Nintendo's been on a roll lately, launching the red-hot Nintendo Switch and releasing great games like Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2. But how reliable is the company once you need help with those products?
Nintendo's tech support is a tale of two offerings. On one side, you've got an incredibly robust support website and helpful phone agents who can solve problems in minutes. But if you're seeking help from Nintendo on social media, good luck finding it.
To put Nintendo's customer service to the test, we asked the company for help with syncing a Pro Controller, re-downloading digital games and stopping our Switch from automatically turning on the TV. The Big N proved supremely helpful in solving our problems on most platforms, but its lack of social media support is a big bummer.
Web and Social Score: 45/60
Phone Score: 40/40
Average Call Time: 4 minutes, 36 seconds
Total Score: 85/100
Phone Number: 1 (800)-255-3700
Web Support: Link
Web and Social Support
Nintendo's customer-support website is remarkably clean and easy to use. When you first fire it up, you'll see big icons for common help cases, such as repairs and digital purchases, as well as for specific consoles, such as the Switch, 3DS and NES Classic.
Once I clicked the Switch icon, I saw a robust support page that featured a search bar as well as a list of popular help topics. I found answers to all three of my questions within a few minutes simply by searching for them.
Nintendo's website also offers a live-chat option for folks who want to avoid picking up the phone. I tested Nintendo's chat service on a weekday morning, and after specifying my platform and problem, I was connected to an agent named Wes within a minute. Once I asked for help with re-downloading an eShop game, he responded with concise, clear instructions almost instantly.
It's a good thing Nintendo's customer-support website is so robust, because you won't find any help on social media. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo doesn't have any dedicated support accounts on social channels, and its main brand accounts proved to be entirely unresponsive in my testing.
I sent both a Tweet and a direct message to Nintendo's Twitter account regarding one of my support issues and didn't get a response to either. When I moved over to Facebook, I found that the official Nintendo and Nintendo Switch pages don't even accept messages or wall posts. That's a bummer.
Nintendo's phone support is available between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET every single day, and it proved to be exceptional in my testing. All of the company's phone agents were friendly, answered my questions in about 5 minutes and, for the most part, exhibited a solid understanding of Nintendo products.
When you call Nintendo, a brief automated voice menu asks you to pick whichever console you're having issues with and to specify your problem. After a few taps, I was quickly connected, at 3:30 p.m., to David, an amicable, energetic support agent who helped me re-download my deleted digital copy of Namco Museum. David successfully walked me through the eShop and helped me get my game back, even cracking a few jokes in the process. I was on the phone for all of 5 minutes.
For my next call, I talked to Damien at 12:55 p.m. about syncing my new Pro Controller to my Switch. Damien went through a few more steps than David did, asking me for the serial number of my Switch as well as the last game I played on it. He correctly informed me that I could sync my controller up using a USB-C cable, though I didn't have one handy. Damien then walked me through syncing up my controller wirelessly, and while he didn't immediately know where my controller's sync button was, it didn't take him long to find that info. The call was over in 5 minutes.
During my final call, at 10:44am, I posed a more difficult question to Olivia: How do I get my Switch to stop automatically turning on my TV? Olivia seemed a bit perplexed by my query at first, noting that this is what naturally happens when your Switch is docked. Fortunately, the support agent proceeded to search Nintendo's database for my issue, and found a tutorial for disabling the Switch's "Match TV power state" feature. Even with that early hiccup, my problem was solved within 4 minutes.
Nintendo consoles come with a one-year warranty, which covers manufacturing and workmanship defects. If you have to send your system to Nintendo for repairs, the company will cover the costs of shipping and insure any damages. Nintendo games are also under warranty, but only for three months.
I was very satisfied with almost every facet of Nintendo's tech support, whether I was talking to friendly support agents on the phone or online or scouring the company's very helpful tutorial database. I just wish that I could get that same stellar help on social media.
Xbox and PlayStation both make it incredibly easy to get help via a quick tweet, and if Nintendo follows suit, it could have the most robust and high-quality tech support of any console maker. But even with its odd lack of social media support, Nintendo provides plenty of ways to get fast, accurate solutions to your pressing Switch problems.
Illustration: Tom's Guide
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.