Only one Wii U controller per console, says Nintendo

Ever since Nintendo revealed its exciting new Wii U console, and its even more interesting controller with built-in touch display, the Wii U’s story has been a bit of a mixed bag. 

Despite some very positive buzz around the product after the big reveal, Nintendo later admitted that some of the demo footage for the console had been taken from its PS3 and Xbox 360 rivals. Just three days after the Wii U’s announcement, Nintendo’s stock price had fallen by over 10%.

Then came the rather unwelcome news that – like its predecessor, but unlike its current rivals – the Wii U won’t support DVD or Blu-Ray playback.

Today, Engadget reports that Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo, has confirmed in an interview with Japan’s Diamond Online that only one of the touch screen controllers will be allowed per console, and that games that are in development can’t handle more than one of them at a time.

However, he teased the possibility of that changing, stating that while such games aren’t currently under consideration, they are technically feasible. For now, though, Nintendo feels that the cost of purchasing standalone controllers would be prohibitive to most gamers.

Each Wii U console comes with one controller in the box, and developers are currently being instructed to design games with only one in mind - although your friends can still begrudgingly join in with their old-school Wiimotes, while you revel in your touch screen goodness.

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32 Comments

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Why are they adamant that no blu-ray/dvd playback..... They seem to realize the dedicated gaming console is dead with the rise of the other platforms that browse the web and stream videos, and video chat. As long as I need another box to playback my content stored on physical media, my entertainment center has no room for this console.

Does nobody at Nintendo have children? Have they no concept of what is going to happen when one kid gets to play with the big shiny screen-equipped controller and the other is left with a crappy old Wii-mote?

The whole idea is ****ing stupid. Every kid is going to break that controller, and every Wii U is then going to be useless.

Nashy said,
This console is going to be a massive fail, I can just sense it.

Agreed. Just by reading comments and looking at the facts it is pretty clear that this probably won't do too well. Seems like companies don't pick up on stuff like this though or are too late in the process to listen to feedback. As much as I love Nintendo I think Microsoft's vision of Windows 8 / integration across all types of form factors and the Xbox Live service is much greater. I think I'd like to see Nintendo focus on games versus hardware. Would love to get Nintendo games for PC/Windows/Xbox

In the video I recalled, I thought the fancy controller would be more of a cool 'assisting' device for a game. Not an actual controller for one's self.

They should have made it more of an assisting device for a game, or allowed your DS to connect in a similar fashion.

Shiranui said,
I am the only one who thinks that this is going to be Nintendo's first real failure in recent years?

You're not. I loved the Wii the moment it was first revealed, but as more details about the Wii U come out, I feel Nintendo has no idea what they're doing. The fact that it's limited to one Wii U controller per console is going to be a huge setback. One that makes me not even think about purchasing the console at launch. I'm sure developers probably feel the same way. It's severely limiting the possibilities.

I think this is probably the first Nintendo console that I have absolutely no interest in. I got the NES as a kid and moving to it from a 2600 was incredible. The SNES even more so, and even the N64 blew me away when I saw it running in Wal-Mart. I liked the Gamecube, and even though the Wii turned out to be kind of disappointing I was really looking forward to it too. This thing though...meh.

they should choose mobile gaming or console gaming.. not mix the two - and if they do mix them, do it in a logical sense. they are going in the right direction but are wayy off course.

Why can't DS/3DS/DSi/DSLite/DSiXL work as a tablet controller?

I think they should still make it an option, even if the price is too high, you could always have a friend that also has the console.

rahvii said,
I think they should still make it an option, even if the price is too high, you could always have a friend that also has the console.

Problem with that is games will then either require it or not support it, making extra purchase either required or worthless

So much for hardcore gaming, when all your friends have to use those damn wii motes. I want a return to the Nintendo of old Hell, I'd be happy if they just created a third type of controller that was just... a controller.

They should quit with the gimmicks and cute shiz, it worked once with the Wii but going for a second "controller revolution" is a bit risky. Especially when even the Wii mote got old pretty fast.

Nihilus said,

They should quit with the gimmicks and cute shiz, it worked once with the Wii but going for a second "controller revolution" is a bit risky. Especially when even the Wii mote got old pretty fast.

Took the words right out of my mouth, the thing will flop and the Xbox Next and PS4 will surpass it when they launch because the Wii U will be far behind in specs and most likely 3rd party support...

This thing is going to go like hot cakes in the beginning then fade to sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Sounds familiar.

mdubb559 said,
This thing is going to go like hot cakes in the beginning then fade to sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Sounds familiar.

Like the Virtual Boy, the light gun, and the robot that loaded bits of plastic...

shakezula said,

Like the Virtual Boy, the light gun, and the robot that loaded bits of plastic...


Dont forget about the gameboy dock

shakezula said,

Like the Virtual Boy, the light gun, and the robot that loaded bits of plastic...

The Virtual Boy never sold like hot cakes, but that robot is still on my shelf with his gyros, collecting dust after all these years.

Ah, now that's different from what I heard from before - I was lead to believe the limitation of one is due to actual technical set-backs, not because Nintendo has made an artificial block.

The Teej said,
Ah, now that's different from what I heard from before - I was lead to believe the limitation of one is due to actual technical set-backs, not because Nintendo has made an artificial block.

I think they've suggested before that you could be able to use up to two of the new controllers. I think beyond that the technical limitations kick in.

The Teej said,
Ah, now that's different from what I heard from before - I was lead to believe the limitation of one is due to actual technical set-backs, not because Nintendo has made an artificial block.
the vid card could support up to 4X SD display, so...it could likely support 2 or so...

So if my controller is stolen or malfunctions, do I have to buy an entire new Wii U console? I wonder how much the controller costs in proportion to the console (if it's significant, you might as well just buy another Wii U)

AnthoWin said,
So if my controller is stolen or malfunctions, do I have to buy an entire new Wii U console? I wonder how much the controller costs in proportion to the console (if it's significant, you might as well just buy another Wii U)

I would probably guess you would do the same thing as if your console breaks.

Buy a new one or send it in for repairs.

s3n4te said,
How am I supposed to play the new Super Smash Brothers with friends with only 1 controller?

Your friends use wiimotes. Tbh, I'd rather be using a Wiimote than that massive thing for smash bros methinks

s3n4te said,
How am I supposed to play the new Super Smash Brothers with friends with only 1 controller?

I'm guessing the Classic Controller is going to become the normal controller.

s3n4te said,
How am I supposed to play the new Super Smash Brothers with friends with only 1 controller?
gamecube controller anybody??

NeoNut said,
Makes sense if the video card they are using supports only 2 displays.

Well, they said that it was technically feasible, so it sounds to me like it's more of the Nintendo philosophy of keeping costs down. So, if games don't require more than the one controller that ships with the unit, then the costs would be cheaper for new customers. Though, multiple controllers (With the screen) should be supported by all games IMO...

And the argument could be made as well, that until a periferal is cost effective (Such as a new controller), a release should be held off... Given how economy of scale can so drastically reduce cost though, I'm hoping that in a year or so Nintendo will be able to reduce the cost (Which though not announced, Nintendo clearly considers it considerable...).