E3 2012: Nintendo on the difficult second controller

E3 2012: Nintendo on the difficult second controller
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

June 6th 2012 at 10:10AM

Wii U will support two GamePads, but not with out a huge effort from the console manufacturer

One of Nintendo's top Wii U execs has talked frankly about the challenges support for two GamePads has brought the team behind the forthcoming console.

At yesterday's Nintendo E3 press conference, it was revealed that the Wii U will support two of its distinctive GamePads. The reason that fact impresses is because, along with gyros, a camera, a microphone and various other inputs, the GamePad features a relatively large touch screen.

Developers will likely be delighted that they can design games around three screens – the main television and the GamePads' 'single player' screens.

However, for Nintendo's engineers to create a device that could fill three screens with visuals using only one processor and a single graphics chip took a significant effort, as revealed by Wii U hardware producer Katsuya Eguchi at a roundtable press conference at E3.

“The reality is it takes processing power to draw an image on a single screen,” said Eguchi during the roundtable, speaking through a translator. “If you add a second screen, it requires extra resources from the hardware. There are hurdles we have to overcome. But by implementing another screen, it adds more innovation in game play and it makes it more fun.”

In the end, Nintendo had to balance component cost with console ability and consumer expectation, and went with a solution that it says it hopes will favour developers and what they can achieve with three-screen gaming.

As reported by Venturebeat, Eguchi later added: "Taking the same image and displaying it on three screens does significantly affect the performance. With three different images on three screens, that is something else. The fun and enjoyment is what you get. What’s most important is how the roles of the screens are divided.

"To be quite frank, if you try to push too much performance, you need more expensive components and that raises the price of the hardware. You have to draw a fine line between performance and cost of the hardware and being able to create the experiences that you want to create. That is my frank opinion."