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Do you think we'll see a Wii U GamePad Plus? [roundtable]
I was listening to Radio Free Nintendo and Guillaume and friends were discussing how hype for the Wii U has slowed due to tablets becoming more ubiquitous and the Gamepad looking less impressive compared to the newer models. This got me thinking about how Nintendo was going to be tied to this controller for the next 7 years despite technology improving.

While I agree with the podcast crew's conclusion that the Gamepad should be viewed as a controller and not a tablet, Nintendo IS clearly trying to market it as more than that by pushing TVii, web browsing, video chat, etc. And even solely as a controller, new technology could nonetheless improve the experience.

In particular, an HD screen is something that will likely be more affordable in the next couple of years. Why shouldn't Nintendo come out with a Wii U Gamepad Plus with an HD screen and sell it for 75-100 bucks once that would be sufficiently profitable? It would be a nice improvement for people willing to pay and unlike Wiimotion Plus, it seems like it wouldn't split the user base in any way, since the only difference would be resolution.

For other ideas, I'm not personally in the camp that capacitive touch screens are inherently better than resistive, but touch screen technology must be improving and I could imagine a case where they could add multi touch for the non gaming functions without affecting precision for gaming with the stylus (although someone else may be able to speak to this better).

I could see Nintendo doing this. It would give them a chance to sell more hardware, which they always love, and allow them to keep up with devices like phones and tablets that are always improving. Plus, with those devices, people seem to be used to upgrading every couple of years and Nintendo might want to tap into that desire for the best tech that many consumers have. They've certainly been capitalizing on it with their handhelds in recent years.

So what do you guys think? Is this something you could see Nintendo doing? Do you think it's a terrible idea? Would you buy one? How much would you be willing to pay? What kind of improvements would you want to see?

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Posted: 11/01/12, 05:59:04
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You know, I haven't even considered the idea but I think it's very likely now that you mention it. I could see the GamePad looking a little chunky and worn in a few years, so this might be a good way to get people to get two (and to design games around using two).
Posted: 11/01/12, 06:10:49
I'd say this is almost definitely going to happen at some point. However, Nintendo may ignore all of the "obvious" upgrades and add weird stuff nobody asked for that is kind of cool anyway but maybe doesn't quite make up for what they didn't add.

You know... Tokyo style.
Posted: 11/01/12, 08:25:18
I don't think so, an increase in resolution on the gamepad would mean more data needing to be sent between the pad and system. This could cause framerate or lag issues at the very least and Nintendo are not going to be happy with that.
Posted: 11/01/12, 08:58:25

It will happen at some point.I don't think higher res, but better processors and the sort yes.
Posted: 11/01/12, 10:10:46
I highly doubt Nintendo will release a new tablet controller for Wii u like they did with motion plus on Wii. The price is just too much for it to be the dominant controller.
Posted: 11/01/12, 12:04:00

I was thinking about that. Though we do know it is possible for the Wii U to support 2 gamepads it might be able to handle one HD variant with little trouble.Certainly the bandwidth shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Still though, I don't see it happening. Unlike with Wii Motion Plus there's no way to have the other devices be backwards compatible. (At least I don't think so). So it would basically need to be either a new model that makes the old one obsolete in terms of functionality or be a limited upgrade. Neither case sounds like something Nintendo would do to me.
Posted: 11/01/12, 12:33:46
Probably, if only to revitalize sales in a year or two.
Posted: 11/01/12, 13:48:21
Probably. If they can add some functionality. If it's just a redesign, then no.

And I disagree that the hype has slowed because of some tablet effect, the hype has slowed because Nintendo isn't releasing the information we want to hear about - online, Miiverse, 2013 games, etc...
Posted: 11/01/12, 16:44:45
I doubt we'll see a resolution jump, because of scalability. If you throw a 720p screen in there or something, all the old content is going to need to be scaled to the new resolution, which means that there would need to be some kind of scaler chip in the console or gamepad. I doubt Nintendo would have a scalar in the console now without any use, and the additional cost i the gamepad doesn't sound like something Nintendo would go with. The other option is to double the resolution like the iPad 3, but that would require a 960p display, and that's just as unlikely.
Posted: 11/01/12, 17:34:33

Adding gaming functionality seems like a bad idea since it would split the base and lead to little support, like the Wii Motion Plus. And a new Gamepad wouldn't be something they could pack in with any big game like they did with Wiimote pluses.

I really wonder how Nintendo feels about WM+ in retrospect. Was it worth it for them or do they wish they handled it differently. They're so inscrutable about that kind of thing that it makes it hard to predict what they'll do in the future.


I don't know too much about this stuff, but could a 960p display be affordable in the next 3 years?
Posted: 11/01/12, 17:40:02  - Edited by 
 on: 11/01/12, 17:42:55
I'd be surprised if they did. The damn thing is expensive enough as it is.

I'd like one though...

Got my eye on you.
Posted: 11/01/12, 21:26:57  - Edited by 
 on: 11/01/12, 21:33:55
I don't think they'll add any functionality (which couldn't be easily replicated in a cheap peripheral), but maybe they'll give it a makeover.

I wonder how far Nintendo will push two-Gamepad gaming. I'd love a cool suite of software with a Gamepad pack-in.
Posted: 11/01/12, 22:06:49  - Edited by 
 on: 11/01/12, 22:07:44
a 960p touch screen would have to be purpose built for the Wii U Gamepad, it's not a standard resolution.

Posted: 11/01/12, 23:25:30  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/12, 03:06:19

Nintendo will not start an arms race with Apple/Samsung releasing new electronics with incremental upgrades. It doesn't do it vs. Sony and MS, it would make less sense to do it in order to compete in a different a market.
Posted: 11/02/12, 04:57:43
Posted: 11/02/12, 19:12:57  - Edited by 
 on: 11/05/12, 15:35:15
I'd rather get a Wii U 2 that just uses the same controllers lol.
Posted: 11/02/12, 21:52:32
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