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I bought a refurbished Wii and I felt the remotes were not performing as well as I remembered them. So I started looking up the net and it seems that counterfeit Wii remotes that look quite like the original are a "thing". I weighed them and they are 80g with the strap, which is indeed a bit light according to some sources. To make sure I opened one and it does not look like the pics I see from genuine Wii remotes. But just to make sure Nintendo has not changed the designed and I am looking at older pics only, could you guys weigh-in and tell me if I am right and these are knock-offs?

Thanks!

EDIT: I also see that the sensitivity setting for the sensor bar appears to do nothing when used with these remotes. Supposedly changing the sensitivity affects the IR sensitivity of the remote, but from min to max it makes no difference. I guess that's a way to tell a counterfeit, right?

Wii Remote PCB Wii Remote

Edit 2: I contacted the seller and he did not debate at all, he told me he is sending two replacement remotes. Thanks for the answers, not sure which one I should "accept".

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for validation on a particular users hardware authenticity. We are not Nintendo, so we can not tell you with a 100% guarantee if the controller is authentic or not. Perhaps you would be better seeking Nintendos input, through their support services? – user106385 Dec 2 '15 at 1:50
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    @Timelord64 why does that make it off topic? – Aequitas Dec 2 '15 at 2:00
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    @Timelord64 how is it not possible to answer? as a community of gamers i'd say there's quite a high chance that at least one person has a wiimote, all they have to do then is open it up as op has done and look to see if it kinda looks the same. – Aequitas Dec 2 '15 at 2:21
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    I would say this could be re-addressed to "how can I tell if my wii remote is counterfeit", asking for general solutions to determining obvious fakes. Does not stray off the original path all that much, but if the pictures are used as a reference instead of an absolute identification requirement, this becomes easier to answer in an absolute manner. Also, seeing as were addressing what to look for, and not what is wrong with OPs specific 'potential counterfeit', this would be more helpful to future users. – user106385 Dec 2 '15 at 2:29
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    Good question and supporting media, entirely answerable and on-topic. Rules-pedantry not required (or useful) here. – aroth Dec 3 '15 at 7:20
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It's definitely not an official Nintendo remote, unless there's a regional manufacturing difference I'm unaware of.

There's no Wii logo!

Do a Google image search for "wii remote" and look at the bottom.

It is not "counterfeit". If it were, it would have the Wii logo.

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    oh wow I can't believe everyone missed this, the most definitive proof in all the answers here for sure. – Aequitas Dec 3 '15 at 10:30
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    Don't have a controller at hand.. is the "Wii" label: a sticker? Serigraphy? Etched into the plastic? Anyway, +1. – Roflo Dec 3 '15 at 15:30
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    @Roflo i don't have one at hand either, but i know for sure it's not a sticker. not sure if it's etched or what, but as i best remember, the surface of the wiimote is entirely smooth over and around the logo. it's not something that could easily be scraped off (if even at all), in other words. also, Aequitas, the screws are definitive proof as well. – Apologize and reinstate Monica Dec 3 '15 at 15:55
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    I don't believe I missed this! I was looking at the model number markings, the nintendo on the battery cover (there was one) and other minor things, but I forgot about that huge logo! If you put it next to the genuine controller it is really obvious, but I completely forgot! – Ecuador Dec 4 '15 at 15:18
  • @Reaces there's a difference between a 3rd party controller that's sold to work with the Wii, but doesn't pretend to be an official first party controller; and a counterfeit that puts all the logos on and pretends to be an official first party Nintendo controller. – GAThrawn Dec 6 '15 at 13:47
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First tip is actually the screws.

Article from IGN on Wiimote disassembly

The screws are suppose to be triwings (Y shaped), and one needs a special screwdriver for them. The fact that they are using standard Philips screws seems to indicate a counterfeit.

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    This seems pretty conclusive to me – Aequitas Dec 2 '15 at 3:41
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    I noticed that, but it was not bought "new" so somebody could claim it is the refurbishment process. But it is one more indicator I guess. – Ecuador Dec 2 '15 at 11:17
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    Couldn't this also just indicate that the screws had been replaced? It's most likely that it's fake, but not necessarily conclusive. – Carcigenicate Dec 2 '15 at 17:58
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    If it's a factory (Nintendo) authorized refurbishment shop, the shop should have access to the custom parts and tools and use those Y-shaped screws. In fact, the linked article indicates they're not unreasonably difficult to come by. – T.J.L. Dec 2 '15 at 20:31
  • If the shop can take off the original Y screws, they can put it back in. The alternatives in taking off the screws is to drill them out, but this prevents reassembly. – Nelson Dec 2 '15 at 23:48
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All evidence suggests...

It's most definitely a counterfeit (or an unlicensed generic brand)

External clues

  • First tip is actually the screws (see this article from IGN on Wiimote disassembly: The screws are suppose to be Y shaped, and you were suppose to need a special screw driver for them. The fact that they are using standard Philips screws seems to indicate a counterfeit (as T.J.L. said, an authorized refurbishment shop should have access to the tools for those Y-shaped screws).
  • Another very noticable tip is that there's no Wii logo! If you do a Google image search for "wii remote" and look at the bottom.
  • If you check the plastic parts you'll notice the absence of the "Nintendo" legend. If you look at a official wiimote it will say Nintendo on each of the plastic case parts. This absence of the word Nintendo marks it as a counterfeit immediately. It may still function correctly but it is not an official wiimote.

Internal clues

From a hardware design point of view, there are a few clues that may be extracted. This is a breakdown of the main differences of the PCB (ie: the green board) with a new controller (image is apparently copyrighted, so it's not being included here).

  1. The main components (ie: the black chips soldered to the green board) are very different. The ones in your controller are smaller, and although it's hard to make out the manufacturer it's not far fetched to assume they're cheaper than the "official" ones, which are from well known and trusted manufacturers.

  2. Silkscreen (ie: the white labels printed on top of the green board) are different in engineering practices. Your picture shows a very basic silkscreen use: it just says which component is which. In the image I linked above, silkscreen use follows a much more professional use (arrows for pin identification, label areas, indications for testing).

  3. Individual serial number / manufacturing id. On the image I linked to, there's a silkscreen rectangle to the left, where a number is marked with black ink. A truly professional company (like one expects Nintendo to be) will mark each individual controller when assembled. This allows to track every single controller together with the PCB's serial markings in silkscreen.

Functionality

  1. Sensor bar sensitivity. If you try to adjust the remote's sensor bar sensitivity from the Wii options, nothing really happens. From settings 1 to 5 the "dot" display will remain exactly the same, as counterfeit controllers seem to cut some corners in their IR sensor logic.

In conclusion, your images don't seem to be from a product that's supposed to have all sorts of certifications, be manufactured in several locations, be sold worldwide, and be supported globally in proper way.

  • Thanks. The most visible difference is that huge capacitor that your image has. AFAIK for capacitors size does matter, right? ;) – Ecuador Dec 2 '15 at 15:25
  • @Ecuador sure, maybe. But I wouldn't be 100% sure. There might be a manufacturer that has a smaller capacitor with much better characteristics than a bigger counterpart (would be more expensive, of course). – Roflo Dec 2 '15 at 15:28
  • Why have you included information from other answers? I've already read the ones above and don't need to read it twice. – Martin Smith Dec 5 '15 at 6:47
  • @MartinSmith This answer is a community wiki answer, a very useful feature of SE sites. You can read more about it in this page. – Roflo Dec 5 '15 at 15:25
  • I'm aware of the concept of community wiki. I've been on StackExchange for nearly 7 years. I don't find repeating information from existing answers on the same page useful whether the answer is CW or not though. – Martin Smith Dec 5 '15 at 15:26
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If you look at a official wiimote it will say Nintendo on each of the plastic case parts. It may be due to the quality of your photos but I do not see the brand name anywhere on it. This absence of the word Nintendo marks it as a counterfeit immediately. It may still function correctly but it is not an official wiimote.

  • IMO, this is the best, simplest answer. Companies tend to always brand things because their name is a trademark that can't be copied. – JPhi1618 Dec 2 '15 at 21:54
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    @JPhi1618 s/can't/isn't allowed to/ but that never stopped counterfitters – ratchet freak Dec 3 '15 at 0:45
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    @ratchetfreak right, but "3rd party" products like the one pictured are obvious because of the missing name. – JPhi1618 Dec 3 '15 at 0:48
  • The brand name being present doesn't prove a widget isn't counterfeit, but the brand name being absent proves that it is counterfeit (assuming the real thing is branded, as we know Wiimotes are). – zwol Dec 3 '15 at 19:14
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    @zwol i would stress the difference between counterfeit and knock-off brand ... it's perfectly legal to manufacture third-party wii remotes, so i wouldn't call the one in the question a "counterfeit". it's just an off-brand that someone sold to OP, trying to pass off as the real thing. if it were a true counterfeit, it would HAVE the wii logo. – Apologize and reinstate Monica Dec 4 '15 at 18:15

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