Posted on June 22 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Nintendo’s president recently talked with Gamasutra about the Wii U. It’s an interesting interview, highlighting the origins of the Wii U. It also talks about early ideas about Wii U as a handheld, Wii U third party support, and co-existence between the Wii U and Wii. So, let’s start picking this interview apart, shall we?
Iwata started by telling us about the early brainstorming for the Wii U. It actually started in 2007, just after Nintendo launched the Wii! Iwata explains that he wanted a second screen on the Wii’s successor from day 1. However, Nintendo’s first idea was a smaller screen that stood on a table. Iwata then discussed why they held off on this concept:
Considering how expensive screens were then, it did not make sense to have this big-sized LCD. We would not have been able to come up with a reasonable price point. … We had not decided when we were going to launch the new console [at that point], but we knew we needed to be flexible.
He also said that they debated having the Wii U controller as a portable. I think that it would have been awesome to be able to carry your games around with you! Here’s the reasoning behind why not:
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.
Makes sense. The Wii U controller is likely going to be expensive as it is. If they had needed to add the mechanics to generate images internally on the controller, the price would have likely been astronomical.
Iwata also admitted that the Wii had been a disappointment on the third party front, which was a major contributor to Nintendo’s break of protocol with Wii U’s unveiling. Usually, Nintendo unveils a new console to everyone at the same time. However, this go around, third parties got the console ahead of time so that they could begin work. Why? Nintendo wanted to rectify their mistake with the Wii. That’s also why we had so many leaks this go around.
So, with a new console coming out sometime next year, this is the end of the Wii, right? It would seem that way; the only major Wii games coming out are Skyward Sword and Kirby. But Iwata says that the Wii and Wii U will coexist for a while. The reasoning behind this?
When we consider the people who are first to purchase Wii U and the people who are going to purchase the Wii, I don’t think there will be a great overlap between the two. I believe that those who are waiting to purchase the Wii now are the so-called ‘late adopters’ and the people waiting to purchase the Wii U are early adopters. So for the time after the Wii U [arrives in stores], I believe both systems will be on the market for some time.
Makes sense. Extremely casual gamers are likely the only ones who will buy a Wii now. So, Nintendo can still provide casual games on that console while catering to the hardcores on the Wii U. If you’re in between? You can still get a Wii U and play Wii games with backwards compatibility. Win-win.
So, what do you think of the interview? Would you want anything different about the Wii U?