Last week, Nintendo finally announced the launch details for their upcoming Wii U console. We learned its November 18 release date in the U.S., as well as two separate prices for the console's launch bundles — the Basic Set and the Deluxe Set.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a price for an individual GamePad tablet controller, and that is because none of the games in the system's launch window will offer dual-GamePad functionality. In fact, it won't be until sometime next year that games will support dual-GamePad gameplay.
Speaking to 1UP, Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen confirmed that the Wii U's launch window "is all going to be single-GamePad."
"The dual-GamePad functionality, we expect to start seeing that in games sometime next year," he added. "Our feeling is, we're not going to sell another GamePad if you don't have something to use it with. We'll make that available as an additional accessory when there's content to support it."
For those who have been keeping up with the Wii U, you probably already know that Nintendo is offering the GamePad separately in Japan, raising question that certain games in Japan will support dual-GamePads.
"That I don't know," Trinen responded to which games in Japan are supporting it. "I don't think that they've announced any that are. I think they're just announcing that's going to be the price when it eventually goes on sale. I don't know that they announced a date for when it will be available."
So it looks like, for the time being, Nintendo's initial wave of Wii U games will support the company's focus on asymmetric gameplay; that is, the one player with the GamePad is in a solitary world competing differently, maybe even winning in a different way, while playing the same game as their friends. With asymmetric gameplay The Player with the Wii U GamePad takes on a special role, playing in the same game world as those with the Wiimotes, but have a different perspective on the same game being played. These players are given different information and likely play a different role than others.
It doesn't look like the news of only one GamePad is hurting the general public's perception of the Wii U. It has been reported that over the weekend GameStop sold out of Wii U consoles. Currently the Nintendo Wii U 32GB Deluxe Set for $349.99 is sold out on the site, but the 8GB Basic Set is still available for $299.99