Nintendo to replace wrist strap on Wii controller

Times Staff Writer

Nintendo of America on Friday issued a "Wiicall."

The video game maker will replace the wrist strap for its Wii console's novel controller amid reports that some straps broke during game play, causing the device to fly out of users' hands and shatter television screens.

The voluntary recall represents a setback for the popular console, which outsold Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 game system more than 2 to 1 last month and nearly matched sales of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, according to sales data collected by NPD Group. The Wii, pronounced "whee," is the most sought-after of the game systems based on Internet searches, according to researcher Hitwise.

Nintendo said the wrist strap was designed as a precaution, in case players lost their grip on the wireless Wii remote, which senses motion. The website has more than a dozen accounts of people who lost control of the remote while playing various Wii sports games and impaled their television sets.

"It's a very, very small percentage of players whose wrist straps have broken," Nintendo spokeswoman Beth llewelyn said. "It's because of very exuberant game play. People are really getting into the game and letting go of the controller."

Nintendo has replaced the wrist strap with a beefier one on its upcoming console shipments. Consumers can obtain a replacement wrist strap by calling (800) 859-4519 or visiting the website

The website also offers tips for proper Wii remote usage, including advice that players use smaller gestures while playing and dry their hands if they become moist.

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