Nintendo investigates flying Wii controllers

Nintendo Co. is taking a close look at the wrist strap on the controller for its Wii console after several reports on the Internet about straps breaking, causing the controller to fly out of the hands of users, its president said Thursday.

Within days of the Wii going on sale in North America last month, tales of broken wrist straps began appearing online. Many were accompanied by photographs of damage caused by the flying controller, which in some cases included cracked television screens. Pictures have also begun appearing in Japan after the Wii launched there on Dec. 2.

One of the selling points of the Wii is its motion-sensitive controller. Users can swing it like a club when playing a golf game, or jab it like a fist in a boxing game.

"There have been reports, mainly on the Internet, about the strap breaking when you play the games very hard," said Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan on Thursday.

Nintendo tested the durability of all the console's parts, but "people are becoming excited ... beyond our expectations" while playing the Wii, he said. The company is investigating the reports, he added.

The Wii went on sale Thursday in Australia and will hit stores across Europe on Friday. Nintendo has sold more than a million of the consoles in the last month and has managed to do what Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. failed to pull off -- launch a new game console worldwide within a month.

Iwata confirmed Nintendo's plan to ship 4 million consoles by the end of the year and 6 million by the end of March 2007.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon