Nintendo said Friday it will replace 3.2 million straps for its popular Wii computer game controllers after the Japanese gamemaker received a rash of reports that the device flew out of the hands of enthusiastic players.
The wand-like remote controller is used to mimic the motions of a tennis racket, golf club or sword, depending on the game.
But soon after the Wii went on sale last month, people started reporting cases of the controller's strap breaking as they waved it about vigorously.
Nintendo will offer customers to exchange the old straps, which have a 0.6 millimeter (0.024 inch) diameter, for a beefed up strap that has a diameter of 1 millimeter (0.04 inch), company spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said. The worldwide recall is expected to cost the company several million dollars.
"People tended to get a bit excited, especially while playing Wii sports and in some cases the control would come loose from their hands," Minagawa said. "The new strap will be almost twice as thick."
The controls is one of the unique features of the Wii, which Nintendo introduced as its counterchallenge in a fierce three-way battle with Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360.
Nintendo is hoping the ease of the controls will draw a new generation of players.
The company also recalled 200,000 AC adapters for its DS and DS Lite consoles in Japan on Friday. Nintendo said the recall would not affect adapters overseas, and officials expected only a small impact on earnings.
That recall will cost Nintendo about $1 million.