The Wii U GamePad is the console's unique selling point, offering players a different way to experience HD gaming. However, like all new ideas, it takes time to fully explore and exploit the potential offered by a second screen, and it's fair to say that we've yet to see the best the GamePad is capable of.
If Time had its way, we'd never see that killer application — the magazine's tech site is claiming that the GamePad is holding the console back and that Nintendo should ditch it in order to survive:
The Wii U GamePad has a 6.2-inch touch screen in the middle, flanked by thumbsticks, buttons and triggers on either side. In theory, the extra screen is supposed to open up some amazing new types of gaming that aren’t possible on other consoles.
But right now, even Nintendo seems stumped by the controller. In the games I sampled at E3, the touchscreen didn’t add anything meaningful to the experience.
f Nintendo can’t do interesting things with the Wii U GamePad, it makes you wonder why the company even bothered, instead of building a more traditional console like the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Wii U isn’t as powerful as these systems, so it’s a hassle for publishers to create Wii U versions of their games. Some publishers, such as Electronic Arts, aren’t working on any games for Nintendo’s platform.
It makes me wonder whether Nintendo is setting the stage for a low-cost, GamePad-free version of the Wii U. Given that the GamePad isn’t essential to Nintendo’s upcoming games, and that it doesn’t have much support from other publishers, a low-cost alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One doesn’t seem outrageous. Ditching the GamePad would be embarrassing, but it could be Nintendo’s best chance at turning its fortunes around.
Given how long it took the DS and 3DS to find their sweet spot in the market, we'd say this kind of negativity is premature. New tech means new game design, and that doesn't happen right away — the Wii U isn't even a year old yet, lest we forget.
By ditching the GamePad, Nintendo would rob the Wii U of what differentiates it from the competition — and that could prove fatal in a market where the two other rival manufacturers are already offering systems which play almost exactly the same games. All the Wii U needs is time, and a few killer titles.
What do you think? Post a comment to share your thoughts on the Time feature, and the future of the Wii U in general.