Thu, Jun 14, 2012 | 10:47 BST
Iwata – “We almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen”
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has revealed that the company had a crisis of confidence over the Wii U GamePad’s most distinctive feature, as concerns about pricing almost forced Nintendo to shelve the idea of an additional screen.
In an interview with The Telegraph newspaper, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has told how the screen on the Wii U GamePad tablet controller was almost dropped due to pricing concerns.
“Sometime during that final discussion we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen,” said Iwata. “This was due to our concern over the expected high cost, it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers.”
No official pricing details have been revealed by Nintendo, but several retailers have tentatively listed prices for the new hardware. Online retailer ShopTo currently has the console pegged at £279.85, while GAME’s Swedish website has individual Wii U GamePads listed at around £135. Eurogamer reported yesterday that Amazon’s UK arm was listing the console for £199 on its product page, but there’s no sign of a price tag today.
Elsewhere, in a recent Nintendo investor Q&A, Iwata outlined his vision of the role that the Miiverse will play in the Wii U’s online future.
“This ‘Miiverse’ system is a web-based system, and you will therefore be able to access the ‘Miiverse’ and see what is happening there from any device with an Internet browser,” he said.
“Because of this, you would then in theory have the ability to, when you’re not in front of the game system, be able to see the interaction that players are having by checking the content of ‘Miiverse’ on a device like a smartphone or a tablet device.
“Furthermore, for example, our goal is that, in the future, you will also be able to purchase games found in the ‘Miiverse’ from that smartphone or tablet device and, by the time you arrive home, that game will already have arrived on your Wii U system through SpotPass.
“We also believe that the ‘Miiverse’ will serve the purpose of giving people an opportunity to discover other games that they haven’t yet started playing … We want to use this screen to show users who are satisfied by playing certain games that there is a high likelihood that they will also be interested in some other games that users are playing.
“In other words, please think that we have built an integrated recommendation engine into the Wii U system’s main menu screen. For the more casual users who do not play games frequently, they are less likely to go out and seek information about new games on their own accord.”
The Nintendo Wii U is expected to launch towards the end of this year. An exact release date and pricing details are yet to be confirmed.