Nintendo: We Designed the GamePad Before the Tablet Trend

One of the most common misconceptions with the Wii U is that Nintendo are trying to compete with tablets with the GamePad controller, and the recent popularity of tablets inspired Nintendo’s direction with the console.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, however, states that the company had planned the controller design prior to the release of Apple’s iPad, despite the Wii U releasing years afterwards.

Speaking to The Nikkei, Iwata discussed the following:

“We began talking about having another screen being a good idea around 2008. We thought thoroughly about our other options, but in the end, this was the idea which was the most logical for us.

“So, in 2009, just as we began to press forward with this idea, sure that we were on the right track, this thing called an ‘Ipad’ came into the world. 2.5 years after the debut of the Ipad, when we were announcing the Wii U, it was the start of the tablet boom, the reaction was, ‘Nintendo’s just added a tablet to a game console, and there’ll be no revolution this time.’

“Even though we’d been working on dual screens prior to the release of tablets, it looked like we were just following a trend.”

I’m glad that Iwata is reinstating something I tell everyone who is confused or skeptical about the Wii U: it’s a successor to the DS, not the Wii. As he says, the Wii U is a pure two-screen experience, different than what a tablet alone can provide; unfortunately, it’s hard to convince casual consumers without them playing it first.

[Source: The Nikkei via My Nintendo News]

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  1. The Wii U’s gamepad may have been conceived before the dawn of the iPad, but the iPad wasn’t the first tablet was it?

    It’s pointless for Nintendo to try and claim any modicum of originality when it comes to the Wii U’s pseudo-tablet gamepad as it is clear that they were playing catch up with tablet computers in more way than one.

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