Physical Design Assessment of the Nintendo Switch Controller Configurations

  • Gabriel Isaac L. Ramolete
  • Julia Isabel F. AlmiranteEmail author
  • Juneliza M. Mondragon
  • Cyrus Alexander R. Ting
  • Michael Angelo Patrick C. Cohen
  • Benette P. Custodio
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1203)


The Nintendo Switch is a popular hybrid portable gaming console that employs a novel modular design, enabling it to be played in multiple controller configurations: Handheld mode, left and right JoyCon Sticks, and the JoyCon Grip. However, issues with physical discomfort have been noted among its user base, especially after extended periods of use. This could be the cause for user injury after prolonged use and poor gaming experience. To assess the design of the different configurations, the dimensions of the Switch console, its trigger and non-trigger buttons, and relative distances between parts were measured and compared to anthropometric guidelines provided by different literatures. A total of 16 Filipino participants, classified as either novice or expert users based on familiarity with the Switch or other gaming consoles and their functionalities, were asked to perform a predetermined set of tasks, including playing a game on the platform across different controller orientations. User perceptions on comfortability and satisfaction after using the platform were measured through a 5-point Likert comfortability scale (5 being most comfortable) survey and post-task surveys, respectively, and were analyzed in conjunction with user remarks while performing working on tasks. Results show that while some dimensions of the Switch does not conform to anthropometric guidelines from literature, user ratings for comfortability were high for both sets of users for the Handheld (4.13 for experts and 4.06 for novices) and JoyCon Grip (4.69 for experts and 4.81 for novices) configurations, and relatively low for JoyCon Stick modes (2.78 for experts and 3.38 for novices). Additionally, post-task survey results mirrored in-task remarks of discomfort and navigation issues while using the JoyCon stick configurations, with it receiving 72% of negative complaints during and after use. Recommendations to physical dimensions were made based on existing literature, with the aim of decreasing the risk of user injury with prolonged usage and improving overall user satisfaction, which could be the basis of future studies on redesigning the Switch and the effects of its controller configurations on gaming experience satisfaction.


Nintendo Switch Anthropometric assessment Controller configuration Gaming experience 


  1. 1.
    Limelight Networks: Market Research: The State of Online Gaming – 2019, Market Research: The State of Online Gaming – 2019, 15 March 2019. Accessed 22 Oct 2019
  2. 2.
    Jalink, M.B., et al.: Nintendo related injuries and other problems, Bmj 349 (2014).
  3. 3.
    Berolo, S., Wells, R.P., Amick, B.C.: Musculoskeletal symptoms among mobile hand-held device users and their relationship to device use: a preliminary study in a Canadian university population. Appl. Ergon. 42(2), 371–378 (2010). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Coulson, J.: Let’s face it, the switch is uncomfortable to use in handheld mode. Online Article, the Gamer (2019)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gil, L.: How to keep your nintendo switch joy-con controllers from hurting your hands. Online article, iMore (2018)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sebel, H.: Anthropometrics Or, how comfortable Is “comfortable”? Med. J. Australia 2, 326–332 (1971). Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tilley, A.: The Measure of Man and Woman, pp. 72–77. Wiley, Chichester (2002)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nintendo Co. Ltd: Six Months Financial Results Briefing for Fiscal Year Ending March 2018. (2018)
  9. 9.
    Gillbert, B.: The Nintendo Switch just became the fastest-selling video game console in US history, Online Article, Business Insider (2018)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bhardwaj, R.: The ergonomic development of video game controllers. J. Ergon. 07(04), 209–214 (2017)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ministry to Defence: Standard 00–25: Human Factors for Designers of Equipment. Part 10: Controls (1992)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Isaac L. Ramolete
    • 1
  • Julia Isabel F. Almirante
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juneliza M. Mondragon
    • 1
  • Cyrus Alexander R. Ting
    • 1
  • Michael Angelo Patrick C. Cohen
    • 1
  • Benette P. Custodio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, College of EngineeringUniversity of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

Personalised recommendations