News Article

Iwata: Nintendo Searching For A "Different Expression" To Describe The GamePad's Experience

Posted by Andy Green

Consumers don't understand the asymmetric gameplay of Wii U

When Nintendo released the Wii U last year it focused the majority of its messaging on what the all-new GamePad could bring to gaming. Of course, there's off-TV play but one of the biggest selling points is asymmetric gameplay, which allows one player to use the GamePad while others use Wii Remotes during the same game with the tablet holder seeing things from a different perspective.

Nintendo Land was the big game that was released alongside Wii U to show off all the asymmetric features, for example there was Luigi's Ghost Mansion that saw the GamePad holder take on the role of the ghost who would only be visible on the tablet screen. However, the game didn't appear to have the same impact Wii Sports had when it released with the Wii all those years ago.

In an analyst briefing at this years E3, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata acknowledged this and said consumers who have played Nintendo Land were most likely struggling to find the words to describe it, which is a bit of a problem when trying to build up some useful sales from word-of-mouth.

We have received a lot of comments from consumers that the gameplay in “Nintendo Land” is interesting. However, we presume that they have not yet come up with the best words to easily explain how interesting it is to other people.

I would say that Nintendo Land has not fulfilled the same role as Wii Sports did when we bundled it with Wii.

Of course, we won’t remain silent and do nothing. We are going to release a variety of Wii U software, and with each title, we would like to show how convenient and delightful it is to have the Wii U GamePad controller, and how it changes the gaming experience.

Iwata went on to say Nintendo would need to find a "different expression" to describe the Wii U experience as asymmetric gameplay isn't really cutting it:

In addition, we have also learned that the name "asymmetric gameplay" does not fully explain the GamePad’s value to consumers. As for the software going to be released from now on, we would like to describe the experience that the GamePad provides with a different expression in order to adequately convey its necessity to consumers and increase the number of consumers that think, "Indeed it is good to have a GamePad." In this sense, starting with Pikmin 3, we aim to include functions that make good use of the GamePad that consumers can appreciate.

It appears Nintendo is still coming up with new and innovative ways to use the GamePad, but is still searching for a popular buzzword for consumers to grasp onto when describing it.

What are your thoughts? How would you best describe the GamePad's gameplay elements to someone? Let us know in the comment section below.


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User Comments (60)



HeatBombastic said:

Aww, they're learning! JK, but how would I explain it to someone?

I'd tell them to play a game with me.



rjejr said:

You know, w/ all the constant wise acre remarks I've made on here over the past few years I'ld have thought I'ld have a good one for this, but I don't.

I do agree though, "asymmetric" was never going to sell any WiiU consoles.

Question - what words did they use to describe the DS "experience"? I know DS stands for dual screen but in all the years the DS and now 3DS have been talked about somebody must have something applicable to the way the Gamepad is used.

Ok here goes -

nope, I still got nuthin'

Maybe they should just focus on selling NSMBU and Super Mario 3D World.

"Two screens, two great Mario Bros. games, two different ways for the whole family two play twogether." Yes, I know those words are misplled.

I'm kinda liking that:

Two Play Twogether



tabris95 said:

Maybe they should have just named it WiiTwo with Two Ways Two play being the catch lol



HeatBombastic said:

@rjejr That's a really neat idea. Focusing on double the fun of one screen. Double the fun of one Mario. Double the fun of 2 new controllers. Have fun twogether!



ungibbed said:

Time for a new Pilotwings. Main view on the TV, full 3D cockpit view on the GP with vital controls, instruments and just the ability to freely look around while in flight. Using the gyroscope to pan and tilt around your view on the second screen.

A marketing slogan, those I'm not good at.

3DS XXXL depending on the size of your TV? Haha!



sonicfan1373 said:

Maybe they should replace Nintendo Land with something that better shows what the Wii U can do, that Wii Sports demo they showed at E3 2011 during the Wii U's unveiling should explain everything.



ricklongo said:

Quite frankly, I was a bit worried about the gamepad before getting my Wii U. Now I absolutely love it. The possibilities with it seem incredibly vast from a gameplay standpoint, and it also doubles as a tablet for me to browse the web in bed before going to sleep. It really is quite a product.

So yeah, the better find a way to properly convey the awesomeness.



bezerker99 said:

I've not seen one television spot here in the U.S. or heard anything on the radio regarding what Wii U is. No wonder it's not selling.



Haywired said:

Didn't they have similar problems with the 3DS? In that they were frustrated with how they couldn't get the message across to people about the 3D in the commercials. Then finally they realized that people weren't actually interested in the 3D, completely removed the focus from the 3D and onto the actual games themselves and it did wonders for the console. Because people care about Nintendo's software, they don't actually care about the hardware. Wasn't Nintendo's old philosophy that the hardware was merely a box that allowed you to play the games? I'm not entirely sure they still adhere to that.



The-Chosen-one said:

just show an advertising where a person is playing on the tv, with menus on the pad, and suddenly his girlfriend comes in and want to watch tv lol, then the guy is switching unto his gamepad to play the game further, with a big smile lol



BFahey3 said:

How about God's or the creators controller? Or playing with a new perspective, or a new way to express yourself? Or Nintendo could rip off the old ipad commercials and show all the different ways to play.



Sean_Aaron said:

The main strength of the Gamepad really is multiplayer or as a quicker method of accessing menus for other games (I'm thinking options in Need for Speed Here) or being able to interact with the machine without turning on the TV for a quick check up on Miiverse or the eShop.

It's quite flexible, so maybe that work should factor in? Is it essential? Not for most games, no, but it does give players more options for how they interact with the console and software.



Dark_Link said:

@The-Chosen-one Brilliant. It's simple but gets the point across. I can't tell you how many times when I was younger when my parents told me to turn my game off because they wanted to watch the TV. What I wouldn't give to have the gamepad back then. Great stuff!



The-Chosen-one said:

lol yeah me too!
so i am really happy with the WiiU controller, and even the Multiplayer is awesome when me and a friend at home play online together, me on the gamepad, and he on the tv,with people online, so you have the screen all for yourself



Dr_42o said:

"Tired of setting up a tv in the bathroom so that you can play console games while sitting on your toilet?! Well you're in luck, with the brand new Wii U! That's right, number 2 with your Wii U!"



Number_6 said:

Boss controller.
I have to say that I haven't been convinced that the WiiU controller is vital. I have a 3DS and Wii (with ~80 retail Wii titles, 13 GameCube and ~120 WiiWare/VC titles) so it isn't as if I don't appreciate Nintendo. I'm still undecided between the WiiU and PS4, having eliminated the XBox One (pay extra to play used games, no thanks). I'm not saying the WiiU isn't great, but the controller is not considered a huge selling point to many potential buyers, myself included. I will make my final decision based on games, the controller is little more than an aside to me.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Asymmetric always worked just fine for me, but then my vocabulary is better than most. I can certainly believe that a lot of people don't really get the point there.



ToneDeath said:

'Unique' might be a useful word here, because the abilities, objectives and viewpoints afforded to the player with the GamePad should differ from what any other player there happens to be a 'U' in the consoles' name.

More games like Pac-Man VS. and Zelda: Four Swords would be nice too.



rjejr said:

@tabris95 - WiiTwo

They really should have called it that.

Sometimes I think I'm one of the few people who gets the WiiU name - YOU can still play on the Gamepad while your parents, girlfriend, siblings etc. use the tv. But not only can't they market asymmetrical gameplay I'm not sure they even do a good job getting the U part across to people very well either, and I'm sure that some people still think the U is the Gamepad accessory for the Wii.

I don't care if Nintendo's never done it before, everybody in the US would have known WiiTwo was the Wii's successor, even if they didn't immediately grasp that the Two stood for two screens. But they probably would have had an easier time marketing it. Two is better than 1, it's simple. Maybe they should just rename it.



TheRealThanos said:

From a sales & marketing point of view it actually isn't that difficult. If I had to sell the Wii U, I'd focus on what asymmetrical ACTUALLY offers people, instead of using the word itself, as Nintendo have done up till now.

The main message should be getting a unique perspective on a game by using the gamepad, either because of the option to play together with others and being the only one using a pad OR because of it's 360 degree view options, something that isn't possible and WILL not be possible on other consoles, or at least not in the same fashion, because technically, Xbox One/SmartGlass and the PS4/Vita combo's have to solve this in another way which will result in an entirely different experience so it sure is unique and that uniqueness has to come across in this simple message.
So not so much "two consoles in one" as I've already seen some of you say, but two WAYS of viewing ONE game, which was already very rightly hinted at by @rejr.
And as a second option they can still focus on off TV play, which still seems quietly brilliant to me...

Also very typical to see people comparing it to the 3DS even though the Wii U doesn't have 3D capabilities. How quick people seem to forget the beloved and hugely popular DS and DS Lite... ;D
(mind you, I'm VERY happy with my 3DS XL, by the way... )
The design is actually quite logical from Nintendo's point of view, because they ALWAYS use technology from previous consoles/handhelds in the next generation, so effectively the Wii U is indeed a giant, detached DS, which is why it is also immensely irritating and stupid seeing some people or so called professional media comparing the controller to a tablet or even calling it a 'tablet controller' because it was never intended as, nor will it ever be a tablet. It doesn't work in the same way, it can't operate on it's own without switching on the main console and it doesn't use ANY of the same technology. I also never saw anyone call a DS a tablet handheld or Nintendo iPod, but seeing even someone like Peter Molyneux getting his SmartGlass history backwards clearly shows how all that nonsense concerning the controller came about...



Burning_Spear said:

This article really underscores the horrible job Nintendo has done marketing this console. Now that the house is on fire they're installing smoke detectors.



DreamOn said:

Multi-mode madness! Have friends? Just engage multi-mode on your Wii U! Tired of flipping to sub-screens and menus? Now there's Multi-mode!

Multi-mode. It's so bad. Lol



Yoshis_VGM said:

Just as long as we don't see those horrible cube commercials again...I mean, it's an interesting concept, and I really liked how the big U lit up the screen at the end of each commercial, but the ads were just so poorly done. As long as we get better commercials, I'll be happy.



billychaos said:

Easy, just release that version of Wii sports that was originally shown where the pad had a golf ball on it and the wiimote was the club. Gamers hate this but non gamers love it.



MrCanzine said:

Sounds like they need to hire the guy who comes up with names from that U.K show "Monkey Dust".

Pretty hard to come up with a special word to describe it, it's just very functional and makes some games better.

NintendoLand didn't get the same reactions as Wii Sports did, but that's not anything against NintendoLand, it's just that WiiSports got so much publicity from people who really really enjoyed bowling on it. It became such a little Party Game to just get friends together and play tennis or bowling, etc.
Games with the gamepad aren't so easy pick up and go, at least not in the same sense. I found it was much easier to convince someone to play a quick 3 round golf on WiiSports "just to try it out" than it is to convince someone to pick up the gamepad and play.



MrCanzine said:

I think trying to focus on one specific word that will describe it is not the way to go, as has been pointed out by a few people. You'd want to describe the experience itself, or its use, or simply show it off in visual media if you must.
Can't really put what it does or is capable of into one word. It can really be more immersive though, when you don't have to stop gameplay for certain cutscenes or other things, like in Resident Evil games when the communicator goes off, you could see the video communication on the gamepad while continuing to play.



HisSvt2 said:

I don't understand why people don't get it. Are people these days really this stupid.

Every person I have shown my Wii U to has been blown away and think the off screen play is amazing.



DualWielding said:

the problem I have with assymetrical play is that to me it sounds less like a feature and more like a way to hide the limitations the console has regarding symetric local multiplayer



Funny_Moblin said:

Here in Canada, I've seen quite a few 3DS game commercials such as Kid Icarus Uprising, NSMB 2 and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. But I've yet to see a Wii U commercial.



k8sMum said:

many people are lone gamers. some older gamers have kids who have moved out and play alone. other people just prefer to play alone.

nintendo seems to forget about this group when showing all the happy, fictional families at play.



theberrage said:

Really what is so difficult to understand? You can play by viewing your tv or viewing the screen on the game pad . That's awesome by itself. My wife can watch her shows, I can play my video games. My house has never been in such harmony. Nintendo has a great console , it just needs games for it.
P.s. the games are coming! Chill mon!



KLZ said:

"It's like the 3DS, but one screen is in your hand and the other is your TV" I like that, they should use that.



scrubbyscum999 said:

I know, you can advertise it. How the heck is their commercials for the PS4 already but none for the Wii U. Advertise on the Telly, that's a start. Not everyone goes to NintendoLife (even though I wish they did).



Mahe said:

I have a word for Nintendoland: mediocre. I also have other words: a poorly thought out mishmash of undercooked game ideas. 1/4 good games, 2/4 mediocre and 1/4 terrible.



Monkeyofthefunk said:

I can honestly say that they invented to gamepad to cater for the iPad generation. Most of the eshop games are the same standard.



Monkeyofthefunk said:

All Nintendo have to do is RELEASE SOME GAMES!!! But I fear Mario 3D, Pikim 3 and Wonderful 101 will not save them once Sony and M$ release their shiny new consoles this winter. I popped into my local Game a few days ago to sort my PS4 pre-order and they have even less shelf space for the Wii U now. It's taken up by the PS4 and Xbone pre-order boxes. I asked the lads there how the Wii U games are selling and they said about 4 or 5 a week.



Bigmac1910 said:

Will people stop pinning their hopes on the stupid gamepad for selling consoles, do you play gamepads or games? Like my 3DS, the 3D is always on, but if the game isn't compelling/sucks, it doesn't matter if it is in 3D or not.



CowLaunch said:

"Consumers don't understand the asymmetric gameplay of Wii U"

In fairness, neither do Nintendo.



Monkeyofthefunk said:

@Bigmac1910. Totally agree with you. A console is a console if there are games to play on it (and they are any good). Nintendo haven't released any killer games in the first 8 months of the consoles life. It's getting ridiculous now. I have a console gathering dust and the only time I turn it on is when I play Black Ops 2. Even then it's only on for a few minutes because without DLC the game is getting boring. Nintendo should go back to the N64/Gamecube days, where it wasn't about tech it was about the cracking games.



Monkeyofthefunk said:

Nintendo drop the gamepad and bring us some killer, classic games with great graphics, novel gameplay and that Nintendo magic.



FritzFrapp said:

Lack of marketing. Lack of product at retail – too many stores don't even stock Wii U or only stock one or two games. Lack of product differentation at retail – only Game seems to have Wii U banners, supermarkets just throw the games in with Wii stuff, if they stock Wii U at all. No wonder consumers have zero awareness of the machine. And the games are simply overpriced.
Third-parties apart from Ubisoft and Namco were not ready. They threw late, rushed ports at the launch with premium prices. A recipe for disaster.

HisSvt2 said:
"I don't understand why people don't get it. Are people these days really this stupid."

They've always been stupid. Sensible people will play the Wii U and realise it's a fabulous console. I think the GamePad is a revelation. Love it to bits. Wii U is rapidly becoming my all-time favourite home console.



DarkNinja9 said:

least this in a way is pushing them to use the gamepad even more and think up more ways so in the end more fun for us but yeah it still weird and odd to explain without having someone join or try it for themselves



Burning_Spear said:

The review for "Shark Sandwich" was merely a two-word review which simply read "poopiedoodledingdongs sandwich."



BlackStar9000 said:

@rjejr just say ASSymmetric, see how easy that was? Now Nintendo, you are taking hits and being FORCED TO CHANGE! this is very good, because I love my Wii U and Nintendo Land. but dammit if there are more ppl who know about the X1 than the Wii U and the fact its not just a new game controller, Wheres the Marketing? Why cant I play Nintendo land or NSMB U online with my kids? One day Nintendo, Im still waiting for that day when you finally "get it".



Burning_Spear said:

^^^ The lack of online was a big miss. And I've never — ever — complained about a lack of online before. I'm a solo gamer. I watched that video of the NL staff playing Mario Chase and the Animal Crossing game and I want to play those games too. I get Nintendo's reasoning — that they want to promote the idea of people gathered in a room shouting instructions to each other — but for those of us who have busy lives and no means of sharing our hobby, why not provide the opportunity for that experience, even if it is slightly diluted by not having your competitors in the same room?



Warruz said:

Two windows one world

You can thank me nintendo with a new metroid game



Hetsumani said:

They say they want to make games that show how convenient the gamepad is, but they didn't use it as the Tingle Tuner in Wind Waker HD,



TheRealThanos said:

@KLZ Almost a complete case of hitting the nail on the head there, except for the number 3... ;D
@Monkeyofthefunk you can honestly say something, but it is not a given fact, and neither is the statement that the Gamepad was invented to 'cater to' the iPad generation. First and foremost, Nintendo does NOT cater to whims of their public, they have always plotted their own course and have been true to it up till now.
Second, as I already explained in some more detail in my previous comment the Wii U and it's controller are simply a natural evolution, or amalgamation if you will, from almost all previous systems, and they NEVER care what other companies do, because plotting your own course naturally excludes being a follower, so no this is not meant for iPad users.
If you think that is true, then what audience was the DS range of handhelds intended for?
There are countless articles to be found on reliable sites all over the net and also here explaining both Nintendo's strategy as well as their stance towards other companies/consoles. Only a few days ago this most recent example was posted here, in case you haven't read it:
People really need to stop thinking Nintendo is 'reacting' to what others are doing. They simply aren't and that's both good and bad, and the third party support issue is once again a very good example of that. (unfortunately)
But in the end it won't matter anyway, since they will only offer Nintendo games on Nintendo consoles and they'd rather leave the market altogether than publish their IP's for other platforms, which by the way will NOT happen this generation if for some reason the Wii U will utterly fail, which it won't.
There's more than enough cash in Nintendo's vault to keep them going for generations to come, no matter what the outcome of this one may be.
And as for the competition: even though PS4 seems to have a better deck of cards than the Xbox One right now, they will both still have their own battles to fight in this wonderful economy...
I sincerely hope they will ALL make it, though, since nobody wins if any of these three will fall...



kakah said:

I have been using the wii u browser lately and I have to say it's excellent. Much better than tablet.

You watch a video (e.g. youtube) on the TV and browse the internet on the tablet at the same time and have lots of tabs in the browser. All the while the game is paused in the background. Go to eshop, miiverse and then back to browsing and then back to the game.

Come on what other console can do that with so much ease! Just bloody advertise the damn thing Nintendo.

On another note freinds and I played some 5 player multiplayer games on nintendoland and new super mario bros. (and some tekken) for over 5/6 hours straight. lots of fun.

I would encourage every to have a go to understand it as without using the wii u it's difficult to understand the value of the console.

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