The Wii U will launch without support for a second GamePad controller, according to Nintendo spokesman Reggie Fils-Aime. That is, the console will physically support a second controller but Nintendo doesn’t expect developers to add support for a second control tablet until “well after launch”.
Reggie was speaking about Nintendo’s next-gen console at the E3 conference in LA last week. The Wii U GamePad is a little different to the average controller, incorporating a tablet-like touch screen with hidden extras like support for NFC tag reading and gyroscope. This, reckons Nintendo, is going to take some time for developers to get their heads around.
“Games need to be built that can take advantage of the two GamePad controllers,”said Reggie. “It’s going to be well after launch for those game experiences to come to life.”
Nintendo is also hopeful that developers will discover innovative new ways to use those extra features. “There’s a lot of things that can be done. I’ve already gotten letters from Pokemon fans wishing we would do something with it.”
We had a hands-on with the Wii U a while back and found the GamePad a rather confusing addition. All it will take is a smart developer to see its potential, though and it could become an essential purchase. In the meantime, the Wii U will also have the more conventional Pro controller which should be capable of two-player action from the get-go.