Padding it out

The Wii U may not have gained the same commercial success as the original Wii, but it terms of innovation it arguably does more than its next-gen rivals, thanks largely to the potential of its GamePad controller.

That's certainly the opinion of Nintendo of America's Executive VP of Sales Scott Moffitt, who has been speaking to The Examiner about the impact of the controller, which boasts a second screen with touch capability and allows for new styles of gameplay.

Moffitt feels that the GamePad should be considered as the only genuine innovation of this current console cycle, but admits that Nintendo itself hasn't done the best job of promoting its potential:

That's our real secret sauce [the Gamepad], it is the only real innovation in this console cycle, it's the only real new idea or game experience and with Super Mario Maker it shows you how magical it is to create levels with that Gamepad. It's so easy and intuitive.

We've proven time and time again, we make great games, they get great users scores as well as critical scores. With games like Star Fox and Mario Maker, we are continuing to show the promise of the Gamepad and, candidly, early on we probably didn't showcase the promise of the Gamepad as well as we could have.

He has a point; many big-name first-party releases - including Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - have criminally underused the GamePad, which led many to assume that even Nintendo itself had given up trying to factor such functionality into its titles. However, Moffitt feels that developers within Nintendo have now gotten used to exploiting the controller, and forthcoming titles like Super Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero will make players view the pad in a different light:

As developers have gotten more comfortable with the technology, now you're seeing games that really leverage the power of the Gamepad. I think that will invite people to take a second look at Wii U.

With Star Fox Zero it's showing how the Gamepad can give you a different view into your game world. You are piloting the 'R Wing' and you're getting a cockpit view on the Gamepad. I think those types of experiences may help us propel the system to new heights.

Both Super Mario Maker and Star Fox Zero launch later this year.