Should the gamepad become optional?
I have brought this up a few places and people just seem to lose their minds that doing this would mean the end of the gamepad and tell me how great it is and how terrible the Wii U with no gamepad is. I am not making this thread to discuss in any way the complete abandonment of the gamepad. It has been an integral part of the system since launch and 6 million Wii U owners all have at least one and some games are not even possible with out the second screen. The gamepad is not going to vanish or be taken away and making it optional would not effect those 6 million users in any negative way.
Since I have bought a pro-controller it has made me realize that it is basically the same thing as the gamepad with out the touch screen for most purposes. 95% of Wii U games (not a scientificly generated number) support a single screen experience already with off TV play. Is there any reason these games should not be enabled to be played on a TV with a pro controller?
There are a few things currently with the Wii U where it forces you to use the gamepad. As the software develops these things should continue to become optional. Is there any reason I should not be able to enter my log in password with my pro controller? If I am going to play a game on the TV why should I have to go fetch my gamepad just to enter a password, and then put it back on the charger, and then go back to my couch to sit down and play, and then wonder how the heck I lost my pro-controller while I was doing all that? Just give me the option to enter the password with my controller already.....geez man. There are few other things like system settings or entering in to Wii mode that should be able to be accomplished if you don't have your gamepad (or your TV for that matter). This is just a matter of convenience for the user.
Now don't get all crazy on me here. I love the gamepad, I think it's great, I think it something that makes the Wii U really unique, I think the console experience is much much better with the gamepad, and I think Nintendo should continue to work to make the gamepad even more compelling and that doing so will benefit the console and it's users.
With all of that being said, and hopefully all gamepad lovers and defenders still in agreement with all of that, why not go ahead and release a gimped "starter set" of the Wii U that does not include the gamepad? This will not effect all of us with gamepads. We will not be losing anything, nothing will be taken away from us, it does not mean the gamepad is no longer part of the system or anything of the sort. I am not one, but there are people who simply do not like the gamepad and may find the system more appealing without it. It is reported that DK tropical freeze shuts off the screen on the gamepad when you play on the TV with it. Super Mario 3D world barely added a couple of levels that made you use it but doesn't let you use it while doing multi-player except for boost mode (the 2d games either which I find mystifying and annoying). Smash Bros. is going to basically ignore it because of multi-player. Mario Kart 8 I expect to have maybe a map like in MK7 and MKDS. Especially with those last 2 games, people who want them may not be interested in off tv play or the games built on a dual screen setup or drawing on miiverse or the ease of using the console web browser or any of the other things that the gamepad adds to the system, so why not offer a gimped bundle for them that lets them play these games on the TV without needing a gamepad to enter their password?
I don't see a downside for Nintendo in doing this. Yes the system software will need to be updated, but it should be anyway. Yeah some games may need patching, but you can just market the starter set as only playing single screen content (Off tv play enable games). It is a gimped bundle made available for a sub-set of the customer base, not a replacement of the main console configuration moving forward. From what I have read Nintendo is taking a small loss on the current Wii U SKU and the gamepad is costing them around $75 to produce. They can swap the gamepad for a pro controller and probably save $70 in cost and mark the bundle down $50.....they now make a profit on that SKU. You also put standalone gamepads on the shelf too that also generate a profit. You are now profiting on at least some of your hardware sales where you were always taking a loss previously and at the same time you have lowered the entry price of the system as well.
I think it makes all the sense in the world and I think it will happen. No one saw the 2DS coming, but this strategy is basically the same thing. You do this when a huge franchise drops just like they did with the 2DS and pokemon. Mario Kart most likely, but Smash Bros. could end up being the game.
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Even though I disagree with your idea about separating the two, I do applaud you for the time, effort, and thought you put into writing that up. And I believe that many of your points are 100% valid!!!
My take on it is that N blew it on multiple issues. First was the marketing, of which I already wrote up my gripes about in a post awhile back. Second, and that of which I agree with you on 100%, is the lack of support in games for that fancy new controller. As you stated, most games it is almost pointless. What I would like to have seen happen, and what really should have happened, was making the gamepad a core essential of the game playing process (not required just for the sole purpose of turning your console on....wtf...). A few games have used it, kinda cool I guess, but I honestly expected a lot more when I first heard about it. I expected a lot more when I bought it! Awhile back when I wrote my take on the marketing, I said I had faith that N would do something cool with the gamepad. So far I'm still waiting.
So I guess I'm going against the idea of abandoning it as a core component, and hoping N can figure out a way to make cool games that need it, where it completes the whole experience of the game itself. Now that is something that hasn't really been done yet, and its going to require a 4th dimension of thinking. My fear is that if it is no longer required, we would get flooded with a lot of other games that may be ok, but abandoning a concept that hasn't been realized to its full potential. Why spend the time and money on developing something new, when they could just do like everyone else and still make a buck.
....not to mention the even worse PR.."N admits failure and goes with regular controller". Which makes it really just an overpowered Wii.
Just my opinion, I could be wrong..lol
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Ha, yeah I tried to condense and simplify that but looking back on it I see a wall of text. Thanks for reading.
But I do like the gamepad and think Nintendoland, Game and Wario, and Zombi U do some cool things with it as well as Wii Party U (For Lego City I didn't think it was too important at all and think they should still support Off Tv play). I don't think we should expect everything on the system to really try to take advantage of it, I am fine with having a map/inventory management screen and think that is a perfectly fine use for it as well. We see these big features often getting more ignored over time, motion control was not core to much of the Wii's line up. We saw touchscreen stuff being tacked on to DS games less over time. The gamepad will always be great for some things like off TV play and web browsing and miiverse art. I don't see those types of games that are dual screen only type of experiences coming down the pipe line. Yeah Iwata has spoken of focusing on the gamepad, but what is on the way? Some use for the NFC element that fit meters ignored due to cost? Third parties are not bringing it so its up to Nintendo and I don't think a segmented user base is a concern for them- Majoras Mask needed a memory expansion, Skyward Sword requires motion plus, Gyromite sort of required ROB lol.
Really, for me personally, I just want those annoyances of having to swap controllers to do simple stuff to be fixed. We are on the same page I think so far, but with the software at that point I don't see a reason not to release a gimped starter bundle. I think the gamepad could still be a core component and a focus for the console going forward and that those without a gamepad are just settling for part of the Wii U experience. No reason not to leave plenty of reminders in the software of what those people are missing out on as a way to encourage them to buy a gamepad later on.
Overall the majority of software going forward will use the gamepad for off-tv play and map display/inventory management regardless of them selling a "starter bundle" or not. Utilizing the gamepad creatively is going to be up to Nintendo alone one way or the other.
When you call it abandonment of a core component is that what you are talking about (future software support)? Or is it more about thinking it will be abandoned and forgotten moving forward because no one will buy gamepads anymore?
If you are thinking the gamepads simply won't sell anymore than wouldn't that basically be irrefutable proof that making it optional was the right call for the health of the system?
I think the gamepad would still sell and be the main pillar of the console while "starter set" crew would basically be for people who just want to play smash or kart and don't care about the gamepad. Maybe you sell a few more consoles and at a higher profit margin. Maybe you sell a few more copies of software. Maybe you sell a few more gamepads individually at a higher profit margin.
Either way making it optional for system software seems like a no brainer for me. As far as releasing a "starter" hardware bundle I guess you risk confusing the consumer, but I think that can be managed. I am not trying to say "starter" hardware would turn the consoles fortunes around or anything, but I think it would only help.
Last edited by blaisedinsd; 02-04-2014 at 06:29 PM.
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Retired WiiHacks Staff
You make many valid points, so many in fact that you have me rethinking the first line in my post above lol.
My worry is that if developers aren't pushed to make new stuff for the game pad, they won't. Seems a much cheaper route. And business wise it would be a smart move for them. Say N sells just as many starter packs as they have full packs. Now, in order to sell a game that costs more to make, they have to sell it along with a gamepad, therefore alienating many people who can't afford to pay 70 or 80 for the pad and 60 for the game (obviously just throwing cost estimates out there). The gamepad I think would be doomed unless there was a big bumrush of awesome titles that came out all at once that required it.
So to get Wii U sales in the short term, yeah I think you are probably right. If N came out with a lot more cool titles it might make it last a little longer. I guess tho I'm still hung up on making the damn gamepad more of a focus. All the games you mentioned were good for that, my top being Nintendoland. For me anyways its frustrating seeing that as my fav for gamepad use when it came with my bundle a year ago...
On a side note, look at BO2 (I didn't buy ghosts). They turned it into a pro controller game. Took away the zapper presets. (I did make my own btw) I realize they wanted to appeal to hardcore gamers, but that totally pissed me off. The fun for me was using the motion controls. Obviously its going to take longer to move your zapper than switch a button press. Its a damn ps3 game on Wii u basically. I imagined gamepad scoping. Seeing what's on your TV while holding a zapper with a gamepad attached. Peeking around corners by holding a button, where your front view on the TV didn't change, but your eyesight from your head movement did on the gamepad. I don't know lol, something, ANYTHING more than what they did. All they did that was cool was allow for multiplayer without using a split screen. Other than that I hate it.
/rant about BO over
Haha. That's my frustration with the gamepad and lack thereof. But yeah, I do see your point
On the PC platform, we've seen games push hardware (read: video cards) sales when a AAA title comes out. Those gamers what do they do? Go out and upgrade their video card. This is no different than with the Wii-U. Release a badass "must have" that requires the gamepad (and I don't mean make it compulsory for giggles, but I mean utilize the damn thing!) and the rest would follow. Same principle...
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Retired WiiHacks Staff
Yep, that's exactly where I'm coming from nighty. Its going to take something kick ass that makes you really want the gamepad to make it work. If N (or anybody for that matter) can score a home run with that, other developers will look at that and set their bars higher. A win for N, but more importantly a win for me and the gaming world in general.
Some of your ideas of what could have been done in BLOPS2 sound pretty cool. I agree there is more potential for the gamepad/second screen than what we have seen so far.
The state of the Wii U currently means we won't be getting those types of things from 3rd parties. It is up to Nintendo basically and I don't think they would make that type of game with those types of features. Nintendo does want to continue to push the gamepad as the hook for the console, but in my opinion the majority of that effort needs to be at launch and hoping for it now is wishful thinking. Basically while Nintendoland in my opinion is a great game it just doesn't resonate with the mass market the way Wii Sports did with its motion controls. Nothing, no matter how great, is going to duplicate that type of successful hook for the Wii U and the gamepad....not at this point. And really, outside of Wii Sports I don't think motion controls were really that integral to the Wii. We got Wii play and Warioware Smooth mooves and a bunch of shovelware waggle fests trying to capitalize on the fad and the install base. Core nintendo franchises basically tacked on waggle in to games that could easily be a button press (well I did think motion controls in kart were really fun, but completely optional). Then we got Wii Sports resort and Skyward Sword which required motionplus upgrades. Third party games that did motion control well? Maybe red steel 2, were the tiger woods games good (I don't play golf games really)? Basically the point I am trying to make is that the gamepad, as a feature, still can be supported just as well as motion controls were on the wii even if every console sold is not tethered to it. Motion controls became a segmented feature on Wii with motion plus, I don't have much concern or hope that gamepad support will be much different either way if the gamepad became optional.
I don't think a future gamepad required game would have to bundle a controller. We have 6 million gamepads out there. They can continue to sell and promote the gamepad. It has a large enough install base, and the early adopter segment is probably the most likely to buy the most software. A starter set is targeted just for people who have no interest in the gamepad (if that quickly becomes a 50-50 userbase than making the gamepad optional was huge boost to sales). They probably have lots of white 8GB models in storage they need to move that could be used for these starter sets. I think pricing would be a big factor, the Deluxe set sold way more because it was a better value. If they sell a starter set for $50 less and put $100 gamepads on the shelf too I don't think the starter set becomes a runaway success, but if they sell that set for $100 less and put $100 gamepads on the shelf it sort of points to the death of the gamepad moving forward.
The console is selling on ebay for $130.
Sure that price may actually go up if the gamepad is more sofware optional as we all pretty much agree it should be. I am not suggesting Nintendo could sell the console for this price I am pointing out what's wrong with artificially requiring the gampad.
Nintendo needs to sell consoles to sell software....that's what this business is about. IMO Nintendo and Microsoft got a bit arrogant with the success of Wii and 360 and their gimmics. Adding a huge cost to their consoles at launch in order to attempt to artificially require the add on gimmic as some deeply integrated system feature has shown to be a huge blunder. The main reason Xbone is lagging behind PS4 in sales is that Kinect makes it $100 more expensive. No PS4 on the shelves and tons of Xbones. The Wii U priced itself out of it's core alternative market. The PS3 was a clear third in it's console war and the playstation move was a failure compared to Kinect. Sony aimed for their core market and realized that price matters even to that market. This is the reason Sony is clearly the leader at this point this generation.
Microsoft and Nintendo need to realize they are not trying to sell gamepads and kinects, they are trying to sell gaming hardware and games. These expensive add ons need to become optional as soon as possible if they want to minimize the damage.
The Wii U needs to focus on what made the Wii brand successful. It needs to be the budget friendly option with the best family friendly exlsuives that works with all your controllers and accessories and still plays all your Wii games(minus the gamecube port which I think it would be nice for them to add as many of their core fans prefer it to wii controls). It's best chance to compete is as an HD upgraded Wii that plays the new HD versions of the games you loved on your Wii. Many people had a Wii alongside one of the HD twins and many of those people are not going to go for Wii U at $300 when they haven't played their Wii in years because it hardly had any games at the end. Get that price down and those games may entice them, but they need price and compelling games to convince them to have a Wii U along with their PS4.
Microsoft needs to realize that the kinect was effective at expanding the appeal of their brand. It helped bring in the causal market the same as the Wii's motion controls on a smaller scale. The core success of 360 was independant of kinect, it was the core gaming crowd that loves playing online and being cheaper that allowed them to defeat the PS3. Making kinect a requirement makes them lose their price advantage and it is way too expensive to appeal to the casual kinect user. They have lost a segment of their fanbase to Sony as a result. This fanbase is likely retained if they have no kinect and are the same price as PS4.
Hypothetical Nintendo direct next week:
1. Iwata explains the situation of wii u not being as successful as they had hoped.
2. He talks about the appeal of the gamepad and off tv play and emphasizes the best gamepad centered experiences we have had on the console. He tells us they are committed to developing more software centered around the unique features of the gamepad and maybe even teases a concept.
3. He then begins to talk about the great games on the way. He then drops the bomb: they have realized that these games do not directly benefit from the unique features of the gamepad and in an effort to get these games to the widest audience of people they have decided to release a version of the wii u that does not include the gamepad. The software just works at this point with there summer update and they announce this bundle will come with a pro controller and sell for $225 with the patched version of 3D world. He assures those who still want to panic that off tv play will be a feature available on all software not designed to take advantage of the second screen.
4. He tells us which games won't be patched and will not be playable with out the gamepad.
5. As a gesture he announces all upgrade pricing paid on virtual console will be refunded and future titles will become automatically available on wii u and 3ds based on your Nintendo network id and availability. In the future they may charge upgrade pricing on future consoles.
If this were to happen who is going to complain?
If it happened this way the haters will still hate on the gamepad but we won't care and we will still say how great it is. Always the one to copy a week later Microsoft announces a new xbone bundle with no kinect. Is this really that outlandish a scenario?
Last edited by blaisedinsd; 02-10-2014 at 08:06 PM.