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I can confirm that it is $85 because I had a dead pixel on my gamepad screen and sent it in for repair, they replaced it.

arcane_chaos said:
that's one pricey controller, so the Wii U warranty also covers the gamepad?

$85 seems like a bargain honestly, aren't new xbox 360 wireless controllers $60 (maybe they used to be) even if they are $50, that's only $35 more to add a beautiful touchreen in the middle.  btw I do not think they will even be that cheap if they do sell the gamepads by themselves at some point.