Wii U GamePad
Illustration of the Wii U GamePad
|Type||Video game controller|
|Display||6.2 inch (15.7 cm) 854x480 16:9 @ 158 ppi|
|Sound||Stereo speakers, Headphones|
|Touchpad||Single-touch LCD display|
|Connectivity||Proprietary wireless based on IEEE 802.11n NFC, Infrared|
|Dimensions||5.3 × 0.9 × 10.2 in (13.5 × 2.3 × 25.9 cm)|
The Wii U GamePad is a controller used by Nintendo's Wii U video game console. Incorporating traits from tablet devices, the GamePad incorporates both traditional input methods (such as buttons, dual analog sticks, and a D-pad) and a touchscreen. The touchscreen can be used to supplement a game by providing alternate, second screen functionality or an asymmetric view of a scenario in a game. The screen can also be used to play a game strictly on the GamePad screen, without the use of a television display at all. Conversely, non-gaming functions can be assigned to it as well, such as the ability to use it as a television remote.
Nintendo's development team had determined that the Wii's notification light did not provide enough information to be useful beyond whether it had received content or not. With the complexity of modern televisions, designer Shigeru Miyamoto believed that a monitor separate from the console would provide an easier way to check on the console's status without needing to use the television. Its operation as a supplemental display was also inspired by the common use of a secondary display at karaoke establishments in Japan, which display song information and also allows its users to select their next song. Satoru Iwata stated that the controller's design is intended to provide a deeper experience for all players and allow them to "see games in a different way," a concept referred to as "asymmetric gaming" during its E3 2012 press conference. With the Wii U's Miiverse social networking functionality, Iwata also likened the controller's screen to a "social window", which can allow users to remain connected even if they aren't playing.
The Nintendo EAD development team created two controller prototypes: a monitor with two Wii Remotes taped to the sides, and a display attached to a Wii Zapper. In a prototype shown at E3, the controller had featured circle pads similar to those of the Nintendo 3DS. On May 19, 2012, a photograph of a near-final version of the controller was leaked on Twitter by an employee of TT Games, revealing a wider build with ergonomic grips, a redesigned button layout, and analog sticks instead of circle pads. On June 3, 2012, Nintendo officially unveiled the final version of the controller, named "Wii U GamePad", in a video presentation preceding E3 2012. This presentation confirmed the hardware changes which had been made since the E3 prototype, such as the addition of analog sticks; and, it revealed other features that can be used with its screen.
The GamePad's primary feature is its 6.2 in (16 cm), FWVGA (854x480), touchscreen display, which can be controlled with either fingers or an included stylus. The screen can be used as a supplement to gameplay to provide additional functionality that can be controlled using the screen, or to stream gameplay from the console in lieu of a television display (Off-TV Play). The controller also features a front-facing camera (usable for video chat), dual analog sticks, and motion control support. The GamePad also supports NFC, which allows developers to create figurines or cards that wirelessly interact with the controller, and allow users to make contactless credit card transactions with compatible cards. In a special presentation preceding E3 2012, Nintendo unveiled more details about the GamePad; including its ability to be used as a remote control for a television, and the ability to send handwritten messages and other content.
The GamePad communicates with a Wii U console over a modified Wi-Fi protocol designed for low-latency transmission, establishing its connection with the console by using a variant of the WPS process. The GamePad's display contents are streamed as video from the console using a custom protocol and the H.264 video codec, for which the GamePad contains a hardware decoder.
Nintendo's first presentation of the controller in 2011 led to confusion upon whether the Wii U would support the use of multiple GamePads. A Nintendo spokesperson stated that the GamePad would not be sold individually from a Wii U console, and Shigeru Miyamoto had not ruled out the possibility of using multiple GamePads with a single console—but also felt that it may be more convenient to use the Nintendo 3DS as a controller in this scenario as well—implying potential compatibility. During Nintendo's E3 2012 presentation, it was confirmed that the console supports up to two GamePads simultaneously.
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