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Nintendo nearly scuttled Wii U GamePad tablet over cost

Satoru Iwata admits that Nintendo almost did away with the touchscreen controller for Wii U

Nintendo almost dropped the touchscreen GamePad for the upcoming Wii U console due to cost issues. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told the UK Telegraph that Nintendo struggled with the touchscreen to keep the system's overall price down to a manageable level.

"Sometime during that final discussion we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen," Iwata said. "This was due to our concern over the expected high cost, it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers."

He noted that Nintendo's competitors have already begun putting forth similar tablet concepts with Sony PlayStation Vita integration and Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass.

"It's quicker than before. After our showing of motion control, it took three years for other companies to follow suit. But this time it's just one year after our proposal, even before we've released the actual product. I think that proves the great potential of what we showed last year," he said.

"However, I have to point out that there are essential differences between what we are doing and what other companies are doing. The main difference is that anyone who has a Wii U will be able to enjoy the two screen experience, while the other companies are saying its optional, but only if you have this device or that device."

Iwata also remarked to the Telegraph that he's not worried about the Wii being outclassed by the rumored Microsoft Durango or Sony PlayStation Orbis consoles.

"My impression is that the things that happened with Wii v 360 or Wii v PS3 won't happen again," he said. "If they decide to increase the spec numbers, will the consumers be able to realise the difference enough so that they can understand it's much superior to today's machine?"

"And also, if they beef up the processing power, that simply means much more work for software developers to take advantage of those spec numbers. So I have to ask the question if that type of differentiation really makes sense."

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Mike Williams avatar
Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.
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