Nintendo almost dropped Wii U GamePad

Company president Satoru Iwata reveals tablet controller nearly scrapped due to projection of high cost, takes shot at Microsoft's SmartGlass app.

One of the Wii U's most unique features--the tablet-like GamePad--was nearly scrapped. Speaking to The Telegraph, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that the Tokyo game giant harbored concerns over the cost associated with such a controller.

The Wii U GamePad almost never was, Iwata says.

"Sometime during that final discussion we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen," Iwata said. "This was due to our concern over the expected high cost. It may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers."

Elsewhere in the interview, Iwata explained why he feels the Wii U is an optimal experience when compared to competing offerings, like Microsoft's SmartGlass companion application.

"Just imagine that you are playing with the traditional game controller and they are saying that you need an additional screen as well," he said. "Most of us just have two arms, so how are we meant to hold this additional device?"

Lastly, Iwata was critical of Nintendo's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing last week. He said the company fell short of communicating the uniqueness of the Wii U experience during its presentation.

"I knew there was a lot of skepticism after our presentation asking if the uniqueness would be appreciated by the consumer," he said. "But what happened was that more people came to our show booth every day and started to appreciate the unique approach of the Wii. Even so, that excitement wasn't fully communicated."

The Wii U is due for a worldwide release this holiday season. No price for the system has been announced, but one analyst recently suggested the console must sell for under $300 at launch.

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Discussion

77 comments
eastley000
eastley000

Wii U without the GamePad... That just wouldn't seem very Nintendo at all... They always need to take some "abstract" approach to consoles in order to make them unique. It's sad that 3rd parties were scared away (looking at you Wii), but hopefully Nintendo lands it on the mark this time

rarson
rarson

The thing that worries me about the Wii U is not the hardware or the first-party games. It's the third-party games. I'm not convinced that developers will make the effort to provide unique and rewarding gaming experiences. Nintendo needs to go out of their way to assist and attract developers with unique and interesting ideas.

wyan_
wyan_

I almost dropped a brick in my pants.

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

"Most people only have two hands" haha, most people!

kinghorn316
kinghorn316

Reaaly can people not see what this is really its a giant ds

aka TV = top screen on the ds

aka wii pad = bottom touch screen on the ds

so people what were looking at is a high performance home ds console

jhpeter
jhpeter

Smart glass is really a gimmick and a stupid one since you doesnt need for anything since is just third controller with a screen and NONE buttons.

jhpeter
jhpeter

I would prefer the 4:3 3DS LL to match the VITa (I have both), to come out than Wii U, the E3 was horrible, total deception.

Vodoo
Vodoo

The excitement wasn't communicated, Iwata, because it wasn't there! It's not like the people were holding back tears of joy over your Wii 1.5.

pqwoei
pqwoei

If they're selling it  up to 350 dollars then I'm still good

okassar
okassar

When they say they almost tossed the idea, that's probably talking early in the development process. I'm guessing a lot of the cost is in the touch screen, but they observed that touch screens are becoming much cheaper and will continue to (especially non-multitouch).

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

If this idea was tossed aside, what would Nintendo do about the WiiU Edge?

firstclassgamer
firstclassgamer

"I dont know Goku, I got a bad feeling about all this" (Krillin voice)

 

But I still want WiiU

littleb75
littleb75

I thought the same thing everone has been posting. Then i got to thinking about a ps vita demo with the ps3. they were doing the the same thing with games as the wii u gamepad. but the one thing that sticks in my mind is that if i was to get one, that i could play more games. for of us gamers that dont still live at at mommy and/or daddy's, we generally have kids or or a girlfriend that ties up the tv. for all all real world, secert teen , and reallity bulls--t i have to live with. maybe that screen and support for 2nd gamepad maybe me and my children have a chance to play some mario, zombie u, zelda in hd with some headphones and save us some from the girlfriends tv show misery. and the fact sony wanting to copy it. It might just rock. you dont buy nintendo for parties. its all their ip's you buy the for. So i just waiting to dog it for now. but its nintendo so in my house, its still a buy.  

jaifrecap
jaifrecap

When the president himself doubts the product, you know its a piece of ****

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

..."and so we dropped multi touch capabilities to bring you a cheaped out screen at a decent price."

DrKill09
DrKill09

Then Nintendo realized that idea was too smart.

 

Nintendo love to do sh!t ass backwards.

hadlee73
hadlee73

"Nintendo almost dropped Wii U GamePad". Don't worry, owners will probably drop it often enough to make up for it. Hope its shock-proof.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I have no interest in this.. but interested to see what kind of games they make for it.

emperiox
emperiox

And they should have. The Wii-U is going to be a piece of crap.

Flint247
Flint247

I am glad they did not scrap. Sometimes it is good to take risk and modify your first plans. I would not give up so easily. Now if it were a problem, then I would not mind if they did scrap it. But I am glad they did not give up because I like it better than traditional controllers.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

That gamepad is awfully complicated, and durability is a concern... maybe it's best if they just scrap the idea.

 

MrBlutzIII
MrBlutzIII

i dont understand the quote that he makes, because the screen is on the controller is it not? and its used for like a menu screen or an inventory screen, personally i dont understand the point, why not make an enhanced version or the original wii remote? or just take the stupid screen out and make it a classic controller with a wii motion sensor?, seriously i would have scrapped the extra screen idea

DashRender619
DashRender619

They should have. Fucking oversized Game Gear controller.

oskuuu
oskuuu

so how durable the gamepad is? i've dropped my psp several times (and my phone and everything possible :D) and its still working fine, so i can expect this can take some beating too? but i'd like to know how many %'s of the wii u's price goes to the controller?

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Had they dropped the pad, or made the screen smaller, they would have been able to launch with a ridiculous price. I hope the risk pays off.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

"Most of us just have two arms"

 

I dispute this. Iwata is being racist towards cyborgs and human centipedes.

XanderZane
XanderZane

I think the Wii U will be $350 - $400. If they released it at $299, they will be losing some serious dollars for the first 12-18 months. The tablet controller alone probably costs $100-$150 to manufacture by itself. Nintendo could sell it separately, but it's really one of the main reasons to own a Wii U, so I doubt they will do that.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever

Umm, maybe we could put the tablet on our laps and hold the other controller with our 2 hands.  I don't, it could work! HAHA!  Nintendo is just an epic fail waiting to happen. 

swanlyjosh
swanlyjosh

 @rarson You're exactly right.  Developers are just so stuck in their ways and most of them flat out refuse to take a risk on a new system no matter how good it might be. I mean, that was the major problem with the Wii; developers were just too conservative and it seems most of them would rather just create hyper violent FPS than fun, social gaming experiences now.

rarson
rarson

 @kinghorn316

 

Except that the two screens are no longer fixed, which adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay.

jhpeter
jhpeter

 @kinghorn316 Its kind like that, the good thing is the part u can use the tv for other things when you can play in the tablet.

rarson
rarson

 @jaifrecap

 

He wasn't doubting the product at all. Apparently you lack reading comprehension skills.

rarson
rarson

 @Phazevariance

 

1. A decent price is an absolute necessity. Nintendo has obviously been selling game systems long enough to realize this. Especially since they're facing the task of getting current Wii owners, who may be less likely to buy a new, expensive game console, to upgrade.

 

2. Multi-touch probably wouldn't add much. What the heck would you need multi-touch for? Pinch gestures? You can't hold the thing AND use two hands on the touch screen at the same time.

 

As it is, the controller has all the buttons, all the gyro and accelerometer information, the microphone, AND the touchscreen for input. How much more do you need? If it had 2-finger multi-touch, you'd probably complain that it didn't have 3.

emperiox
emperiox

Like every other Nintendumb console.

rarson
rarson

 @MrBlutzIII

 

It can be used as an inventory screen, or a way to add extra buttons to the controller. Or it can be used as an additional screen, to show areas in the game relative to the player that aren't visible on the main screen. Or it can be used without the TV at all, allowing players to play games on the console without using the TV. I probably wouldn't be interested in the Wii U at all if they had scrapped the controller.

rarson
rarson

 @XanderZane

 

I think his statement pretty much implies that they were targeting a $299 price point. I doubt the tablet controller will cost more than $100 to manufacture, considering you can get 7" tablets off Amazon for $75, and those actually have CPUs inside them. The hardware inside the Wii U, while perfectly capable of high-def gaming, isn't exactly top-shelf, so I doubt it'll cost a lot to manufacture. I think Nintendo will be able to sell it for $299 without taking a big loss.

FoxExecutive
FoxExecutive

 @CrusaderForever Yes because that is how I want to game, with a pad on my lap. Or having to look elsewhere besides the controller or the tv screen.  Maybe they cleaned him out just before they ate him.  Think McFly, THINK!

fig56
fig56

 @CrusaderForeverGood, i have been waiting 30 years for an epic fail. Is it gonna happen soon? NO. you sir are an idiot.

jaifrecap
jaifrecap

 @rarson

hahaha... who says I read it!?!

I just read the title and preview.

Henninger
Henninger

 @emperiox

 Thats funny seeing how Nintendo is the reason ur gaming today.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever

 @FoxExecutive The tablet will more than like be used for a map or to just click on Links boomerang.  So having it sit on your lap or next to you on the couch wouldn't be a big deal.  Also Nintendo should offer the tablet controller as an option not a must have.  They could sell the WiiU a lot cheaper and those who want to be able to click on Links boomerange quickly can go out and purchase the tablet controller. 

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever

 @fig56 Just remember my post when you drop/throw your tablet controller because Kirby's Epic Yarn 2 is to hard for you!  It will be so fun to go out and buy another tablet controller for $150.

MrBlutzIII
MrBlutzIII

 @fig56 personally fig56 i love nintendo games, but this wii u gamepad is almost completely idiotic id say those controller pads are going to range from 90-130 bucks, whose gonna wanna pay that?, and if the console ends up being around 300 or more than people will be dishing out way more money then they should have to

jaifrecap
jaifrecap

 @rarson

 Exactly, I understand your mistake. But don't let it happen again. ;)

rarson
rarson

 @jaifrecap

 

Right, I don't know what I was thinking assuming you actually read the article. Silly me, Gamespot's idiot commenters can't be bothered to read articles, they just read headlines and provide knee-jerk reactions.

rarson
rarson

 @emperiox

 

I'm not insulting you, I'm questioning your maturity. I'm also now questioning your ability to reason based on the giant leap of logic it takes to derive fanboy status from my comment. The only Nintendo console I currently own is an SNES.

 

Given the maturity of your posts, I would guess that you are somewhere in the 8-12 range.

emperiox
emperiox

 @rarson An age insult coming from a Nintendumb fanboy! Ahaha that's rich loser. Suprised you took time off of your Mario games and wii fit just to insult me.

 

rarson
rarson

 @CrusaderForever 

 

Developers won't support a peripheral that doesn't come in the box. If it doesn't come with the console, then it's not worth doing at all. That's the entire point of this article, the fact that Nintendo had to weigh whether or not to sell the Wii U with the controller or not sell the controller at all.

MrBlutzIII
MrBlutzIII

@Spartan_418 @Rovelius then why do this? It sounds like one big pain to me

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @Rovelius Shortly after the Wii U was announced, they hinted that it might only support 1 controller, but they didn't have the specs finalized back then. They've more recently confirmed that it'll support 2 tablet controllers at once; a game's framerate will be cut in half if you do it, though.

MrBlutzIII
MrBlutzIII

 @Rovelius how come they are setup as a controller then? that doesnt make any sense, its the controller and an extra screen so then how would it only be limited to 1 per console