Although the new Wii U console and its 6.2-inch touchscreen controller, the Wii U GamePad, released years after the iPad tablet from Apple, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said his company was working on the Wii U concept prior to the release and popularity of tablets. Essentially, the Wii U is like a giant Nintendo DS, which is the name Nintendo’s dual-screen handheld – with a touchscreen – that released in 2004.
Last year, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said the Wii U GamePad is not a tablet. With the TV screen and its controller, the Wii U provides a two-screen experience, according to Fils-Aime.
“We began talking about having another screen being a good idea around 2008. We thought thoroughly about our other options, but in the end, this was the idea which was the most logical for us.
“So, in 2009, just as we began to press forward with this idea, sure that we were on the right track, this thing called an ‘Ipad’ came into the world. 2.5 years after the debut of the Ipad, when we were announcing the Wii U, it was the start of the tablet boom, the reaction was, ‘Nintendo’s just added a tablet to a game console, and there’ll be no revolution this time.’
“Even though we’d been working on dual screens prior to the release of tablets, it looked like we were just following a trend.”
-Nintendo President Satoru Iwata