PSA: Beware of third party Ring Con for Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure has been a massive 2020 hit, with more than 8 million copies sold. Nintendo’s workout game has benefitted from the closure of multiple gyms worldwide due to the pandemic. But it’s also genuinely a good exergame.
The game’s overwhelming success has led to a shortage of inventory, and it’s been difficult to find the game for its regular retail price, for most of 2020. There’s no question that a lot of people have been using “alternate” ways of getting their hands on the game and its accessories.
Specifically, Ring Fit Adventure itself costs $80. The Ringcon is not sold separately at the time being, except in Japan where it can be acquired for about $50 ($55 with shipping). At the time of this writing, Ring Fit Adventure is still available, for $70 (that’s a good deal, trust me) on Amazon and other retailers, but that’s not always been the case and it might not last: with the game being out of stock most of the time, scalpers have been selling it up to $300 at the worst of the pandemic.
Ring fit Adventure cannot be played without its accompanying “Ring Con” accessory, which is a Pilates ring equipped with a flex sensor and fairly simple electronics.
Third Party manufacturers have capitalized on the simplicity of the Ring Con, selling it on electronics online sites such as Aliexpress, for about $30. I believe a lot of people buying those have a pirated version of the game (and frankly, I get it if the alternative is to buy the game from a scalper for $300), and no other way to play it than getting a “bootleg” RingCon.
Some people are saying that third party Ringcons are the exact same thing as the official accessory, minus the branding. I’ve seen claims that they are made in the exact same factories. We tried to test this theory, playing with a fake Ring Con and the real accessory. Our experience says otherwise.
You know it’s not our style to steer you away from a good deal for no good reason. I’ve used my share of “third party” Dance Dance Revolution mats in the past and would have no problem buying those again. But for $30, the fake RingCon we purchased started showing issues on the first day we tried it, and was useless after a month of usage. It also led to a damaged Joycon. By comparison, we’ve been using the real RingCon with a similar intensity for more than a month, and it’s still great.
So what are the issues and risks associated with getting a fake RingCon?
1. A Fake RingCon could Damage your JoyCon.
The first thing we noticed with the fake RingCon was that the JoyCon seemed to not properly hold in place in it. This triggered the game to sometimes ask us to “insert the joycon again”. Best case scenario, this disrupted the gaming experience (and, honestly, you really do not want to be disturbed in this game as it completely interrupts your flow). Worst case scenario, more than once, the JoyCon detached from the Ringcon in the middle of some intense set, and flew away to the other side of the room.
Ultimately, the Joycon detaching from the 3rd party RingCon happened so often that the JoyCon “broke”. Specifically, its bluetooth antenna got disconnected internally, which initially got us to believe the joycon had been permanently damaged (then we opened it and fixed it. Yay!)
2. A Fake RingCon can get damaged, bent, and lose its shape in less than a month, rendering the game unplayable, and could lead to injury.
If you look around on dedicated forums for people complaining about damaged RingCons, you’ll find most of the time that the RingCon in question was not the official one. We’ve seen a few people saying that their official RingCon went from a full circle to an egg shape, and I can see how this would happen with a few months of intense exercise. This is why I didn’t get too worried when, after a week, my third party Ring Con felt “weaker” and didn’t have its perfect circle shape anymore.
After 2 weeks, I thought I was becoming stronger, given how easy it had become to push and pull on the Ring Con :P.
By the end of week 4, this is what the third party Ring Con looked like. Damaged, bent, and unusable.
When it looks like that, most ring “push” (front press, ab guard, shoulder press…) exercises are either too easy, or impossible to complete, depending on how the game decides to interpret the fact that your ring is constantly in a kind of “pressed” position. The game becomes either unplayable, or dangerous as you will try to accomplish the sets with a completely unbalanced form.
By comparison, this is what the official accessory looks like after more than 6 weeks of usage at the same intensity.
I can feel that it still has roughly the same sturdiness it had when we first ordered it, while the fake one almost feels as if I had progressively softened the plastic through my push and pulls. I assume these are not made of the same material. Or do not go through the same QA process. Or both.
What to do if your RingCon is damaged or bent
If your RingCon got damaged or bent, there are two use cases:
If this was a third party Ringcon, not the official one, you’re most likely out of luck. Try to make a case with the store that sold you the item, but chances are, you got what you paid for…We’d recommend you try to get your hands on an official Ringcon next time, and yes, this might mean having to purchase the game once again, depending on your location (in Japan, you can buy the official Ringcon separately from the game, on Nintendo’s accessory site).
If your original Ringcon has been bent or damaged through normal use, you might try to appeal to Nintendo. They might suggest a replacement, depending on the situation. The replacement might not be for free though.
Yes, it’s possible that the Third Party Ring Con we tested was a lemon. Or maybe they all are like that. Who knows, and should we care? If they sold for $5, I’d say it’s worth a try. But at more than half the cost of the official one, I’m not trying again, especially given the risks for my health or my Joycons.
Are there any ring fit Adventure players out there? How are you enjoying that game? Did you run into any trouble with your Ring Con (official or otherwise)? Let us know in the comments