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Why The Wii U Never Supported Dual GamePads

The doomed console never lived long enough to make the most of its unique hardware.


Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé has touched on a big Wii U question in a recent interview--could the console have supported multiple GamePad connections? The answer is technically yes, but there are many reasons why this feature was never implemented.

Speaking to MinnMax, as picked up by Eurogamer, Fils-Aimé explained that there was never a good reason for consumers to buy and connect a second GamePad, so it was never implemented from Nintendo's side--despite Nintendo publicly acknowledging the possibility for consoles to connect multiple GamePads.

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"With the Wii U, there was a full development plan for all of the interesting interactions and all of the interesting capabilities that the system could do," he explained. "So in that case, technically could multiple gamepads communicate with a Wii U? Answer was 'yes', but the install base never got large enough that that type of implementation made sense."

"Most importantly, the company didn't create a game where you needed another GamePad in order to have a great experience," he elaborated. "The lifespan of the Wii U ended up being so short that it just never came to pass."

Many of the multiplayer games on the Wii U ended up leaning into the idea that players would only have one GamePad, often implementing asymmetrical play--but it would have been interesting to see what a game requiring a second GamePad may have looked like. But without that game, Fils-Aimé concludes, it just wasn't worth it for Nintendo to offer the option.

"From Nintendo's perspective, there needs to be a game that drives that implementation, that enables the player to see why you would need a second GamePad," he explained.

For all the Wii U's disappointments, it was an important step for Nintendo towards developing the Nintendo Switch. The hybrid console celebrated its fifth anniversary this year and is still going strong, with the potential to break the PS2's record for home console sales.

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