Nintendo’s Wii U is certainly a hot topic amongst the gaming community at the moment, and that’s largely due to the fact that Nintendo didn’t reveal much about the system other than its new controller. Even then, gamers were still mostly confused about the new controller and many who didn’t really pay attention to the details (or lack thereof) thought that it could double as a portable gaming system. Those who thought the new controller would make a cool portable system should know that Nintendo thought about going that way at one point early on in the Wii U‘s development.
Gamasutra recently posted an interview they conducted with Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, and they spoke to him about the newly announced Wii U console. During this interview, Iwata mentioned that some Wii U games would retail for $50, but he also confirmed that Nintendo had talked about making the controller a portable version of the actual gaming system. Obviously, Nintendo decided against doing so due to cost issues, but it’s still an interesting concept to think about.
“During the roundtable discussions there were such arguments about should we make it capable of being a standalone system or should we make it work only with the [base console] system. We came to the conclusion that this controller is only going to show the images generated and processed by this hardware unit — and sent from the hardware unit wirelessly. That means sharper graphics. A battery couldn’t do that.”
Deciding against adding a portability option to the screen-embedded controller was probably a good call by the Big N. Not only would that make buying the system significantly more expensive for consumers, but it would essentially defeat the purpose of owning a Nintendo handheld that was designed with portability in mind (i.e. the Nintendo 3DS). The controller would have to become a lot bigger and heavier than it currently is, and from what we experienced with our recent hands-on with the Wii U is that the last thing the new controller needs is to get even bigger.
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