Should the gamepad become optional?

February 4, 2014

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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