The former President at Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé recently explained why the Wii U never actually wound up using its dual GamePad support. According to the executive, the console was technically capable of the feature, but a small number of owners and the relatively short system lifespan both played a part in preventing split screen gameplay from ever becoming a reality on the platform.
While expectations were high for the console, the Wii U turned into a flop for Nintendo, selling just under 14 million units worldwide after its launch in 2012. The lackluster performance was attributed to several different factors including poor marketing and a weak lineup of launch titles. Nintendo later expanded upon the basic design ideas of the Wii U, producing the much more popular Switch in 2017. The console went on to sell upwards of 104 million units in markets around the world.
The news comes from an interview by the YouTube channel known as MinnMax. When asked about this highly requested feature, Fils-Aimé was quick to answer the question, describing how the install base “never got large enough that the type of implementation made sense.” Nintendo previously acknowledged that it was possible to play with dual GamePads on the Wii U.
“What was interesting is that with the Wii U, there was a full development plan for all of the interesting interactions and all of the interesting capabilities that the system could do,” Fils-Aimé pointed out. “And so in that case, technically could multiple GamePads communicate with a Wii U? Answer was ‘yes,’ but the install base never got large enough that the type of implementation made sense.”
The reason why dual GamePad support was never implemented on the Wii U seems to have concerned a number of other factors. Nintendo apparently “didn't create a game where you needed another GamePad in order to have a great experience,” Fils-Aimé said. “The development just never proceeded and the lifespan of the Wii U ended up being so short that it just never came to pass.” The executive noted that “in order for those initiatives to come to life at least from Nintendo's perspective, there needs to be a game that drives that implementation that enables the player to see why you would need a second GamePad.”
Fils-Aimé has been in the news a lot recently with some interesting statements. The executive explained back in June for example that Switch Online should be focused on leveraging GameCube and Wii content if Nintendo is going to compete with more popular subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus. “They've got GameCube content to leverage. They've got Wii content,” Fils-Aimé noted. “I see this future of digitally delivered content to you, the consumer, as just this burgeoning opportunity that I would want to keep taking advantage of."
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