Prior to the Wii U's launch the company made positive noises about introducing support for two GamePad controllers in future titles, explaining that they'd eventually go on sale as optional extra controllers. It seemed like an exciting idea, despite the likelihood of a high price for the extra pads, as they'd add a potential extra layer to asynchronous and dual screen multiplayer experiences.
As the Wii U suffered from a slow start, however, Nintendo has gone quiet on the possibility. Due to the Wii U only initially supporting one GamePad, work to update and bring in — and sell — extra controllers was put back to accommodate more urgent projects. Shigeru Miyamoto has recently explained this to IGN, before making the point that dual GamePad support is not entirely off the table, though we shouldn't anticipate this change in the near future.
Certainly as we've been working on Wii U, I think we're at a point where we don't feel it's realistic to expect people to purchase two GamePads yet. We're still trying to get as many people as possible to buy the system itself, and that's where our focus is right now. For the time being, two GamePad gameplay is not within our objectives in the short-term.
From a technical standpoint, I think if we decided to pursue that, technically we would be able to and we can perform system updates that would allow for that. It's also very interesting from a gameplay perspective idea because there are a lot of possibilities with two GamePads. But, at the same time, taking that kind of approach would again be a drain on resources and require us to continue to utilize our development resources for that. So then it would become a question of where do we want to devote our resources: Is it to creating regular GamePad games, or creating games centered around two GamePads?
It's a tricky scenario for Nintendo, and in the current climate we'd suggest that its priorities are correct. We should also consider, as alluded to by Miyamoto-san, that Wii U system updates would also need to divert extra horsepower to a second controller, while it seems titles would have to be specially designed to support two GamePads.
Will it eventually happen? It's hard to say, though it's not inconceivable that should the Wii U enjoy a revival in fortunes we may get some games — maybe Wii Play-style bundles — that will support the feature.
Would you like dual GamePad experiences in future, or is it an area that Nintendo should leave alone to focus on other priorities? Let us know what you think.