Respected tech analysis site Digital Foundry has written an interesting article titled The Secrets of the Wii U GamePad. The Wii U GamePad has been reverse-engineered by the developers behind Dolphin. The team contacted developer Pierre Bourdon to find out more about the innovative device. The conclusion that the team came to is that the Wii U GamePad isn’t anywhere near as complex as the most basic Android powered tablet.
The GamePad itself isn’t anywhere near as complex as even the most basic Android tablet – essentially it’s a standard game controller, with a touch-screen and a WiFi card, paired up with a decoder chip for the incoming video stream. Controller inputs themselves are beamed back to the Wii U via the same WiFi channel (180 times per second no less), in contrast to the Bluetooth employed by the Wiimote.
Datel Japan have released pictures of a sleek aluminium Famicom-style faceplate for the Wii U GamePad. This design is intended for use with a Deluxe Wii U set, as the buttons on a Famicom controller are black. With the faceplate on, the GamePad will not work in the standard Wii U charger cradle. Luckily, Datel Japan offers an alternate cradle that allows the GamePad with faceplate to fit. It is not clarified whether or not the faceplate will interfere with NFC-based activities. The faceplate will be launching July 31st, at ¥1,980 (about $20).
During a recent financial results briefing, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said his company feels “deeply responsible” for not trying hard enough to explain the Wii U to consumers. Unfortunately, for Nintendo, there are still some people who think the Wii U GamePad is a peripheral for the Wii console, and some think the Wii U is merely a Wii with a tablet controller. Iwata says it’s been a “grand challenge” for Nintendo in terms of trying to communicate the product value of Wii U to consumers.
Regarding Wii U, the release intervals of first-party key titles have been so much longer than we expected at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January that we have not successfully maintained the momentum of the platform. In addition, we have not been able to solidly communicate the product value of Wii U to our consumers yet, which has been a grand challenge for us.
Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii. We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product.
Wii U might still have no such captivating game title as “Wii Sports” for Wii, with which people immediately comprehended its product value, but it surely has a lot of factors appreciated by users. We would like to take time to work thoroughly for its penetration, by making various efforts to have many people understand its product value as well as enriching the software lineup.
-Nintendo President Satoru Iwata
Nintendo has launched three new commercials in the US to advertise the Wii U as, once again, a family console. Despite what Michael Pachter said, Nintendo has decided to market the Wii U as a ‘family orientated’ console, just like its predecessor.
The first commercial, featured above, sees the Vanorsby family playing on the console and saying ‘we gotta upgrade’. The second and third families skate along the same line, exploring the main differences of the GamePad against the Wii Remote, emphasising that you can play both on and off-screen. The Haskins family even says that when you hold the GamePad it’s much ‘easier’, providing smoother game play. Do you think the new commercials will help bring in the family market and create a success similar to the Wii?
The latest issue of CoroCoro Comic reveals that the first Wii U game to use NFC is Pokémon Rumble U, which launches in Japan next month, on April 24th. On the same day the game is out, consumers in Japan can purchase Pokémon figures from Pokémon Center stores that appear in Pokémon Rumble U via the Wii U GamePad’s NFC feature. The Pokémon figures resemble their toy counterparts in the Pokémon Rumble series, and they will cost 200 Yen each, which is roughly $2.
Nintendo has released a new Japanese overview trailer for Wii U title Game & Wario, which launches in Japan on March 28th. There are a total of 16 minigames in the party game, all of which utilize many features of the Wii U GamePad, including its 6.2-inch touchscreen, gyroscope, accelerometer and buttons. Based on the new trailer, it looks like all the minigames in Game & Wario integrate asymmetric gameplay, where in each minigame, the TV and Wii U GamePad display different images, but both of their screens must be used.
The Wii U GamePad of NeoGAF member nbthedude was, unfortunately, misplaced. The controller, which features a 6.2-inch touchscreen, was never found, so the owner ordered a replacement from Nintendo. To his or her surprise, the owner had to pay over $150 to receive a replacement – the price was accumulated from the cost of the controller itself, sales tax and a shipping charge. If your Wii U GamePad is misplaced, your only option is to order a replacement directly from Nintendo, as the new controllers aren’t currently sold as stand alone products in stores.
Nintendo has revealed the box art for upcoming Wii U party title Game & Wario. The game features 16 mini-games, some of which were designed for five players. For example, in the mini-game ‘Fruit,’ the main player uses the Wii U GamePad to control one character on the TV screen to steal fruit. Once the main player finishes the thievery, he or she passes the Wii U GamePad to the other four players, who must attempt to find the suspect. Game & Wario is scheduled to launch in North America on June 23rd.
Nintendo’s Google Maps application for Wii U is out in Japan. Wii Street U allows for you to use the Wii U GamePad to look around your environment while mapping data is shown on the television screen. Until the end of May, the application can be downloaded for free from the Nintendo eShop in Japan. There’s no word on whether Wii Street U will be released in other regions, but we sure hope it does.
Legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that Pikmin 3 will feature Off-TV Play. According to Miyamoto, you can play the forthcoming real-time strategy video game on the Wii U console’s primary controller, the Wii U GamePad, without the need for a TV screen, thanks to its 6.2-inch touchscreen. While it hasn’t been given an official release date yet, Pikmin 3 is scheduled to launch in the spring.
“You can play this game only with Wii U GamePad. If it is hard to imagine what it will be like, maybe you can recall the visuals of the original “Pikmin” for Nintendo GameCube and imagine how you can play it with the smaller but more detailed screen in your hands. The two control sticks of Wii U GamePad will let you play this game more comfortably and, with a TV screen, the gyro sensor inside Wii Remote Plus will further help your gameplay.”