Nintendo's Katsuya Eguchi talks cost of extra controller support

The Nintendo EAD manager notes that Nintendo wants a wider audience for Wii U

The general impression of the Wii U by some is that Nintendo wants to appeal to a mainstream, more casual audience. Speaking at the developer roundtable at E3 2012, Nintendo EAD manager Katsuya Eguchi said that they are going for the Wii audience and so much more.

Eguchi said that while Nintendo is hoping to retain the same audience as Wii (which he says is ages 5-95), the company is now "powering up." Eguchi stressed that Nintendo is looking to make games for people who love gaming, not necessarily casual users, and that the company hopes to create an environment for third-party developers to work in as well.

One of the bigger announcements from the Nintendo E3 press conference is that the Wii U will allow for two GamePads with the touchscreen at the same time. When asked if there was a problem in adding another controller, Eguchi said there was additional processing power needed for each GamePad and that displaying an image on three different screens clearly affects performance.

That said, Eguchi stressed that the quality of game image isn't always concurrent with a game's level of fun and enjoyment; what's important is the role of the different screens, be they on the TV or GamePad. He said frankly that graphical fidelity and support for extra GamePads requires more expensive components to enhance the CPU and Nintendo had to draw a line at some point. in terms of costs for the Wii U.

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Latest comments (6)

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
Basically it halves framerates or halves image resolution per tablet. The machine was never built to run two controllers so it's not something that will be used much.

Nintendo would have to have actually built the machine with this in mind from day one for it to be viable in any AAA games, which will already be taxing the processor.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
It seems to me that, if as is implied by Nintendo's tweet, the gamepads' update rate is reduced from 60 FPS to 30 FPS when two are operating, that's a trade-off that even hardcore gamers are likely to be able to live with. Certainly consoles have proved that there's a large core gaming audience out there that's willing to accept 30 FPS on the main screen, which, just as with the PS3 and Xbox 360, is likely all we're going to get when we get major multi-platform titles on the Wii U (excepting Call of Duty and a few others).

I think that this is very encouraging news for the Wii U. If they can carefully negotiate the minefield of price, power and third party support, they may well have a console that, especially given a year's head start, can compete with the next generation PlayStation and Xbox. After all, those are likely both to be considerably more costly and to lack backward compatibility with the previous generation consoles.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 7th June 2012 6:19am

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It seems that over the 12-months from the first presentation Nintendo has dropped the ball on what the Wii U really is, and focused on having cool games that made up for the lack of a major innovative leap in the system. There are some great games in the line-up, and even I am surprised how well ZombiU works - but is that enough for people to consider paying for a new console (even at $200)!

One question on the hardware, is this frame rate issue only on two controller configuration - as we have stories of major slow down on the show floor being claimed as pre-production issues! And this battery life / charge issue is also getting the PR spin!
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Show all comments (6)
Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
The machine is basically ill thought out. Nintendo's Wii has left the hearts and minds of consumers simply because they see how much better games are on the other big two. They have also stopped buying Nintendo kit for a Mario or Zelda because these IP simply don't change.

Although we all love Nintendo to some degree I think the sentiment is obvious that not a lot of us are prepared to show that love from our wallets anymore. My wii is dusted off once every year if I'm lucky.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
@ Kevin

Reports from the show floor indicate Wii U games are running at 30fps to 60fps, all in 720p right now. Pikmin 3 is the only title I have seen as confirmed running at 60fps while the Game Pad is being used. I should think the machine is optimised to play at 60fps when one Game Pad is attached, and only drops to 30fps once more processing power is allocated to supporting a second pad. All theoretical until gameplay demonstrations are available, of course.

@ Peter

Tell that to the 3DS consumers who bought their machine once Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 came out. And the plumber isn't done yet--the two Bros games out this year will do Nintendo wonders. Don't mistake transitional periods of the hardware cycle for a perpetual decline in Nintendo's fortunes. It's far too early to judge if these franchises will flop on Wii U, and all historical evidence points in the opposite direction.
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@Daniel, thank you for that - was wondering about the booth machines. I have been only getting reports from the private demos rooms and not the general systems on floor. We just heard that they (Nintendo) have stopped showing certain private demos as the questions generated leave them open to performance concerns. Nintendo has also been running round the journo's spinning the claims on the specs, battery and pricing rumors, and playing up the Press Event reception.

They know they have a problem - and this is before they reveal the online subscription model for storing your games on their "Nintendo Cloud" storage system (bye bye pre-owned)!

I have to be frank - I am not a console fan-boy; I work in a different industry (Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment), but have to evaluate the consumer sector for comparison information, and research heavily the Next-Next Gen systems in the works.

What I am seeing with Nintendo at E3, makes me seriously concerned for the next few months - if Sony, and Nintendo drop the ball this badly before launch, then I can see why so many investors are interested in the GearBox 'Steam Engine' DLC system, and why the PC techies are happy!
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