People have been wondering what the cost of a second GamePad would run them, well the simple answer is $0 because Nintendo will not be selling separate GamePads in North America for at least a year. According to Nintendo COO Reggie Fils-Aime there are basically no games as of right now that would require a GamePad so it is a moot point, but here was Nintendo’s official positioning on the issue:
“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.
“What I mean by that is that Wii U is a console and a GamePad together. 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.”
However, today we learned that Nintendo will most likely release the GamePad as an accessory once there are games for it. Which according to Nintendo product marketing manager Bill Trinen they expect to see sometime next year. ”It will be released once the content is there to support it, Our anticipation is that there will be (games that support it) some time next year.”
My one question with all this is, what happens if you accidentally break your GamePad, Nintendo would not likely offer a replacement Pad for physical damage. So I am curious if people would then have to buy an entire new Wii U system? Nintendo products are notoriously tough, so I don’t think it is anything to worry about but it will be interesting to see if Nintendo is a little more lenient on their return policy because they won’t be selling replacement GamePads for at least a year.