With the recent reveal of Wii U's pricing and release plans, Nintendo was mum on details regarding the North American pricing of a second, standalone GamePad controller. In fact, none of the games on release will support the second GamePad controller, and it will not be available at launch on its own. But in Japan, it will be available. So just how much will you pay? If you like your pills to swallow huge and bitter, get ready for your fix.
It's definitely not $60, because I'm pretty sure that's where the new 360-esque “Pro”controller lies. It's not $70. It's not $80. It's not $100. It's not even only $140. So just how much are you gunna pay?
Sit down and get a tall glass of water (or maybe lube, if this pill is a suppository) because Nintendo Japan has announced that a second Wii U control pad will set your fundage back 13,400 Yen. What the fuck?? That's an obscene $170.00!
Take that in for a second, and let's see what that could buy you; That's the cost of a 3DS. It's only $30 short of the awesome 3DS XL. It's over half the cost of the PS Vita or PlayStation 3 console with a 160GB hard drive (and you're getting a Blu-Ray player out of the deal too). It's over twice the cost of a used PSP Go at GameStop. And startlingly, it's $20 more than a Wii Console with New Super Mario Bros. Wii and the excellent (actually, seriously excellent) Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack CD.
Let me clarify: This controller is not a console on its own, since you can't load games onto it directly. It is not a handheld videogame system since it only streams visuals from the Wii U and can't be used more than about 50 feet away (at most) from its parent console. The camera is only 1.3 megapixel (about a third the resolution of the average modern cellphone camera) and the technologies used for the gyroscope and touch input are far from new. Basically, it's just a controller with decade-old motion sensitivity, a touch screen, a cheap camera, a microphone and some speakers. Just how can Nintendo justify a $170 price tag?
When you think about it, that would value the Wii U console itself at about $130, if you're paying $300 for the system and a GamePad. Given that the visuals that the Wii U is producing are far from stellar (Naughty Dog's The Last of Us looks far better than any Wii U title I've seen in action, and runs on six-year-old hardware at better rates than say, ZombiU) just how little are we going to get out of the Wii U, especially when Sony and Microsoft reveal and release thier own next-generation follow-ups in the next few years?
One thing is certain: Millions of people (presumably) will still buy the shit out of the Wii U console, and likely a second (overpriced) GamePad as well because, apparently, Nintendo.
Hopefully the cost of the Wii U GamePad will translate differently once it reaches North American shores; a price of $100 seems reasonable for the technology at play here. But if the Wii U GamePad truly is going to be anywhere from $150 to $170, the Wii U is definitely going to be a game system that will seemingly be for “U” and no one else, unless you have (or are willing to spend) enough extra coins to 1-up your gameplay experience for someone that isn't you.