News Article

Wii U GamePad Wireless Range is "Fine Within The Same Space"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

If your walls are thin, the bathroom may be an option

The Wii U GamePad is Nintendo's next big home console innovation and the main selling point of the system. A big part of that appeal is the fact that it wirelessly streams the game, whether it's a match for the TV images or alternative features, from the console to the controller. We all know that, but one thing we don't yet know is how well it'll work in practice at home.

Ubisoft has already stated that, from its tests, GamePad latency is just 1/60 of a second, or one frame, which means that the controller's screen will practically match the TV output. That's a positive, but the next major concern is the wireless range that will allow this latency to work effectively, with gamers wondering just how far they can move away from the system. This topic has been addressed in the latest Iwata Asks, including the most important question: will the range make the GamePad functional in the bathroom?

Yamashita: Everyone will probably test to see how far the radio waves will reach in their house. (laughs)

Iwata: As Nintendo, we say that it will be fine using it within the same living room where the console is in, but a lot of people ask what about through a wall?

Yamashita: Yeah. The other day, someone in a different department asked if he could use it in his bathroom at his house! (laughs)

Iwata: Differences will arise depending on whether you live in a house made of wood or an apartment of reinforced concrete, and what materials the walls are made out of.

Yamashita: Yes. What we can say for certain is that it will be fine within the same space.

Iwamoto: However, if you place the Wii U console in something like a metal TV stand it may deflect the radio waves thus reducing its usable range. Radio waves weakens by the square of the distance, so even within the same space, too much distance could make them weaker, and having obstacles in between would be a disadvantage.

...Iwata: Playing at Yamashita-san's house worked with one wall in-between! (laughs) When asked "Can I use it in my bedroom?" we can say that it would work within the same space when there is nothing in the way, but basically it depends on how your house is constructed, so we have to ask that you test it in your own home.

It's clear that, unless you're using the wrong TV furniture, the same room as the system won't be a problem for the wireless functionality to work properly. That said, the GamePad can't be treated as a handheld and used throughout the house, unless perhaps you live in a single-storey apartment. On the plus side, this Iwata Asks goes into great detail to explain the technology and testing that's behind the controller, suggesting that no stone has been left unturned in terms of ensuring reliability.

On a lighter note, the following excerpt shows that these Iwata Asks sessions appear to be a lot of fun, and we can't help but wish we were there with them to join in with the laughter.

Iwamoto: We were supposed to be making a controller, but it has all the functions of a handheld!

Yamashita: Yes. And they all run wirelessly. We had to develop software for a lot of things—NFC, the TV control button, and the geomagnetic sensor — it was a lot of work! However, with regard to NFC, when we saw your announcement, Iwata-san, we were shocked. We were like, "Huh?! He's announcing that?!" (laughs)

Iwata: Is that so? Sorry about that! (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

We recommend that you take the time to read the full Iwata Asks article for more details on the GamePad, as it's full of interesting information. We'll be trying to have as much fun as Iwata-san and company here at NL towers, too (laughs).


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User Comments (28)



irken004 said:

Yamashita: Yes. And they all run wirelessly. We had to develop software for a lot of things—NFC, the TV control button, and the geomagnetic sensor — it was a lot of work! However, with regard to NFC, when we saw your announcement, Iwata-san, we were shocked. We were like, "Huh?! He's announcing that?!" (laughs)

Iwata: Is that so? Sorry about that! (laughs)

It sounds like even Nintendo doesn't know what to make until they make an announcement. Talk about last minute specs!



BenAV said:

From where my Wii U will be set up and my bed there'll be about three-four metres of empty space and one wall, so fingers crossed I can play in bed.



DarkNinja9 said:

least i know that it wont affect me if i want to go to my room and still use it still interesting non the less about how they can still ask some tech questions and still have fun and laugh about it



Xilef said:

My TV is in my bedroom so i got not problems there. Also, that last quote. xD



StarDust4Ever said:

Remember, Japanese apartments are tiny compared to most US homes. Just look at the Famicom with it's 3-foot tethered controllers.



19Robb92 said:

I was hoping for more pics. The WiiU console discussion was more interesting IMO.



sillygostly said:

My bedroom is located just above the living room so I hope that I can play it from up there.



rjejr said:

It makes sense that since it's a game controller it has a game controller like distance limit but there will still be fanboys flaming it for not being wifi distance after it's released. It would be nice if they added some distance for non game playing like checking social media on Miiverse or if a hefty DL is finished, maybe in the WiiXYZ.



NintyMan said:

So if it really depends on what's in your house, then you better not have a bunch of furniture and hard walls blocking the view. My Wii U will likely be in my bedroom, so I could be able to play the GamePad while relaxing on my bed. Comfortable, isn't it?



Auracle said:

Sounds cool. I probably won't bring the Game Pad into the bathroom though. It just doesn't seem right. The 3DS is another story.



Kirk said:

It's a shame they couldn't guarantee it would work anywhere in the house because I know a lot of people, including myself, who would have considered that a massive unique selling point and just and awesome feature in general. My bedroom is a couple of walls away so it probably won't work there



FiveDigitLP said:

Man, I love Iwata Asks. They are so funny to read. Also, they give me a sense of familiarity with the company and just increases my loyalty to them all the more.

Anyway, as to the stinks that this is the case. I probably won't be able to play upstairs in our bedroom like I'd originally hoped. The downstairs bathroom isn't too far, so that shouldn't be a problem, though!

Also, I think the other commenters on here are misunderstanding the NFC quote. I don't think they were saying that they didn't know they were going to add that...I'm thinking they just thought it was odd that he announced it, as it's a feature they didn't consider to be as important.



Wonder_Ideal said:

Maybe Nintendo should start a comedy club sometime. (laughs) On November 18, I will go around my house and test where the GamePad works.



Zombie_Barioth said:

I wonder how the range compares to the wavebird, since they both use radio waves that would be a good way to test it out before hands.

The range won't bother me anyway since I only plan to play on the gamepad in the living room.



LeVideoGamer said:

7.3 metres (24 feet) is the range, so it's not a problem. My room is probably 4m long if I'm being generous, so I'll be good to go.



Kyloctopus said:

I think we were all surprised when Iwata slipped in the NFC announcement. And even more surprised that Rayman Legends was utilising it.



LeVideoGamer said:

@Klyo I thought that everyone knew that Rayman Legends was utilizing it? Didn't you see the leaked trailer showcasing it?



WarioPower said:

I will have to test it in my bathroom, which is a level higher than my bedroom.. Hopefully it works!



Steveovig said:

Wow, more Nintendo disappointment. Shocking! Would someone mind telling me what the heck is the point of the Gamepad, other than a marketing tool?



JayMiller1988 said:

I'm an exponentially bigger fan of the Gamepad than the Wiimote, but that's not saying much considering the Wiimote was an atrocious mess- and the best thing is that you need to buy another controller to play any VC games. And finding the perfect place for the wireless receiver is always a great thing to have to put up with when you move rooms once or twice a year.

If the Gamepad is as big of a pain to control, I will become even more vicious against these wireless controls. I pray it doesn't come to that.



edcomics said:

I would absolutely love some long-range playability. I actually had hopes it would work easily, but now it sounds like it's not going to happen. I live in a four-floor house. The wireless router on the top floor does manage to get a pretty strong signal to my Wii on the bottom floor. For example, Netflix streams quite well. In theory, I should be able to use certain Wii U features one or two floors away from the console, but I guess the only way to know is to just wait and see. "Test it in your own home" made me chuckle on the inside. $350 is a bit expensive for a test.

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