Was reading this article by the Times and it reminded of why the wii U is $350 and not £250 or even less; The gamepad. Here are a few excepts from the article...
"In Super Mario 3D World, for example, you can touch the screen to interact with certain objects, such as POW blocks. This makes the game slightly easier in a handfu l of areas, but it was essentially a glorified cheat button. In Mario Kart 8, the touchscreen includes a horn and a way to switch between controller types. You can also view a map and see which items other players are carrying, but it’s too difficult to look down at this information while driving. Putting this information on the TV screen would be more helpful..... It makes me wonder whether Nintendo is setting the stage for a low-cost, GamePad-free version of the Wii U. Given that the GamePad isn’t essential to Nintendo’s upcoming games, and that it doesn’t have much support from other publishers." http://techland.time.com/2013/06/14/even-nintendo-is-stumped-by-the-wii-u-gamepad/
To add to these lack luster functions, big games like Pikmin 3 and Donkey Kong were being played with the wii remotes at E3, so it seems not even Nintendo has any real ambitions with the Gamepad. Do you guys think the Wii U pad was a worthwhile investment, are you still excited for its potential? Maybe Nintendo should have released it as a bundled accessory once they found a defining piece of software to package it with (similar to the balance board+wii fit). A huge part of the Wii U's failure thus far is weak a software line up, so I'm not necessarily saying that the gamepad is to blame, but its removal could have allowed a number of alternatives for nintendo Nextgen effort:
Wii HD: Simply branded, the wii but with better graphics and media functionality (bluray). The console could have shipped with a tradition 360 styled gamepad (for 3rd party games like AC) and wiimote+. Marketing would have been easy and the price more approachable at $250 ($300 if nintendo wanted day1 profit).
Nintendo: Maybe they could have gone for a traditional powerhouse console and retackled their approach with the N64 but with better execution? Risky, but look at how Microsoft has morphed the xbox brand and appeal between generations and even the 2nd half of the 360s life.