attached to the base of the controller by a thin cord. However, numerous reports have sprung up that the cord is breaking, sending the controllers flying out of the sweaty hands of gamers and into high-priced electronics, living room furniture, and the occasional innocent bystander.
Nintendo expects to begin shipping replacement straps around December 21, and they will take between five and nine days to arrive at their destination. To request up to four replacement straps, Wii owners are asked to give Nintendo their mailing addresses and Wii serial numbers at the company's official Web site.