Grandeur and hype of E3 notwithstanding, Nintendo aims to do everything in its power at this year’s show to stamp out any ominous Wii U warning clouds – the console releases in just a few months this Winter.
But that’s easier said then done. While company might be doubling the number of GamePads capable of interfacing with the Wii U simultaneously (to two!), it appears that actually employing both in unison sends framerate spiraling in the opposite direction – in equal proportion.
Nintendo got the jump on the E3 press cycle with their Sunday-night reveal of the redesigned Wii U GamePad, and Tuesday’s press conference saw Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime give us the intricate tech-spec lowdown on how it all syncs with the console itself. Most notable – aside from the sleekly overhauled aesthetics, rechargeable lithium ion batteries (more on those later), and Near Field Communication layout – was the aforementioned dual GamePad support afforded by the console, and it seems like one of the more innocuous additions a manufacturer could make.
That was, anyway, until Kotaku spotted a tweet from Nintendo quoting president Satoru Iwata. Thanks to the miracles of Google Translate, we can dechiper from the text that an undesirable effect suffixes the linking of a second GamePad:
“If the two [Wii U Gamepads] are connected, frame rate will be halved to 30 frames/second.”
There’s a good chance Nintendo wanted to push that ounce of info out the door now, lest it be discovered on launch day and lend some fervor to the festivities. 30 frames per second isn’t the end of the world – the console versions of Battlefield 3 run on the rate – but it never looks good to have an asterisk on two highly marketable features (60fps and the GamePads).
Obviously, it’s a situation that shouldn’t be too hard to patch up – the site goes on to report another tweet from Iwata, stating: “At launch, we’ll start by offering games that use only one [Wii U GamePad] and then expand from there.” Though whether or not that means a delay for games originally planned as launch titles (perhaps among the 22 titles revealed today) remains to be seen.
Reaction from Nintendo’s E3 press conference was (and this might be a charitable word) mixed, so we’re hoping the controller issues aren’t a slippery slope for the Wii U’s quality. New details released by the company post-presser on the GamePad’s battery specs don’t look to help, as the device will only last for 3 to 5 hours depending on the screen brightness. A full charge via an axillary AC adapter takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to boot.
Ranters, the Wii U’s new GamePads look pretty good in their glossy, shiny display cases, but are you concerned about the system’s final quality? For a company that’s known to be the butt of graphics and processing power jokes (yes, there are graphics and processing power jokes), would such a 30 fps impediment prove especially harmful?
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