News Article

You Won't Get a Nintendo Console with a Buttonless Controller

Posted by Trevor Chan

That satisfyingly soft click is here to stay

With the introduction of touchscreens and motion controls, the cynical gamer might think it's a matter of time before Nintendo abandons the use of buttons all together. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata assures us that that's not what the company has planned.

During an Analyst Meeting earlier this week, Iwata was asked what his opinions of touch control devices such as tablets were and if any appealing qualities could make the jump to video gaming devices. As translated by Kotaku, Iwata used the DS as an example of how Nintendo has incorporated touch controls to gaming, and went on to elaborate:

Whenever we make a new game console, we've done it without throwing away buttons and the directional pad... The reason for that it's better to have them, because buttons and directional pads benefit gameplay response... Taking this into account... Nintendo isn't planning on completely ditching buttons, nor is Nintendo thinking of taking tablets as they are today and implementing them in a game console.

Whatever new way of playing Nintendo is envisioning, it's good to know that some traditions are firmly being kept.


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User Comments (52)



Zach said:

I am so happy to hear that the new controller won't be tablet based.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@LocalHero: Yes, meaning that tablets need to improve greatly before they can adapted.

Good on them, though. I absolutely loathe touch-only interfaces. Buttons are simply a must-have.



Tasuki said:

Yep same here. I dont mind touch screens for say the DS but for a console control the touch screen wouldnt last long with me. Plus I would be cleaning that thing all the time I am pickey when it comes to smudges and dirt on my touch screens.

Now if they would make a cable for the 3ds or DS that would let you use it as a controller on the next system like they had for the GBA and GC that I wouldnt mind but overall give me a controller with actual buttons.



SigourneyBeaver said:

The iPad is not a good device for playing all games on. You can miss the button area if you're concentrating on the screen too much. While Nintendo make controllers that you can simply forget you're holding, the boundary that the buttons provide between you and the game is essential in immersing you, as contradictory as that sounds.



pixelman said:

The iPad is an awesome gaming device, but I'm definitely happy to see Nintendo sticking to the buttons. :3



Hokori said:

Good! but it looks as if Microsoft is staying the Eye Toy way.... I mean Kinect way



ToastyYogurt said:

Thank goodness! Touch buttons work okay when they're on the same screen as the action like an iPhone game that reallies on button action, but when playing games on a screen separate from the device I'm using to move my character, I and pretty much everybody else need physical buttons to rest my thumbs on without doing something I didn't tend to do and to figure out where my thumb is placed. I used one of those virtual WiFi PC controller apps on my iPhone before, and it didn't last very long on my phone (and same for the client program on my computer) once I realized it was impossible to determine where my thumbs were, and on top of that I couldn't rest my thumbs on the screen without doing something unintentionally. Buttons FTW.



TeeJay said:

I wasn't even aware that this was a worry. No buttons? People actually thought there would be no buttons?



jayo said:

There are, and will always be, some games that work best with buttons, which is why I passed on an ipad!



Token_Girl said:

I'm glad to hear this too. No button interfaces work great for some games, and I would be happy to see a touch screen somehow incorporated into the new console (taking notes on the map in Zelda PH was the biggest convenience ever). However, for many types of games, buttons are just necessary. I'm glad Nintendo seems to be about giving devs/players all sorts of control options.



Mange said:

How about adding some velocity and aftertouch to the buttons. I think the gamecube controller had one such button... correct me if I´m wrong. It´s time for some superior control.



WolfRamHeart said:

I am glad that they are sticking with buttons on their controllers but if they decide to incorporate some type of touch-pad interface on there as well then I am all for that too.

@Corbs: Yes you can. Just mash it really hard.



moosa said:

I think it's pretty darned ironic that the questioner asked whether any of the appealing qualities of "touch devices" would make it to Nintendo consoles... considering the DS was launched years before touch phones and tablets, along with touch-based gaming, became mainstream. LoLs.



MasterGraveheart said:

I'm glad we're not getting a tablet. Give me my joystick/D-pad, give me my buttons, give me my rumble, and get outta my way.



NintyMan said:

A buttonless controller is no controller at all. To abandon them would be to abandon traditional gaming as we know it. So good for Nintendo, I like buttons. There's something about pressing buttons that stimulates you.



th14 said:

Nintendo always gets it right in terms of controls. I would be more concerned about the technical ability of their new console than controls.



Henmii said:

"nor is Nintendo thinking of taking tablets as they are today and implementing them in a game console"

So that means no tablet computer as a controller for the Stream! I already did find it a very strange rumor. But I also can't imagine Nintendo returning to a more traditional controller for Stream. I think they stick with the wiimote, and improve it.



SilverBaretta said:

You know, I actually think I would stop buying game consoles if buttons were ever totally ditched. That's really saying something, for me anyway.



FluttershyGuy said:

All I can say is THANK GOD. Complete touchscreen controls is deal breaker for me. They make games requiring precision control in a split second, like action games, unplayable on iOS. Thank you for continuing to think of the gamer and best gaming experience for ALL, Nintendo!



motang said:

Good, cause just all touch screen controls (i.e. iOS games) just suck!



1080ike said:

This news made my day, along with the 3DS batch. Now I can stop worrying about Ninty making me wave my arms around in the air just to play a game.



Imerion said:

Good to hear! I have nothing against motion controls or touch screens, but they really need to be complemented with buttons in most cases or the games will suffer from it. Nothing I have played on touch-screen tablets or mobile phones have managed to work nearly as good as real buttons. Both in unison, like the DS, can be fantastic though.



thebluelight1 said:

@8 Cable!? Wii and DS could hook up wirelessly you know

Not really shocked by this, I am expecting a classic/GameCube controller with a touchscreen, no smoke without fire etc. (and there's a hell of a lot of smoke!)



aaronsullivan said:

Big iPhone and iPad fan here, but WHAT, WHAT!? Someone thought Nintendo was going to go buttonless!?!?!?! That would be horrible.

I'll probably spring for an iCade. I need me some buttons.

This is why I don't understand Sony's latest tablet offerings. No control pad and buttons? From Sony people expect it, it should be there. Sony, of all companies, could differentiate their tablet that way and no go.

Iwata mentioned "a new framework for playing games in the home" or something like that, which really suggests to me that some games on the new console will be played PRIMARILY on the smaller controller screens. You just need the console running it all. That would be a big enough shift to call it "a new way to play" and I can see the commercials running in my head.

Our household already looks like this in the afternoon with two iPads and two iPhones and four family members. I'd love to be playing Nintendo games designed for that experience, though!

Even games like Metroid and Zelda could benefit from this premise. One person could be playing Samus on the main screen while the other could be running an interactive map and/or maybe a probe robot to look ahead and spy, all on their own controller screen. Zelda has already had something like it with GBA. Possibilities are promising.



Chrono_Cross said:

Even games like Metroid and Zelda could benefit from this premise. One person could be playing Samus on the main screen while the other could be running an interactive map and/or maybe a probe robot to look ahead and spy, all on their own controller screen.

Not everyone has someone to play with you know?



JimLad said:

One thing I don't want to see disappear is the idea of a split controller, as in one half in each hand like the Wii has.
I think the idea of having your hands free from each other was a brilliant one, and should not be overlooked in the future.
Not sure how it would work with a touch screen, but for traditional controllers it would be great.



AVahne said:

I thought it was going to have a touchscreen AND buttons. But if it's just a touch screen for a controller, then I'm glad that that won't be happening.



Chris720 said:

@23 Mickeymac I don't mind the waggle, but some games just over do it to the point that its arm-numbing to play.

Donkey Kong Country Returns springs to mind... I had to do so much waggling in that, it was unbelievable. Buttons are just so much easier to use. Touchscreen buttons are alright, as long as they're put in a good spot.



rjejr said:

I gotta say, losing the Dpad would not bother me all that much. I got a PS1 after it went Dualshock, and I never used it all that much on the Gamecube. I hate using it on the Wii (obviously thats partly placement based). I realize it's almost a necessity on 2D sidescrollers though. And of course cheat codes just wouldn't be the same with a stick



PSICOffee said:

Good. My friends and I talked 10 years ago about videogames someday having no controllers and no more discs (all-media storage did come true now) but as I type this message on an ipod touch, I'm reminded of how much I love buttons and how necessary they are in gaming.



LuWiiGi said:

Good to know. I like those clicky buttons and the triggers that softly slide down.



pntjr said:

darn, that ruins my hopes and dreams fore the Gameboy Touch... lol



JustanotherGamer said:

Nintendo was the first to have the D-pad (the cross key) way back in 1983. Which has been on Nintendo's Consoles and Handheld videogame players. so Project cafe/wi 2 or whatever Nintnedo's 6th console is called. Will have buttons and the cross key.

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