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Standalone Wii U GamePads Go on Sale in Japan; We Wonder Why

Wii U GamePad

Unless you were duped into buying a Wii U for cheap on eBay that didn’t include a GamePad (or you broke your GamePad), there’s little reason to buy one by itself without the console—for now, that is, but that hasn’t stopped Nintendo from making them available online in Japan. In the future, we can imagine a couple reasons why you might want one, and both are fairly intriguing.

First, you might want a second GamePad for games that allow the use of two at once. This was mentioned as a possibility way back before the Wii U was even released, but so far, only single-GamePad titles have been available, and the only way to have two GamePads at once was to also have bought two Wii Us—or at least have a friend bring theirs. Until now, double GamePads haven’t even been an option, so maybe this is a sign that games making use of the capability are coming. We find that unlikely given the Wii U’s relative failure, but it’s possible.

The other reason may be a bit less exciting for Wii U owners: the Wii U really is on its way out, and soon. Whatever form Nintendo’s upcoming NX console takes, it’s likely to be backwards compatible with Wii U software and peripherals just like the Wii U is with Wii products. However, if Nintendo really has learned from the mistakes of the Wii U, and the NX won’t require an expensive GamePad to be boxed-in with the console, players would have to buy a separate GamePad to play Wii U games.

If that’s the reason, this movie is likely an indication that the NX is coming sooner rather than later. A new console is exciting and all, but if Nintendo’s already prepping to allow people to play Wii U games on the NX, that’s bad news for any new Wii U owners, especially those who pick up the console this holiday season only to see it become outdated within a short timeframe.

It’s still possible that this is a coincidence, and they’re just finally making the GamePad available by itself for completely innocuous reasons, but we’re still suspicious. Any other theories out there?

(via Gamasutra, image via Nintendo)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.