Nintendo Should Offer A GamePad-Less Wii U
Posted on Sunday, September 1 @ 12:00:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn
This past week brought with it some surprising Nintendo news. First, the announcement of a stripped-down, budget-friendly version of the 3DS called the 2DS, and second, a $50 price drop for the deluxe model of the Wii U. With the tablet-centric console set to be a full $100 below the PlayStation 4, Nintendo's HD system is in a relatively good place going into the holiday season. But I'd argue it could be much better, as offering a GamePad-less Wii U SKU would be able to drive the price of the console down even further, hitting that desirable $250 sweet spot.
Before I get ahead of myself, let's first look a bit deeper into the 2DS announcement. Nintendo is stripping out glasses-free 3D support and the clamshell design in favor of a much more cost-effective solution that will appeal to a wider audience of gamers, namely children ages five to seven. This willingness to abandon one of the handheld's key features in favor of driving down the price makes it evident that Nintendo isn't committed to 3D gaming. The company recognizes the feature isn't taking off and as such has adjusted the handheld accordingly.
So I can't help but wonder whether or not Nintendo will end up doing the same thing with the Wii U. Once you take the 3D out of the 3DS, it's basically just a high-powered DS. Likewise, if you strip away the GamePad from the Wii U, you're left with a high-powered, HD version of the Wii. Nintendo has failed to prove the viability of the GamePad, so why not offer a version of the system that just comes with a Wii Remote, or better yet, a Pro Controller?
Gamers love the 3DS not because you can play games in 3D, but rather because it is a higher-powered version of the DS that has a great software library. Once games like Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, and Super Smash Bros. Wii U are available, I'm sure the same will be true for the Wii U, in this case with regard to GamePad support instead of 3D support. Gamers just want to experience Nintendo games in HD. The off-screen play is cool and shouldn't be abandoned entirely, but it certainly is not an essential component of the experience.
Who knows? Maybe down the line Nintendo could find a way to turn its current handheld device into a GamePad substitute for those that want that second screen experience and/or off-TV functionality. Again, I'm not saying Nintendo should ditch the GamePad altogether, but rather offer a model that doesn't have the costly controller at a more budget-friendly price. At $250, it would be difficult to turn down a machine that plays Nintendo games in high definition, am I right?
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