If there is something I still wonder about Nintendo, it’s why they never started to sell the GamePad separately. It’s weird considering the console is already three years old and the tablet-like controller is needed for playing most games and using many of the system’s features. I mean, if they are selling a large variety of Wii Motes, the Pro Controller, different cables, cradles, and chargers (among other accessories), why not the most important controller of this home console?
Of course, you can actually request a factory sealed Wii U GamePad by contacting Nintendo’s support (if there’s one your country), which was priced back in 2013 at around $140. If you are not able to buy a new controller and yours is broken, the best thing you can hope is to find someone authorized or able to repair it.
Since the NX will be announced next year, and usually a new console from Nintendo comes with backwards compatibility with the previous consoles, it makes me wonder if Nintendo is planning to introduce a new controller. It could be a new GamePad that can be used for both the NX and the Wii U, using better technology or helping it be cheaper by making some changes. Remember, the 3DS’ original price at launch was $250, which is even more expensive than the bigger and updated version of the console: the New 3DS XL’s launch price was just $200. Quite a difference, right?
Whatever the case, in the event that Nintendo is already working on a new GamePad, these are new features I want to see on that controller (or at least a few of them).
A controller-only power button
If Nintendo doesn’t decide to update the Wii U to make this option possible, at least they can add a small extra button to the new controller, allowing it to turn off the controller without also turning off the console. This little button could also get a second option, where pressing for a long time it would turn the screen off instead, allowing players to use this ability on games that don’t use the GamePad’s screen or on Wii games as a Classic Controller without wasting the battery.
Can be used as a Classic Controller as default
I find it frustrating that you can access the Wii Mode and use the GamePad as a screen, but you are not allowed to use the buttons even if they are in front of you. Why the Gamepad isn’t compatible with the Wii mode is a mystery, especially considering that hackers were able to use the Wii U Pro Controller in Wii homebrew without problems.
I doubt that Nintendo will want to update the Wii firmware to add this silly option right now, but it would be great if they could make the GamePad be detected as a Classic Controller for the Wii instead.
I know that Nintendo already offers their extended battery pack for those wanting a longer battery life, which is often needed considering that the original battery can’t last more than four or five hours on a good day. Still, that doesn’t mean Nintendo has an excuse to keep going this route for a new GamePad, where they could easily add the extended battery from the start instead.
Use of Bluetooth for Headsets
The Wii U Gamepad already has Bluetooth functionality, but I don’t know how it is used since the GamePad uses a Wi-Fi signal to connect to the Wii U (including the video streaming). Whatever the case, offering support for Bluetooth headsets would be a great idea, since once could listen the GamePad’s audio output without needing to use wires or keeping the Gamepad close to you while you are using a Pro Controller to play.
Better Screen (LED)
The LCD screen of the actual GamePad is solid enough, but a LED screen would be even better for the controller since it offers a better quality image and has a lower power consumption leading to a longer battery duration. LED screens are also more durable against constant use and scratches, which is a big plus. I know that using an OLED screen would look even better, but that would make the controller even more expensive.
That’s all I can think of for additions the GamePad could realistically get, but feel free to share in the comments if you have more ideas for a possible new Wii U Gamepad!