For Nintendo, 2011 has very much been the year of 3DS. It’s been a struggle to get gamers on-board with the glasses-free 3D handheld, but thanks to a timely price drop and promised new features like 3D video recording and downloadable game demos, the 3DS is fully ready for the holiday shopping season, and its sales are actually outpacing those of the original DS.
With Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 about to cement the 3DS’s position in the marketplace once and for all, thoughts naturally turn to Nintendo’s next piece of hardware, the Wii U. The system is scheduled to be fully unveiled at E3 2012, but tantalizing new reports suggest that the hardware is still not final. Why? Because Nintendo is allegedly working to ensure that Wii U can support two tablet controllers. And there was much rejoicing.
The tablet controller controversy started in earnest during E3 2011 when it became known that Wii U would be a one-tablet-only system. Various reasons were offered, from the power of the Wii U’s processor to the associated cost issues. More recently, rumors surfaced that the Wii U tablet controllers still don’t work properly, and that Nintendo’s cost cutting measures may be to blame. So how did we get from there to here?
Wii U’s ability to support two (and no more than two) tablet controllers is apparently evident from “numerous indications within the Wii U codebase.” Speaking with website Develop, the “trusted game development executive” who is the source of this news claims that, post E3, Nintendo has (finally) gotten the message.
“Nintendo now know they absolutely need to support two tablets.”
“At E3 they didn’t commit to this, but they know how important it is to make it technically feasible to support two screens. Even if that affects framerate, as a developer and player, I don’t care. It needs to work. Developers will design appropriate games for this. If you’re building a quiz game you’re not going to give a shit about the framerate.”
In addition to dual tablet controller support, Nintendo has yet to finalize either the Wii U’s processor speed or RAM capacity, according to the TGDE. Nintendo has a vested interest in keeping the Wii U’s price down, but upgrading the system’s specs to support two tablet controllers is bound to have an impact. Will it be worth the expense?
For that matter, what does this mean for the availability of stand-alone tablet controllers? Nintendo previously pledged not to require consumers to buy a second Wii U controller — is that stance out the window now? Or is it possible that the system might actually ship with two controllers?
Finally, how important is it for the Wii U to support two tablet controllers? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
The Nintendo Wii U is expected to launch in 2012.
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