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The WiiU Gamepad has a Dead Pixel Problem

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 11/25/12 at 02:39 PM CT

According to page 52 of the WiiU Operations Manual, “Due to the characteristics of liquid crystal displays, a small number of pixels may not illuminate or may always stay lit. This is normal and not considered a defect unless the number of pixels that don’t function normally increases over time.”


Dead pixels are a manufacturing defect. Some screen makers have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of mistake. Apparently Nintendo isn’t one of them. Instead, they put a nice disclaimer right there in the manual to cover their butts legally and remove their obligation to replace Gamepads under warranty until a certain mysterious threshold of dead pixels manifest (according to the rumblings of the Internet, in the case of the WiiU Gamepad, the required number of dead pixels is 3).

I don’t have 3 dead pixels. Or 2. I have a single dead pixel sitting off-center, right there under the “d” and “C” of “Find Recommended Connection Type.” It’s not terribly noticeable during gameplay, since it is dead and black instead of stuck in some garish color. The fact that the Gamepad screen is a touchscreen makes it even less noticeable, at least in my case, as any touchscreen I come in contact with immediately becomes covered in oily smudges and lint.

Wii U Gamepad

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Wii U Gamepad Dead Pixel
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However the fact that it is there at all bothers me. Nintendo always used to be a company known for the rugged quality of their consoles and handhelds. Thousands of original NES and SNES consoles, along with GameBoys of various kinds, still work perfectly (provided you blow the dust out of them). While Nintendo hardware may not be bullet-proof and old GameBoys occasionally experience issues with loose connections causing screen weirdness, a brand-new WiiU straight out of the box shouldn’t have any defects like this.

Is Nintendo trying to cut corners in the manufacturing process to keep prices down? The Gamepad isn’t being sold separately for now… is it because the prices are still too high, even with shoddy quality control that allows dead pixels to slip through? Between dead pixels, the massive day-one update, and the general incomplete feeling of the WiiU (slow menu transitions, no TVii app yet), Nintendo is giving haters a lot of free ammunition to use against them.

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Anonymous MeltedJoystick user


Wrote on 11/12/13 at 10:52 AM CT

I got a vertical line of 1 px width, from top to bottom. The las is not of dead pixels (i think), the line is gradient, white in 80% of the middle area, going and black in the extremes. I'm very sad about this, my warranty has expired 1 month ago and a new GamePad is too expensive... I just panic when the line rised, I was playing Wii Sports Resort and when I got the GamePad in my hands to exit the game, I saw the line rising with no reason. :'(

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Anonymous MeltedJoystick user


Wrote on 12/05/12 at 03:56 AM CT

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the Wii-Boo.

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View Matt's Profile


Wrote on12/02/12 at 11:03 AM CT

I know on most laptops companies won't replace the scree unless there are at least three dead pixels per inch also, so Nintendo is just par for the course...

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View TicityTaz's Profile


Wrote on11/26/12 at 09:03 AM CT

I am not a Nintendo hater but my Original Wii collected so much dust I do not see myself getting a WiiU. I will just wait for the new Xbox probably.

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View Nelson Schneider's Profile

Nelson Schneider

Wrote on11/25/12 at 10:09 PM CT

Jonzor has a WiiU too, Chris. You would know that if you spent more time in our forum.

I'm undecided on the WiiU at this point. My first impressions will be forthcoming this week, after we get a chance to try out some "Nintendo Land" multi-player.

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View Chris's Profile


Wrote on11/25/12 at 08:33 PM CT

Since David is the only other person I think has a Wii U that I know of, I would be interested to know if he has a similar issue. It's surprising that Nintendo doesn't have a zero tolerance policy on this.

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View Alex's Profile


Wrote on11/25/12 at 07:37 PM CT

I think Nintendo has lost their mind. The system is DOA on launch anyway.

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View Nick's Profile


Wrote on11/25/12 at 02:52 PM CT

Under normal circumstances, the Wii U could be just packaged back up and returned to Best Buy, no questions asked. But because the Wii U Deluxe edition will not be on the shelf anytime soon, that isn't an option. So, due to Nintendo's poor quality control, people will be stuck with their dead pixels. Very sad.

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