The Wii U GamePad is without a doubt one of the cooler-looking things to happen in console gaming in quite a while. They really paid attention to the electronic market’s current fad with touchscreens and tablets and combined that with a game controller to make for a rather unique gaming experience. Let’s face it, this is what Nintendo does best; come up with great new hardware and software ideas that endear themselves to people outside of hardcore gamers. Basically, I’m saying that Nintendo is great at thinking outside of the box and pulling in non-traditional gamers within the last few generations. That being said, there are a lot of features on Nintendo’s last few consoles that make me scratch my head, and sadly, some of those continue into the next generation, the Wii U.
Over the last few days, there has been a bit of a hullabaloo over the online voice chat feature for the Wii U; namely that it sounds overly complicated to make work and only works with select games when you buy a licensed third party wired headset that plugs into the Wii U GamePad. Whew, that was a bit of a mouthful of a sentence to type out, never mind speak out loud or imagine. If anything, Nintendo has been lagging behind — sorely — in the market of online gaming. Seriously, friend codes, anybody? After exchanging friend codes with a few people and jotting them down on a piece of paper, then having to go type them in for each game, I kind of lost focus and gave up on the idea of playing Mario Kart online with friends.
The Wii U is Nintendo’s big chance to finally catch up to features that Microsoft had down pat in the Xbox, and instead, we get this. Here is a good example of confusion; for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, you can play with the “Pro” Controller (you know, the one that looks like an Xbox 360 controller?), but if you want to hear the chorus of young boys shouting racial slurs and profanities, you need to have a licensed headset. Okay, so now you have your headset, now you need to plug it into the Wii U GamePad. Wait, you aren’t using the Wii U GamePad to play Black Ops II? So, you have to find a place nearby to rest it where the cord will reach and then play the game on your controller. Oh, and the Wii U GamePad has a built in microphone and speakers, but you can’t use it for voice chat.
It doesn’t have to be this difficult, Nintendo.