While thousands of fans were waiting outside electronic shops when the first Wii was made available, little did they know that Nintendo was already hard at work planning the Wii U, which is due to be released next year.
Nintendo’s global president and CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed to Gamasutra that they started planning the Wii U in 2007. But a bigger debate on the planning floor was where to put the second screen.
Originally the screen was supposed to be a stand-alone, which would have been placed on a table, but Iwata said a big screen was feasible.
“Considering how expensive screens were then, it did not make sense to have this big-sized LCD. We would not have been able to come up with a reasonable price point. … We had not decided when we were going to launch the new console [at that point], but we knew we needed to be flexible,” he said.
Naturally, during the planning phase a lot of questions and concerns were raised. “During the roundtable discussions there were such arguments about should we make it capable of being a standalone system or should we make it work only with the [base console] system.”
But luckily a conclusion was reached. “We came to the conclusion that this controller is only going to show the images generated and processed by this hardware unit – and sent from the hardware unit wirelessly. That means sharper graphics. A battery couldn’t do that.”
By Charlie Fripp – Consumer editor