News Article

U.S. Patent Cites Wii U as "Universal Remote Controller"

Posted by James Newton

What else could it do?

THQ's Danny Bilson wasn't kidding when he called the Wii U controller the "Swiss army knife of video game controllers." Touch screen, game streaming, motion control and near-field communication technology is all well and good, but the latest rumour points to the pad controlling more than just the Wii U console.

A filed patent points to Wii U as a "universal remote" capable of controlling other devices in the home. As the patent puts its:

This invention relates generally to remote control systems and, more particularly, to a system and method for facilitating the set up and configuration of a portable device, e.g., a smart device which may incorporate universal remote control functionality, to command operation of one or more types of remotely controllable appliances of one or more manufacturers. Exemplary smart devices include but are not limited to Apple's "iPhone` and "iPad," Google's "Android" platform, Nintendo's "Wii U" controller, Blackberry's "Torch" or "PlayBook," etc. Exemplary types of appliances include, but are not limited to televisions, digital video disc players (DVDs), cable or satellite set top boxes (STBs), digital video recorders (DVRs), audio video (AV) receivers, thermostats, game consoles, lighting systems, etc.

Obviously the Wii U controller will interact with a games console, but what else could it work with? One of the system's big selling points is the ability to play Wii U games on your touch screen while someone else uses the TV. If the controller acts as a TV remote, we could be entering a golden age of channel-changing mischief.

It's worth stressing that this patent is not filed by Nintendo, so doesn't necessarily reflect what Wii U will do. It's an interesting possibility, though. What do you make of it?


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User Comments (36)



warioswoods said:

Ooh, now that does sound rather handy. I'd love to have the Wii U tablet control all my TV-related devices, so there's just this one tablet sitting there instead of 4 or 5 different remotes. I know that various universal remotes already exist, but the quality of this color touchscreen could put it far beyond what's currently available.



alLabouTandroiD said:

There would be good uses like using the controller for picture in picture (have up to fifteen channels on it, choose where to go by tapping one), a bit more comfort in menus on DVD's / BluRay's (in choosing chapters as well) and an easy way to jump to a certain section like on Nintendo Video.
Problem is that Ninty would have to work closely with the manufacturers of the devices so i doubt anything will come out of this.



Alienfish said:

Yeah, that would be seriously cool. If someone wanted to watch TV while you were playing, it would be a simple matter for you to change the channel for them in a pause menu. Giving control of the TV to the controller would bring total unity to anyone's entertainment center with the WiiU console at the core of it. Nintendo should seriously consider this if they haven't already.



Late said:

Some people wanted a build in coffee maker. It can't do that but is controlling the coffee machine to make the coffee enough?



Myx said:

too bad i stopped watching television bout 10 years ago. lol. nice selling point.. then again, i am not amongst the target group. nice feature anyway for those who will find it useful
i am merely interested in the games. if they will deliver, it can have as much gimmicks as it wants to



James said:

I would use this feature to drive my wife mad while she's watching TV/DVDs. Please make it happen!



SLiM said:

The Wii U controller looks a lot easier to spot in the living room than a standard remote control. I'm all for it!



BenAV said:

That could prove useful.
If it doesn't end up happening though, it doesn't bother me though as it's not really much extra effort to have an extra remote sitting around if I want to control the TV.
I'm buying a Wii U to play games, not for an extra TV remote, but extra features are always good as long as they don't raise the price of the system.



Splat said:

I find the controller to be awful. I have no interest in Wii U because of it.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

I'm surprised nobody said this yet...

And so it begins...looks like our robot overlords are just lurking around the corner. Haha

Yeah I'd probably just use the remote functions to mess with people.



Radixxs said:

Imagine a family member tapping away on their iPhone, only to have their activity ended prematurely by your Wii U tablet. You will be the antagonist of the party in no time!



New_3DaSh_XL said:

That would be helpful. So does this mean you could buy a UMote and it'll work without the WiiU?



Marakuto said:

Heck yeah this sounds useful, I could just imagine the comfort of using it on other devices than the Wii U itself.



NintyMan said:

If you can play virtual golf with it and watch TV while the one in the living room is on, that sound rather broad to me. It's no wonder then that developers are so pumped for this console, because there can be many ideas that can come out of it.



lanabanana said:

Nice. I don't really watch TV , but messing with your family every once in a while wouldn't be so bad... XD



japzone said:

Well Nintendo already did this using the Wii Remote on the Wii(japan only). Wouldn't be surprised if this happened.



japzone said:

@Nin-freak Why? It's not like Sony patented their IR Control Codes. I can name a ton of non-descript third-party remotes (that I know didn't pay Sony a dime) that can control Sony TVs just fine. If Device Manufaturers could charge people for making a remote to control a device, the world would be a much different(and worse off) place.



FluttershyGuy said:

But, I've heard nothing about it toasting my bread. I am disappoint!

I have a Sony TV, and using the Nintendo Wii U controller on it would be a great joy, just for the irony of it!



rjejr said:

Is it a known fact that the Upad will have the required IR? I know I can use my Ipod Touch over my WiFi to control my cable box but I never bother. If it has the IR and worked as a universal remote I might use it.
Though I'ld rather they sell a charging uPad stand and let me display it as either a digital photoframe - streaming photos from the WiiU - or a 3DS like clock app. With 2 kids in the house I'ld rather the thing look untouchable then have them constantly using it to watch tv.



MegaAdam said:

It looks to me like an IP troll just tried to patent functionality on the Wii U controller, iPads, smartphones, etc all in one fell swoop. Let me know how that works out.



FuzzyMew said:

I'd love to get it, but afraid to see how much it costs. Persuading parents is a long, drawn-out process that I don't like going through. XD



pntjr said:

Wow, that's great! I think the money spent on the controller will be put to good use!!!!

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