updated 08:25 am EDT, Thu June 23, 2011
Wii U controller could have been stand-alone
Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has revealed in an interview with Gamasutra that the Wii U controller could have been a standalone portable system. Iwata also reveals he and his team knew as far back as 2007 that they wanted to add a second screen to its next-gen console. The team would liked to have done so for the Wii, but cost considerations persuaded Nintendo otherwise.
In the early stages of planning, the Wii U's second screen was not included as part of a controller as it is now, but was simply a second display that might sit on a table.
"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," says Iwata. "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."
At the E3 demo of the device, Nintendo demoed 2D version of Super Mario that did not need the TV to be on. However, it still requires the console to be on. The controller is capable of supporting higher definition images and responsive gameplay because the console uses an ultra-high bandwidth wireless spectrum. It also helps to minimise latency when the Wii U controller is being used for dual-screen play.