Reggie explains why the Nintendo Wii U didn’t use dual GamePad support

Wii U GamePad
Image: Nintendo Life

The Wii U generation had a lot of potential, but its life was cut short in the end due to the system’s lackluster sales. One thing that never expanded was the ability to play with not just one, but two GamePads at once – allowing players to come together for some dual-screen action.

While Nintendo acknowledged it was possible, many have wondered why nothing ever came of this feature. In a recent interview with YouTube channel MinnMax, former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé elaborated on this. Yes, technically Multiple GamePads could communicate with a Wii U, but other factors such as the system’s install base, longevity, and no unique games or ideas for such a feature came into play. Here’s the full exchange:

MinnMax: When you first introduced the Wii U, you all asked: Can we use multiple Wii U GamePads? And finally it was interesting because the news just came out and you [Nintendo] everyone said “yeah, yeah, absolutely you can, let’s go”… and it was never asked again, and as far as I know it was never implemented… how was that from your point of view?

Reggie: Well, what was interesting is that with the Wii U, there was a full development plan for all the interesting interactions and all the interesting capabilities that the system could do, and so in this case technically multiple GamePads could talk to one Wii, you? The answer was yes, but the install base never grew large enough for this type of implementation to make sense. And most importantly, the company didn’t create a game where you needed another GamePad to have a great experience, development just didn’t progress, and the lifespan of the Wii U was so short it just never materialized . .. for these initiatives to come to life (at least from Nintendo’s point of view) there has to be a game driving this implementation, so the player can see why you need a second GamePad, for example, and this game development process is just so critical.

So – there you go, it comes down to the low install base, longevity and also the usual case of needing a game that uses the feature properly for it to be supported. If you want to learn more about Nintendo’s Wii U generation, Reggie’s new book offers even more insight:

Would you have liked to see this feature launched? Did you support Nintendo yourself during the Wii U generation? Leave a comment below.