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Nintendo: Wii U Controllers Not Sold Separately, 3DS May Work As Controller
Nintendo: Wii U Controllers Not Sold Separately, 3DS May Work As Controller
June 9, 2011 | By Mike Rose

There is confusion regarding whether or not multiple Wii U controllers will be able to connect to a single console, as media reports suggest it may be possible.

Nintendo unveiled its upcoming Wii U console at E3 this week. It's set to feature HD graphics and a built-in 6.2" touchscreen, and is meant to offer "a new structure for home entertainment".

Talking to news site CVG, a Nintendo spokesperson noted that the controllers will only come with the console, explaining, "Both the controller and the console will be sold as one unit. You won't be able to buy the controller alone."

However, in an interview with, Nintendo director and industry veteran Shigeru Miyamoto said that multiple controllers connected to one console may well be possible. He also noted that players may be able to use their Nintendo 3DS as a controller for the upcoming console.

"Our basic premise is that you can use one with a system," he noted, before musing, "If we got to an idea of having multiple (controllers) it might be just more convenient for people to use their Nintendo 3DS and have a way to connect that."

He continued, "That being said, we are doing research about if someone brings their controller to their friend's house and they want to play together on Wii U to whether or not something like that would be possible."

Nintendo has noted that it expects the console and its unique touchscreen-based controller to sell for more than ¥20,000 ($250) in 2012.

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Bjoern Loesing
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So, does this mean it's singleplayer only? Isn't that counterproductive trying to engage the more casual gamer crowd?

With the touchscreen, I would LOVE to see a cooperative sci-fi game where every player had their own touchpad command control, according to whatever station in the ship they occupy.

Alas, one can dream.

Bjoern Loesing
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Clarification "singleplayer" as in one person, one console. Or taking turns, but none of the furious simultaneous action the Wii seems to have been used for rather regularly....

Jamie Mann
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@Bjoern: the implication from the promo video is that the touchscreen is only of use for singleplayer games and turn-based multiplayer. For local multiplayer, you'll have to use a Wiimote, effectively making the Wii U little more than a HD-resolution Wii.

(admittedly, you could argue the same applies between the Xbox/Xbox 360 and PS2/PS3. But given Nintendo's focus on multiplayer over the last few generations, it's surprisingly to see them deliberately limiting the Wii U's multiplayer capabilities)

Jamie Mann
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To be honest, all Miyamoto is doing is throwing out possibilities. We "might" be able to get multiple touchscreens working. We "might" be able to support the use of the 3DS as a controller.

In reality, they probably won't - for the touchscreen, the bandwidth/processing power required to support streaming multiple HD-resolution video feeds is significant (especially if each view is unique), which in turn would impact gameplay.

And as for the 3DS: aside from the cost of buying multiple 3DSs, past "handheld/console" hookup experiments have had poor uptake (e.g. the GBA/Gamecube hookup, the DS/Wii hookups (Geometry Wars) - and if you want to go back further, the Dreamcast/NGP link-up system).

All told, this is likely to be just some damage control in an effort to stop Nintendo's shareprice dropping further...

Arnaud Clermonté
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who says the controller screen is HD ?

Jamie Mann
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@Arnaud: that's a fair point - as far as I'm aware, noone's confirmed the visual resolution of the touchscreen yet. But the odds are good that it's 720p - 480p would look distinctly pixellated on a screen that size!

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The screen could be 480p and it will still produce good visuals on a scale down.

Apple always see share prices drop on an announcement of a new product and no one complains about that anymore.

I still hold the assumption that Nintendo will allow developers a choice to whether they want their game LANed from one console across multiple screens (4) or if each player need to have there own console to play the multiplayer game. What I don't get is why everyone is/was OK with the fact that you need to have multiple Ps3 or Xbox360 in a room to play LAN style games online. How many night did I have to bring my PS3 and my small flat screen to a friends house to play online with them as a team against others. They should leave this up to the development community to figure out how to solve the problem and see if they can come up with a solution.

warren blyth
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Strongly agree, Mr. Mann.

I think the core of their idea is to offer a cheap tablet experience, by storing the "brains" near your tv.

Sending 4 separately rendered HD images (and also processing 4 different touch screens +gyros +accelerometers and +button inputs) would need notably more bandwidth. That would start to sound like expensive guts needed in the unit near your TV, which might not be used. Doesn't sound smart.

I think their goal was to sell a "dumb-screen" you hold in your hands, which is cheap to make, but offers many of the UX benefits of tablet computers. Basically a large version of the DS's lower screen. That sounds like nintendo logic. (finding a way to re-purpose cheap components which they already know how to make).

If you wanted to have 4 input screens doing different things, it's better if each has its own "brains." I think miyamoto was just saying "multiple screen gaming" can be handled just fine with 3DS devices. Hopefully they'll consider this now and make it super easy to connect/setup those devices (no cables!).

It sounds expensive to ask everyone to own a 3DS... and brings up old memories of failed cross-connectivity experiments. but. imagine 4 people playing "3D games" on the same WiiU, because each has their own personal 3D screen! That sounds pimp.

* However, I was very excited by the idea of 4 touch screen controllers sharing one HDtv "upper screen" (because that would be something new to the DS concept). I think preparing people to NOT expect that is also part of the damage control here. (and maybe a sign that promising to give away Zelda4Swords was a confusing mixed signal in their press conference?)

* After everyone gets over the letdown, i think they'll accept that one screen controller per WiiU still offers plenty of room to invent asynchronous experiences (where 4 people use the established wiiMote paradigms, while a 5th rocks the tablet).


* p.s. i'm lightly curious if that black bar atop the tablet contains the 2 IR lights necessary for a WiiMote to point at it. (ie., i'm curious if they'll let you play a current wii game using this tablet as a second screen). ... I guess you can play single player just find, substituting touch for wiimote. and the screen is too small for 4 people to use it as a monitor... but it does seem like that black bar area is suprisingly wide. hmmf?


warren blyth
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i'd like to point out that if the wii had remained "The Revolution" then this one screen concept could have been called "The Single Vision"

wes bogdan
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Well that just sounds wrong as a zelda 4 swords would be great with 4 wii u pads and what if someone breaks their pad. ALL game systems have extra controllers or is nintendo going to make us use the sd wiimote and numchuck to play the new system. I expect it's prohibitively expensive as an ipad 2 jr with dual shock built in

can't be cheap but nintendo has a giant war chest so i'd advise eating some of the cost as i know i expect to be able to play A smash bros game with 4 of these touch pads. The only thing they could do is have a classic controller pro 2.0 with the wii u but as with the wii it's the stark departure the controller brings with it that fuels the innovation.

Put another way tell the wii crowd here's your new system and it only comes with 1 controller/touchscreen pad and you can't buy another one so tell jimmy and suzzy to play nice now.

Nintendo should be smarter than this by far.

Ben Sullivan
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At least this means we won't be forced to buy three more of these controllers to play 4-player games properly. That was expensive on the Wii, and these controllers must be significantly more expensive.

Daryl Occ
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Nintendo's obviously going to find a way or two to have multiple wiiU controllers playable on 1 console. plus, they have a ton of time to run their research. the wiiU isn't going to hit the shelves until next year of april or at most december. instead of getting my hopes high for an april release, im going to expect the wiiU to release on december for $450, so that's enough time for me to start my wiiU fund :D. But regarding the multiple-controller-on-one-console problem, that's definitely nothing to worry about.

Kostas Yiatilis
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Hmm from what I know about public companies (in stockmarket) they can't make announcements like this (new console) unless they are prepared to deliver within 6 months of announcement.

If they don't deliver within 6 months they get investigated. The reason: claims like this can be considered tampering with stock prices.

Why do you think Sony and Microsoft haven't announced their future consoles yet, they have to be almost ready to do so. So expect the WiiU to come in Christmas 2011.

Adam Bishop
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From the article:

"Nintendo has noted that it expects the console and its unique touchscreen-based controller to sell for more than ¥20,000 ($250) in 2012."

Kougeru Matsuoka
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Honestly, some random Nintendo rep probably doesn't know what they are talking about. Nintendo reps tell me false information about DS stuff all the time and I see no reason to believe them now. I'm also pretty sure I heard on a interview on gametrailers of actual examples by Miyamoto and Iwata of games that used multiple screens. This is being developed in Japan so I think taking any information from an America that ISN'T Reggie is pretty lackluster evidence and shouldn't be taken too seriously, especially this early in development.

Joe Cooper
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I would think the NOA folks would have some idea what's going on in the company. Everything produced has to be localized, released, marketed in the Americas. They can't be too out of the loop.

David Fisk
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Yeah. They said it's not coming out until 2012. I guess that means we can get it for christmas then. To bad the world will end on December 21st. :)

Ben Lippincott
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Does that mean the Wii U will cause the apocalypse? Best system ever!

Adam Bishop
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That's Nintendo's new vision - an apocalypse that we share together, but that you can use to craft your own personal experience.

Travis Vance
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I'm REALLY surprised Nintendo is going backwards from their long established 4-Player capable consoles (N64: Four Ports, Gamecube: Four Ports, Wii? Four Wiimotes), something the competition only sometimes managed to bring to the table (Xbox, Dreamcast, Xbox 360)... these ambiguities are doing nothing but promote more rumors as it is.

In fact, I was talking with a friend, and the possible lack of local multiplayer with these new controllers IS a deal-breaker for him. If we can't use multiple controllers together in the same place (the living room) then he said in more or less words that he's not interested.