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.”Click to view larger image
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.
Click to view larger image
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.