Today at 11:59AM I created a dispute with Paypal regarding the fake Wii controllers, which was immediately escalated to a claim because the seller "is unable to respond." I offered my previous post as evidence and at 5:44PM, not even 6 hours later, Paypal granted the claim in my favor issuing a full refund. I'm very happy with how quickly this was resolved, but a little disappointed to find that eBay has done nothing to revoke this guy's selling privileges. Because of this, many more people will be buying poor-quality fake Wii controllers and probably won't even realize it. I hope my post can at least serve as a warning to those people.

Update: I received this message from the seller, finally responding to my email hours after the claim had already been resolved and I'd received my refund:


Sorry, is there anything wrong with the order?
It is original. Not fake.
Could not it work well? anything we can help you, please contact us.

So there you have it. Not only will these people sell you extremely elaborate fakes, they'll insist that they're legitimate models. Pretty shady stuff. And yet not even 10 minutes after I left negative feedback for this seller he'd already received positive feedback from two other buyers, likely unaware that they've received cheap knockoffs. So PLEASE, DO NOT buy Wii accessories (or electronics in general, really) from sellers based in Hong Kong unless you're ok with getting a fake, or you may end up being forced to file a claim with paypal.

Fake Wii Remote & Nunchuk

I recently purchased an extra remote and nunchuk for my new Wii console, and against my better judgment I decided to order them from an eBay seller based in Hong Kong. I know what you're thinking. I should have seen it coming, and to be honest I sort of did. But at $60 MSRP, who can resist trying to save a few bucks on a set of Wii controllers? I was optimistic about getting a genuine model.

The eBay user I purchased from has a 99.7% positive feedback score of over 4,000, which makes me wonder how many other people have ordered the same item from him without even realizing they've been conned. These aren't glaringly obvious fakes if you don't know what to look for, so I'm going to run you through a comparison just to show how accurate these fake models are.

A few years back I purchased a copy of Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance for the GBA from a user on the SomethingAwful forums and it was pretty easy to tell that it was a bootleg from the poorly printed label and the fact that the Nintendo seal imprinted in the plastic actually said "NIntondo" on it. Well it seems Chinese ripoffs have become more sophisticated over the years, and these fake Wii remotes are pretty close to the originals. I didn't care much about the GBA bootleg back then because it was cheap and it played just like the real thing, even in multiplayer. Likewise, having saved $30 or so on these remotes, I probably wouldn't care that they're fake if they functioned as well as the official models. But what progress bootleggers have made in cosmetics with these fakes, they're lacking in functionality.

Upon opening the package, I noticed right away the slight cosmetic differences. No biggy, the seller said that this remote was a Japanese model and even official Wii remotes manufactured in different parts of the world are known to have subtle differences. I popped in my rechargable battery pack from another remote and attempted to turn on the new remote. Nothing. Not off to a good start... After replacing the battery pack with AA batteries the remote finally sprung to life and I was able to sync it to the system normally. Ok, so it doesn't work with the rechargable pack. At this point I decided to read up a little about fake Wii remotes online. Here are some of the most common complaints I found regarding functionality of the fake models:

- Worsened sensitivity/tracking.
- No rumble, Weak rumble, or rumble that just "feels different."
- Speaker volume roughly 10x louder than normal and non-adjustable from the system menu.

Upon testing my remote on these three points, I found that the sensitivity/tracking was definitely an issue. If you take a properly calibrated official remote and move it around the screen quickly in small circles, you'll see that it tracks quite smoothly and you shouldn't notice any "jumping" in your cursor's movement. Doing this with the fake remote, I noticed my cursor would jump around the screen as if it's updating my movements at a much slower rate than the official remote. Even when just moving the cursor slowly in a straight line, the smooth movement I'm used to with the Wii remote is replaced by jerky, erratic movement with the fake model.

I was pleased to find that the rumble works, but upon comparing it side-by-side with an official remote I found that it does in fact feel very different. Stronger, actually, and much less subtle on the system menu when scrolling over channels.

The speakers seemed fine, however. Volume adjustment worked just fine and the controller didn't seem any louder or softer than my official remotes.

Here are some pictures comparing my fake remote (always pictured on the LEFT side) to two official remotes with subtle differences.

The envelope, shipped from Hong Kong.

First look at the remote. (fake on the left, two originals on the right and middle)
The fake has:
- Larger embedded hole around the Home button (and the power button, not pictured)
- Inconsistently sized and placed speaker holes (possibly hand-drilled?)
- The protruding 1, 2, 3 and 4 dots above the indicator lights are smaller and more recessed.
- The plastic above the indicator LEDs is a more transparent plastic, you can see through it as opposed to the more clouded plastic on the original remote. As a result of this the LEDs appear MUCH brighter than normal. (hard to tell in the picture)
- 1 and 2 buttons have a glossier finish.

Nunchuk plugs on the remote.
The gold contact on the fake is shinier and much more roughly cut, whereas the contact on the genuine model is opaque and very smoothly cut.

IR receivers on the front of the remote.
The plastic shell on the fake model overlaps itself and doesn't line up correctly, where the plastic on the genuine models are flush and have an even "slot" in the plastic all the way around.

Difficult to see in the picture, but the Nintendo logo on the fake is a much larger and shallower mold than on the genuine models.

The FCC ID is printed differently on the fake, though I have seen it printed this way on pictures of other supposedly legitimate controllers. The plastic on the back half of the shell also feels very different, since the fake uses different types of plastic throughout.

The fake is missing a hole near the top of the battery slots and a post which separates the batteries and prevents them from moving around. Also the sync button is a different type of plastic which has a glossier finish and darker shade of red. It's also slightly smaller and doesn't fit the hole as tightly as it should, which allows it to curve slightly to the side.

The battery backings have circles left in the manufacturing process in different places, indicating a different mold. The obvious ones in this picture are on the "release" part that snaps down into the controller, but there are also several others that are harder to get a good picture of.

Now the nunchuk. The plastic on the fake nunchuk's joystick feels cheap and rubbery. You can see how the glossy finish reflects light much differently than the matte finish on the genuine model. The stick itself feels very stiff and harder to move, lacking the sensitivity of a genuine model.

Nintendo always uses triwing screws. The fakes use phillips head screws here. (Interestingly enough, the two screws at the back of the nunchuk are both triwing on the fake, though they're flat-headed as opposed to the round-head triwings on my original model.)

The wire on the fake is almost 4 inches longer. Not necessarily a bad thing, but worth noting as a difference.

Again, hard to see in the picture, but the original nunchuk has the voltage rating written throughout the length of the cable. The fake (above) is missing this print.

Moral of the story: If you're trying to save money and want a legitimate product, do NOT buy Chinese. Ever.

Update: I've found user-submitted photos of the genuine Japanese controllers on Dealextreme which confirm that some of the traits I've observed on the fakes are indeed fake, and not simply subtle differences due to being Japanese imports as the seller suggests on the item listing. I've filed a claim with Paypal and am awaiting results.


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