Wii U GamePad's Full Potential Not Yet Realized, Nintendo Says

Wii U games that "fully utilize" the GamePad will be released in 2015, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says.

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The best days for the Wii U GamePad, the system's tablet-like controller that represents the console's standout feature, are still to come, according to Nintendo.

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Speaking Tuesday as part of a financial results briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that in 2015, the company will release Wii U games that "fully utilize the GamePad."

Iwata referenced the slide at left, saying it contains "many titles" that use the GamePad to its fullest. Some of the games mentioned there include Shigeru Miyamoto's Star Fox and Project Giant Robot, as well as Splatoon, The Legend of Zelda, and Xenoblade Chronicles X.

"Gameplay that utilizes the GamePad possesses a large amount of potential, and it can further expand the way parents and children have fun together," Iwata said.

Releasing games that take full advantage of the Wii U GamePad is just one step in Iwata's plan to breathe new life into the Wii U, which has underperformed so far. In addition to the "GamePad Utilization Project" (yes, Nintendo has given it a name), the company plans to bolster the appeal of Wii U through user-generated content initiatives.

In speaking about user-generated content, Iwata specifically mentioned Mario Maker (working title), a game that allows players to create their own levels and then share them with friends. The executive did not outline any further Nintendo plans for user-generated content.

Clearly, Nintendo remains enthusiastic about the opportunities for Wii U as powered by the GamePad. Iwata's latest comments today should help put to bed the idea that Nintendo may do away with the GamePad, something the company has already said it isn't going to do.

The Wii U has sold 9.2 million units as of December 31, 2014. By comparison, the PlayStation 4, which was released a year after the Wii U, has shifted twice that many consoles so far.

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