News Article

Ubisoft States That Wii U GamePad Latency is "Just 1/60 of a Second"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

GamePad is "more advanced than what people might think"

Nintendo's most recent systems, particularly from DS onwards, have succeeded on the strength of unique selling points rather than raw power, even if some label these as "gimmicks". DS introduced dual screens and stylus-based touch controls, 3DS was initially marketed on its glasses-free 3D screen, and for Wii U it's all about the GamePad. The system has HD and a number of other features lacking on Wii, but many will be attracted to it, or otherwise, due to its GamePad controller.

We've written plenty about how it's going to be used and the potential it has, but one concern is over latency, which is the delay between the picture on the TV being accurately reflected on the GamePad's own screen. With the GamePad essentially streaming content from the console through a wireless connection, doubts remain for those that wonder whether delays in communication between console and controller will affect the gaming experience. The fact that GamePad units are always tethered to an invisible source at expo demo booths and press events, probably for security reasons, does little to dispel concerns.

Stepping forward into the breach to reassure gamers is Ubisoft's Michel Ancel, currently involved in bringing Rayman Legends to the system. In an interview with Nintendo Power he reiterates that developers are able to work on innovative features because the technology in the controller is solid, suggesting it's more advanced than many will expect.

I think this is where Nintendo is really out in front of things. The technology inside the controller is quite a bit more advanced than what people might think. It's really responsive. The response time is crazy, in fact, and I think the competitors will need some time to [get their solutions] this responsive.

It's crazy because the game is running in full HD [on the television], we are streaming another picture on the GamePad screen, and it's still 60 frames per second. And the latency on the controller is just 1/60 of a second, so it's one frame late. It's crazy, it's so fast. It's almost instant. That's why it responds so well. So it can be used as a real game-design thing.

While streaming from TVs to additional screens is nothing new, a delay of just one frame is an exceptional achievement if it bears out in the final manufactured products. As a company not always associated with cutting-edge technology, Ancel's words that rivals will need time to match the GamePad's performance will no doubt give encouragement to Nintendo.

With news that you won't be able to buy an extra Wii U GamePad at launch, and the Japanese retail price of 13,400 Yen converting to over £100, these comments perhaps help to explain the potentially high price when extra controllers become available in stores, and why more manufacturing time is needed to boost stock. What do you think of Ancel's comments? Are you excited about the strength of the technology and how it can be used in games, or are you more worried about the price if you decide to buy a second GamePad next year? Let us know in the comments below.


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User Comments (43)



Boo_Buster said:

Read this report earlier on another site. Good news on the latency being rather non existent, I'm sure a lot of us were wondering. Rayman Legends shows this off quite well from what I have seen, as controlling Murphey is instant



Mk_II said:

60 FPS at Full HD while streaming another picture to the pad with no discernable latency... that IS pretty impressive. And the PS3 / Vita combo will never be able to achieve that sort of immediate connection.



GameLord08 said:

@Mk_II Not necessarily. Remember that the PS3 and Vita are two separate devices, unlike the Wii U, and are both working together to stream images to the Vita simultaneously. But obviously, the PS3 alone would be incapable of this sort of advancement by far.

Anyhow, 1/60th of a second in latency? That's hardly discernable to the human eye - it's essentially zero latency whatsoever. This is essentially what I've been saying regarding the Wii U's power; a console that can run games rendered in native 1080p at 60FPS all while streaming an equally high-def image to the GamePad simultaneously does sound pretty powerful to me. I don't understand why people just can't connect the dots already; from what has been displayed so far, this console is seemingly not just, and I quote Xander Davis in particular here, "an Xbox 360 seven years late".



Nintenjoe64 said:

This isn't news to me. It's 2012 and a second screen should run fine without latency. What I think is shocking is that people doubt Nintendo will make a decent value product. Hardware has had almost 7 years to improve since the first HD consoles and Nintendo have been at the forefront of console power 4 times out of the last 5 generations. It's silly that the fanboys are laying into Nintendo every day, Pachter's saying he just doesn't get it and actual journalists are assuming that the Wii U is going to be a broken mess.

The best and funniest part of all this is that Sony and MS will be spending the next few years playing dual screen catch up. Can't wait to hear what the fanboys say about that!



rjejr said:

The WiiUbi strikes again.

Ubisoft has too many games coming out on the zero units in peoples homes new WiiU to be bad mouthing it.



GameLord08 said:

@rjejr: There's a difference between exaggerative PR marketing, and an actual statement concerning the Wii U's power from a developer standpoint. Everything Ancel stated here is evidently purely based on tested fact, unlike saying the Wii U is "the most innovative system on Earth".



Shworange said:

1/60th of a second hua? That sucks! I'll wait for an updated system to cut that time to no less than 1/90th of a second. The system will fail!!!

I'm just kidding. That's awesome! Can't wait to try it out!



C-Olimar said:

The technology seems so much more impressive than PS360. The graphics may not blow those completely out of the water but everything else seems brilliant!



SPEtheridge said:

Ah this is good news, it does make me wonder though how much performance you'd be able to get out of Wii U if you didn't decide to use the gamepad.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

If the controller is that nice it certainly explains the overall price considering the last-gen tech sitting inside the box.



Tate24 said:

Am still gutted over the price. dont want white wii u want black one but no way i can afford it



Alienfish said:

I'm sorry, but if the latency was bad on the controller's screen, then the games would be suffering from it and therefore we gamers would all be suffering from it. This isn't the childish waving concerning CPU's, GPU's, and RAM, this is a serious concern. Of course, my belief is that if Nintendo can't do it right they won't do it at all so there shouldn't have been any concern in the first place.



19Robb92 said:

That's awesome and a very important factor for WiiU. Latency could potentially ruin the experience a lot. This is great news.



Zyph said:

"...a company not always associated with cutting-edge technology" but always associated with cutting-edge innovation.



NintyMan said:

It's difficult to comment on the GamePad as I haven't played with it yet, but this is definitely good news. It can be hard to picture how the GamePad screen could run along with the action on the TV, but with the way technology is today, it shouldn't be that hard for Nintendo to pull it off.



V8_Ninja said:

Nice to see Nintendo keeping its tradition of long-lasting and sturdy hardware.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@GameLord08 The barely discernible to the human eye part is incorrect. People actually notice a difference between playing on a screen with a a refresh rate of 120 and a rate of 60. The part about people not being able to see past 60fps is something that was just thrown out there without much support.

This is because our eyes see in continuous motion and not through frames. This actually means that we can theoretically see up to infinity frames per second.

I'm not surprised they got latency that low. If they didn't reduce that far down there could be issues playing games online since both the controller and the connection speed would cause problems.



grimbldoo said:

@ThePillowGolem #23
Yup, 24fps is the minimum needed so we can see a moving picture. We can watch a movie at 1,000,000fps as long as it was recorded at 1,000,000fps. If you take a 24fps film and play it at 60fps, that is a different story. All you would see is a blur.



Marioman64 said:

i wanna know what the latency was for the following:
wii remote
wavebird (GCN wireless for those who don't know)
wii remote w/ classic controller
game controller (N64/SNES/NES/Sega)plugged into a converter plugged into the gamecube slot (really slow for some reason)



Jayden said:

@Mr_LztheBleh It has to do with the games, the Wii U is a console that uses both the TV Screen and GamePad in unison. If the latency is off to much, well then it's a failing that will ruin the experience of the game.

It's not tech specs, it's integral to the gaming experience.



GameLord08 said:

@ThePillowGolem: I'm not sure whether or not you misread me, or whether it's the other way round, but I never said that a refresh rate of 60fps is barely discernable to the human eye or that people can't see beyond that - I said that a split delay in latency lasting 1/60th of a second is barely discernable to the human eye ("to the human senses" would've been a better phrase).

That's 0.01667 seconds of lag - I highly doubt that we can conciously discern that sort of latency, especially seeing as we aren't looking at both the TV and GamePad at the same time.



Sir_Deadly said:

@WhiteTrashGuy I dnt think 2009, 2010, and 2011 is last gen tech compared to the 2003 and 2004 hardware in the ps3 and 360! Its more 8th gen tech I would say!



MitchVogel said:

"This console is absolute trash! C'mon Nintendo, 1/60 of a second is unacceptable!" Just you watch, there will be some people that seriously say this.



kyuubikid213 said:

I would like to point out in a somewhat unrelated note that the SNES came out after the Genesis and it had superior specs in every area but one. The SNES came out on top, of course. I think this is what will happen with the Wii U. Only this time, there are two know what I mean.



Wonder_Ideal said:

I learned about the GamePad's latency (or lack of latency) from the October issue of Nintendo Power. This is gonna be great!



Sir_Deadly said:

@triforcepower73 Those are the people who expect the 8th gen console to have more advanced graphics then the current gen console. They fail to see that graphically they wont be any better than the Wii U and also if they expect console to have high power tech in them, it will be too expensive to buy for the consumer! They are the ones stuck back in 2006 playing there 360 and PS3 while we'll be playing the next gen console!



WhiteTrashGuy said:


The Wii U has more RAM, but the CPU is not as fast as the PS3's. The GPU is comparable to 360's and PS3. The Wii U is not next gen. The actual generation cycle is every 5 to 7 years. The Wii U may be a 2012 machine, but is using 2008-2009 PC tech. It is an inbetween machine like the Dreamcast was. Luckily we are at a point where graphics are negligible. In 2015, when we are in the thick of the new systems we will see the difference between Wii U and 720/PS4 capabilities. But Nintendo has created their own market, essentially. Honestly, the Wii U should have launched in 2011. Don't get me wrong, I have a 360, but am a staunch supporter of the Big N's innovation; have been since the N64. I am very proud of them for gaining back their market share after the reign of the PS1/PS2. And after releasing the Wii a year AFTER the 360, they are now releasing their successor a year (or more) BEFORE Microsoft and Sony. Also TVii and the MiiVerse will bring the Wii U into the social networking landscape.



gundam00 said:

"The fact that GamePad units are always tethered to an invisible source at expo demo booths and press events, probably for security reasons, does little to dispel concerns."

I played the Wii U at the Wii U Experience and the GamePad wasn't tethered. I didn't notice a delay, but I felt rushed to play through my turn and step aside, so I couldn't examine the details.



WaveBoy said:

I can notice the difference between 1 frame and 0ms when it comes
to input lag. I own a 1 frame capable HDTV and a tube TV which of course is lag free. there IS a difference, but it's incredibly small and in no way hinders the gameplay. But here's the problem...'HDTV' input lag. so that's 1 frame of lag for the Wii U game pad combined with the 16ms-32ms(if you have over that you've got a lousy HDTV for gaming) and you have yourself one broken/delayed experience. I can't even deal with '2' frames for crying out loud and that seems like the best it will get when using the gamepad IF you're even lucky enough to own a 1 frame capable set....What a joke.

And when people say "I Didn't notice a delay" What do you mean? You don't have a lag free CRT/Tube TV side by side to compare it You can't make a call based on how 'you' think it feels when you don't even know how the game truly performs at it's best again on a lag free CRT...even though there's 1 frame of lag thanks to the game pad controller...ugh.

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