Nintendo doesn’t want your Wii U controller to function like an iPad or an Android tablet.
It wants the GamePad to have a very distinct and specific purpose, and apparently incorporating multi-touch technology into the device goes against that purpose.
In an interview with Kotaku, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company looked at all sorts of configurations for the controller.
However, “When we went through the building of this and, given some of the functionality, we thought that single-touch was a more appropriate option, especially when you’ve got other button configurations,” he was quoted as saying.
“Again, we envision this as a controller that you’re putting in your hands and you’re doing a two-screen experience. The concept of putting it in your lap to do multi-touch for us just feels unwieldy,” he elaborated.
To Nintendo’s credit, I have now taken the Wii U hands-on two years in a row, and at no point did I have an instinctive inclination to try to use any sort of multi-touch. It wasn’t like the days of the early Android phones where you brought up a picture and got frustrated because you couldn’t pinch or expand it.
However, never having the ability to do those kinds of things may hurt Nintendo in the long run.
Multi-touch may not be a necessary thing for Wii U – not having it, of course, keeps the costs low which is a good thing – but it is undeniably another way in which Nintendo appears to be behind the curve.