So as many of you know by now, the Wii U will come with one new controller and will focus on robust single player experiences. There has also been confusion about whether or not the Wii U can support more than one of those new controllers, up until recently all indications pointed to the fact that they could not. Yesterday, we found out at least we think we did that the Wii U “could” support more than one of the new controllers but they are still determining where they want to go with that and they have told developers to approach development at this point as if each console will only one controller. Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata said:
“In the future, we may look at what other opportunities there are for gameplay and, how having two of those controllers might create fun or interesting new styles of play, but of course in doing that, it would require a consumer to purchase an additional controller. Therefore, we would need to carefully consider how we could create such an experience and, potentially, how we could ensure that there would be enough value within that experience for the consumer to accept that cost and make that purchase.”
This of course raises some interesting questions in relation to the actual cost of the new controller. At this point, Nintendo will include one of the new controllers with every console but Nintendo has made statements that have suggested that the new controllers may not even be sold separately. The next logical question that one has to ask is what happens if and when the new controller breaks? How much will it cost to replace it? Will Nintendo have a lifetime warranty on the controller, that would be nice but not a good business.
Honestly, I have always seen controllers for video game as things that need to be replaced every 6-12 months on average and more often if you are hard on controllers. Today, a brand new PS3 controller cost $54.99 and a brand new Xbox 360 controller cost $39.99. For pricing to be such a concern that Iwata would say “Therefore, we would need to carefully consider how we could create such an experience and, potentially, how we could ensure that there would be enough value within that experience for the consumer to accept that cost and make that purchase.” This makes us believe that the new controller will be significantly more expensive than the existing controllers and that is a scary thought. On the low side we could be looking at each controller running in the $75-$100 range and even that might be wishful thinking. The controller is slick but having a controller with a microphone, speakers, touch screen, gyroscope, accelerometer, 2 joysticks and all the standard buttons is going to cost gamers. The real question we all want to know is just how much?