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The Wii U GamePad is a controller used by Nintendo's Wii U video game console. Incorporating traits from tablet devices, the GamePad incorporates both traditional input methods (such as buttons, dual analog sticks, and a D-pad) and a touchscreen. The touchscreen can be used to supplement a game by providing alternate, second screen functionality or an asymmetric view of a scenario in a game. The screen can also be used to play a game strictly on the GamePad screen, without the use of a television display at all. Conversely, non-gaming functions can be assigned to it as well, such as the ability to use it as a television remote.

The Wii U GamePad can be used in conjunction with other controllers compatible with the console, such as the Wii Remote Plus, Wii Balance Board, and the more conventional Wii U Pro Controller.[1][2]

History

Nintendo's development team had determined that the Wii's notification light did not provide enough information to be useful beyond whether it had received content or not. With the complexity of modern televisions, designer Shigeru Miyamoto believed that a monitor separate from the console would provide an easier way to check on the console's status without needing to use the television.[1] Its operation as a supplemental display was also inspired by the common use of a secondary display at karaoke establishments in Japan, which display song information and also allows its users to select their next song.[3] Satoru Iwata stated that the controller's design is intended to provide a deeper experience for all players and allow them to "see games in a different way,"[3] a concept referred to as "asymmetric gaming" during its E3 2012 press conference.[4] With the Wii U's Miiverse social networking functionality, Iwata also likened the controller's screen to a "social window", which can allow users to remain connected even if they are not playing.[1] Gyroscopic capabilities were added by the team specifically to aid in aiming for first and third person shooter games. [5]

The Nintendo EAD development team created two controller prototypes: a monitor with two Wii Remotes taped to the sides, and a display attached to a Wii Zapper.[6] In a prototype shown at E3, the controller had featured circle pads similar to those of the Nintendo 3DS. On May 19, 2012, a photograph of a near-final version of the controller was leaked on Twitter by an employee of TT Games, revealing a wider build with ergonomic grips, a redesigned button layout, and analog sticks instead of circle pads.[7] On June 3, 2012, Nintendo officially unveiled the final version of the controller, named "Wii U GamePad", in a video presentation preceding E3 2012. This presentation confirmed the hardware changes which had been made since the E3 prototype, such as the addition of analog sticks; and, it revealed other features that can be used with its screen.[1]


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