E3 2011 - Only One Controller per Wii U - The UpStream

E3 2011 - Only One Controller per Wii U

posted Saturday Jun 11, 2011 by Scott Ertz

E3 2011 - Only One Controller per Wii U

For those of you who have listened to PLuGHiTz Live! Radio - Episode 207 - E3 2011 Day 3, I have some good news and some bad news for you. For those of you who have not, you should listen and then I can explain. The good news is I was right again about my analysis of Nintendo's press conference announcements. The bad news is I didn't want to be right.

As you probably know by now, Nintendo showed off the controller for their new Wii U console to a lot of fanfare. What else would you expect from a totally wireless controller with a large touchscreen that can also serve as a screen for the console to play full titles without the TV as well as a secondary view of a game also on the television. The presentation left a lot more questions than it answered, however. The most common being "will the console support more than one new controller?"

To find out the answer, hit the break.

All of the demos we saw showed off only a single implementation of the new controller. This did not guarantee that only a single controller could be used but it definitely led me to believe it was the case. Add to that the fact that the console renders the video entirely and send it wirelessly to the screen on the controller and you can all but guarantee it. Have you ever designed a computer that can support multiple monitors at once? It takes a lot of video processing power and a pretty expensive video card to allow it to work well. With the new console, it is already running 2 distinct monitors, the television and the one controller we know about. For every extra controller you add rendering requirements.

My assumption, which I voiced on the show, was that the console would be limited to just the single controller. In fact, until the discussion started on the show, I hadn't even considered the possibility of more than one. I had, from the beginning, decided it was only going to support one because Nintendo would have shown off gameplay with more than one if they had planned to make that work. That was obviously not what happened.

Nintendo god Shigeru Miyamoto put the conversation to rest shortly after E3 closed its doors, saying,

Our basic premise is that you can use one with a system. If we got to an idea of having multiple (controllers) it might be just more convenient for people to use their Nintendo 3DS and have a way to connect that.

While a disappointment, it is not surprising. The cost of allowing more than one would have definitely driven the cost up to a point where it would have been in the PS3 launch price category - $800+. There is no way Nintendo could have sold another experimental console with a cost that high.

Because the console is designed for one of the new controllers and will only support one, it was also announced that the console and controller would not be sold independently, at least not at first. At some point enough people will break the screens on their controllers that Nintendo will sell it as an accessory, but it will not be an option up front.

So, the new question is, does this revelation remove some of your excitement about the Wii U or did you, like myself, assume it was only a single controller from the beginning? Let us know in the comments section below.

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