Nintendo has a Wii problem

KAI RYSSDAL: Nintendo doesn't know it yet but the company might have saved me the cost of a new television set. You see, my kids have the new Wii video game system on their Christmas list and Nintendo announced today it's going to voluntarily exchange the straps for the games controllers, 3.2 million of them. From the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin explains.


JANET BABIN: The Wii is not for the couch potato gamer. Players usually stand up and wield a control that looks like a TV remote to mimic real life actions. But the strap that holds it to your wrist is about as thick as a pony tail holder. All that natural motion gets gamers so worked up they can lose control. And that's led to hundreds of Wii mishaps.
JIM WALSH: People accidentally punching their girlfriends in the eye. People dislocating knee caps.

Jim Walsh posts videos of Wii crashes on his website, WiiHaveAProblem.com. Nintendo says it will replace more than 3 million straps with a thicker version. The recall could be pricey but James McQuivey at Boston University says it could end up paying for itself through word-of-mouth marketing.

JOHN MCQUIVEY: What better problem for Nintendo to have than consumers who are so excited using the product that they need their strap replaced. Perfect.

Last week, the company released safety guidelines to cut down on Wii accidents. I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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