Nintendo has no plans to sell a Wii U GamePad separately from the general console bundles in North America, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed. The reason behind the decision is quite simple: no games in the Wii U launch window take advantage of a second GamePad.
Speaking to IGN, Fils-Aime explained, "We have deliberately not announced the availability of the GamePad as a separate, standalone accessory here in the United States."
"The reason for that is simple – there are no games in the launch window that take advantage of a second GamePad. And [because of that], I want all of that hardware production to be focused on driving sales at retail," he said.
"What I mean by that is that Wii U is a console and a GamePad together," Fils-Aime clarified. "If I were to take additional GamePads and make them available as an accessory, then I would have less Wii U console hardware to sell into retail. You know, probably one of your questions is whether I'm going to meet demand. The only way we're going to achieve that here in the Americas is to not have that GamePad accessory, so I can maximize my overall volume."
Although it's disappointing that none of the games will use a second GamePad, it does stay true to Nintendo's focus on asymmetric gameplay; that is, the one player with the GamePad is in a solitary world competing differently, maybe even winning in a different way, while playing the same game as their friends. With asymmetric gameplay The Player with the Wii U GamePad takes on a special role, playing in the same game world as those with the Wiimotes, but have a different perspective on the same game being played. These players are given different information and likely play a different role than others.
Despite no launch titles utilizing dual GamePads, it should be noted that the Wii U does still support the functionality. In the future, I'd like to see sports games like Madden utilize the two GamePads. For games where you pick plays or have strategy, I could definitely see the usefulness of keeping your decisions a secret.
Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to wait to see my dream become a reality. In the meantime, you can snag yourself a Wii U system and GamePad beginning November 18. Nintendo has announced two separate prices for the Wii U: the Basic Set for $299.99 or the Premium Set for $349.99. If it's a little too expensive for you, fret not. Industry analyst Michael Pachter believes a price cut for the Wii U will happen in the summer of 2013.