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Iwata Asks – Wii U: Wii U GamePad

October 19, 2012

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The Wireless System Challenge

Iwata – Today, I’m going to ask about the Wii U GamePad controller. Once it’s done, it will only seem natural that it runs like a charm, but a lot of people put it through a process of trial-and-error to make it that way. Thank you for your time today, everyone.

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Everyone – We’re glad to be here.

Iwata – Okay, please each of you introduce yourself and tell us what you worked on.

Yamashita – I’m Yamashita from the Integrated Research and Development Division. I was in charge of pulling together the overall software. In cooperation with Iwamoto-san, I worked on both the firmware that runs on the Wii U GamePad and the software for connecting it to the Wii U console.

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Iwata – The Wii U GamePad isn’t for directly processing the games. Signals are sent from various input devices to the Wii U console, where it performs the processing. The Wii U GamePad then show images sent from the Wii U console. It not only exchanges data wirelessly with the Wii U console, but it also is capable of performing actions on its own, like using the TV remote features. You’re the one who coordinated building up that overall system.

Yamashita – Yes, that’s right.

Ito – I’m Ito, also from the Integrated Research and Development Division. I was in charge of overall system design of the hardware. I decided IC specifications and made decisions on how to send and receive images and sound between the Wii U GamePad and Wii U console without noticeable delay. In the past, I’ve worked on the design of such devices as the Wii Remote controller and Wii MotionPlus accessory.

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Mae – I’m Mae from the Integrated Research and Development Division. I worked on the wireless communication technology for the Wii U GamePad and Wii U. Since the Wii U GamePad is a controller, it was extremely important that there be no noticeable delays in the image and sound data, so I worked on making that system.

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Ibuki – I’m Ibuki of the Integrated Research and Development Division. I worked on the industrial design of the Wii U GamePad. This time, the entire industrial design group combined our efforts to finalize the design. As one of the team leaders, I was involved in the development of the overall Wii U hardware.

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Iwata – Due to the arrival of 3D printers, we’re now able to use CAD to create three-dimensional objects and make them in just a few hours, but when it comes to design, everyone has something to say. They’ll casually say, “Just whip this up, would you?” And what seems optimal to hold in one’s hands differs slightly from person to person, so I have been imagining that it must have been quite hard.

Ibuki – I made such a huge amount that I don’t even remember how many! (laughs) This time, instead of using the designs as it had come out of the 3D printer, we actually received approval for design with something that all the team members including myself whittled by hand to make fine adjustments to the 3D printed objects in the company workshop.

Iwata – Huh? You guys carved those models by hand?! I

buki – We did! (laughs) We carved what came out of the 3D printer by hand and then sanded it. Most of the controller designs approved in the past were fine-tuned by hand. By doing things by hand, each trial and error processes can be done much, much faster, so when the design is in the fine-tuning stage you absolutely need to make modifications by hand.

Iwata – Wow.

Ibuki – Besides using a 3D printer, design considerations are done using various techniques. You’ll need to not only be able to carve but add and mold, and depending on the situation we use clay to shape objects. When presenting a design for review we recreate it using a 3D printer to make a clean version, and then fine-tuning and detailing that model by hand.

Iwata – When I hear things like this it becomes harder for me to ask someone in your team to make me something real quick! (laughs) Well, even though I’ll probably keep asking.

Ibuki – Yeah, we take our time and effort to make each and every one.

Iwamoto – I’m Iwamoto from NTD I worked on pulling together development of the software for controlling the Wii U GamePad. I was in charge of determining what functions to give the Wii U GamePad, as well as of the SDK and development environment.

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Iwata- In making this, you had to deal with the time difference between NTD in America and Kyoto in Japan. What are the benefits and challenges presented by working so far apart?

Iwamoto – The time difference is a challenge, and NTD’s members mostly aren’t Japanese, so there was a language barrier, which made meetings a bit cumbersome.

Iwata – To overcome that, you had phone meetings every day and team members traveled back and forth.

Iwamoto – Yes. Evening in America is morning here, so I lived in an out-of-joint lifestyle, holding phone meetings after dinner! (laughs)

Yamashita – Each time, there were phone meetings until about five in the evening here in Japan, but it was about one in the morning in America, so Iwamoto-san had to work until awfully late at night.

Iwamoto – As for a good point, a lot of talent has gathered in America. It was a strength to have such outstanding people knowledgeable in each field.

Iwata – I truly think that the professionals in each field in America are highly specialized.

Mae – Yes. In wireless communication in particular, David Tran got me off the hook numerous times.

Iwamoto – Wireless systems are complicated and hidden from the eye, so they’re more difficult than ordinary software.

Iwata – With ordinary software that lacks communication features, the environment doesn’t affect it, and you can create the data with the premise that they will be correctly retrieved all the time. You can’t see the actual wireless communication, and each environment is different. Also, while a certain amount of data gets garbled, it still needs to runs well. These are the characteristics completely different from ordinary software.

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Mae – Yes. In particular, unlike scenery photographs, there are a lot of drastic changes occurring all the time in video game images, and the wireless communication element changes for each environment, so it was a big challenge to deal with those two types of changes at the same time.

Iwata – At a time when we still didn’t even have the name Wii U GamePad, and you first heard that we wanted to add a screen which shows images to the controller that’s connected wirelessly, what did you think were the tasks ahead?

Yamashita – The fact that it’s a wireless system. In addition, we would have to compress and send the images in real time. Those were the two key areas.

Mae – I was concerned about latency too.

Iwata – With the usual wireless video transfer methods, even if a slight latency occurred, it was okay as long as it didn’t get stuck along the way. So with ordinary video playback, the system would buffer a certain amount of data before it plays in the case where data isn’t being sent on a consistent and constant basis so the video can play smoothly. With the Wii U GamePad, however, Mario has to jump as soon as you press the button, so if there’s latency, it’s fatal for the game. You had to take on a challenge that no one else had before.

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One Solution for Multiple Issues

Iwata – How did you overcome the problems associated with the wireless system and latency?

Yamashita – Delays occur with conventional wireless and video encoding technologies, so we couldn’t use them as they were. Because of that, we had to ask companies who are veterans in their respective fields to take on some new challenges. A lot of companies cooperated with us in this project. (Genyo) Takeda-san worked hard in selecting which companies.

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Iwata – He brought in various companies, saying “Work hard with us on this in order to achieve something unprecedented!”

Yamashita – Yeah. Also key to that was the IC that Ito-san worked on. Our development partner MegaChips Corporation cooperated with us up to the very end, in everything from IC design to the development of the firmware that would run on the IC.

Iwata – How did you design the system? You had to carry out a series of actions, compressing the Wii U images, sending them wirelessly as radio waves, receiving and decompressing them on the Wii U GamePad, and then displaying them—and all without any noticeable delay!

Ito – Generally, for a video compression/decompression system, compression will take place after a single-frame of image data has been put into the IC. Then it is sent wirelessly and decompressed at receiving end. The image is sent to the LCD monitor after decompression is finished.

But since that method would cause latency, this time, we thought of a way to take one image and break it down into pieces of smaller images. We thought that maybe we could reduce the amount of delay in sending one screen if we dealt in those smaller images from output from the Wii U console GPU on through compression, wireless transfer, and display on the LCD monitor.

Iwata – When you first talked about that with those around you, was there a good feeling from the start?

Ito – Yes, there was.

Mae – I thought it was good from the start, too. If the amount of data which needs to be buffered is not going to be big, it would minimize latency. You can get by with less memory, and with less power consumption, so it was a good example of a single solution solving multiple issues.

Ito – Generally, compression for a single screen can be done per a 16×16 macroblock. And on Wii U, it rapidly compress the data, and the moment the data has built up to a packet-size that can be sent, it sends it to the Wii U GamePad.

Iwata – That is completely different from the usual way of compressing video. But there is no way to guarantee that data sent via wireless communication will reach its destination, so you had to think about when errors would occur.

Mae – Yes. The wireless side was really hard. The data would come in rapidly in small portions, so it was difficult to put it together and deliver it in real time while minimizing errors as much as possible.

Yamashita – And if even a single bit of the data composing a particular screen were missing, there wouldn’t be enough data to continue decompressing afterward, so finding how to handle those situations was a problem.

Ito – We simulated all kinds of ideas addressing error concealment.

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Iwamoto – Usually in image compression and wireless communication, it allow for latency to maintain quality. If we tightened up on latency, even if it ran well under the best conditions, it was difficult to address problems—for example, sending certain images when signals are weak—that arose in specific situations.

Iwata – It’s difficult in wireless communication when conditions aren’t constant.

Mae – Right. It’s extremely tough, wirelessly, to have players hold the Wii U GamePad and move with it because of the Doppler effect.

Iwata – And games that involve all kinds of movement are going to come out one after the other.

Mae – To be honest, I even thought, “No, please don’t!” (laughs) Also, it’s okay to hold it vertically.

Iwata – To address why holding it vertically may have been an issue, is because radio waves don’t spread well underwater, but the human body is 60 to 70 percent water, so it can interfere with radio wave paths. Since you hold it both vertically and horizontally, it gets more difficult to place the antenna where the radio waves can easily reach it. If the cost wasn’t an issue, there would be many ways to resolve it like adding more antennas. Besides, since you make various movements with the Wii U GamePad, the radio waves might get distorted. You had to think about all those problems.

Yamashita – Everyone will probably test to see how far the radio waves will reach in their house. (laughs)

Iwata – As Nintendo, we say that it will be fine using it within the same living room where the console is in, but a lot of people ask what about through a wall?

Yamashita – Yeah. The other day, someone in a different department asked if he could use it in his bathroom at his house! (laughs)

Iwata – Differences will arise depending on whether you live in a house made of wood or an apartment of reinforced concrete, and what materials the walls are made out of.

Yamashita – Yes. What we can say for certain is that it will be fine within the same space.

Iwamoto – However, if you place the Wii U console in something like a metal TV stand it may deflect the radio waves thus reducing its usable range. Radio waves weakens by the square of the distance, so even within the same space, too much distance could make them weaker, and having obstacles in between would be a disadvantage.

Yamashita – Using the Wii U GamePad with a television is one of the ways that you can use it, but a good thing about the Wii U is that you can also play without the TV. Because of the way Wii U is used it becomes easier to forget about the console, so it’s possible that some people might wonder why it doesn’t work when they’re away from the TV. By the way, my living room and bathroom are separated by a single wall and I was able to use it. (laughs)

Iwata – Playing at Yamashita-san’s house worked with one wall in-between! (laughs) When asked “Can I use it in my bedroom?” we can say that it would work within the same space when there is nothing in the way, but basically it depends on how your house is constructed, so we have to ask that you test it in your own home.

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“It Comes Down to Guts!”

Iwata – When it comes to wireless, you’re dealing with invisible radio waves, so I would guess you ran into a lot of problems you were previously unaware of. Mae-san, what happened along the way to stabilizing the wireless?

Mae – The biggest problem with regard to wireless was the sending after compression for CG (computer graphics). CG is completely different from natural images, and in order to display the images at a decent quality after compression and decompression, we needed quite a lot more bitrate than we had originally had thought.

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Iwata – Basically, the technology for compressing and decompressing images is thought about from the point of view of how you compress natural images. Specifcally on how the human eye captures the images of the world. For example, the human eye is sensitive to certain things but not so much to other things. So if you do such-and-such, the image quality won’t appear degraded. This was possible with natural images, but with CG, that technology doesn’t apply.

Yamashita – Right. The early sample CG that we sent wirelessly was rather primitive, a crisp image without gradation. But it was detailed and considerably difficult image to compress.

Iwamoto – The size changed in scale, so it moved in a convoluted and difficult way to track.

Iwata – Generally in video compression technology, previous image is compared with current image to determine how the object has moved, to perform compression. But when the object’s movement cannot be determined, the compression doesn’t work well.

Yamashita – I think it was the second sample. At first, it was just an image of a cube moving around, and we thought that was all right, but with the next sample, a grid-shaped pattern would enlarge and rush at you.

Iwata – A moving grid! The worst possible image in terms of video compression technology!

Yamashita – To be honest, that had me worried! (laughs)

Iwata – In the world of video compression technology, there are such things as types of video that are more ideal to compress, and those that aren’t well suited. You faced one of the most difficult things in a sample right around the start and were like, “Oh no! This is a disaster!”

Yamashita – Yes. That was about a little before E3 last year (2011). We held an emergency meeting including Ito-san and Mae-san and were like, “What are we going do about this?!” But in the end, I think it was good that we found such a difficult video when we did.

Iwata – Then you worked on tuning it for about a year.

Iwamoto – Yes. We focused on it constantly. But not much else that was that difficult appeared, so we’re using that for the test sample even now.

Yamashita – No video has surpassed that…yet. So it was good that we found that at an early timing. A big thing for me personally was, just before E3 last year, we scrambled to improve the image quality so we could display Wii U at the show.

Iwata – It was hard work, but showing it at E3 was a good thing.

Yamashita – Yeah. Mae-san was in America then, and twice a day, once late at night and once early in the morning, we were holding lots of phone meetings to figure out how we could raise the bit rate and improve the image quality.

Mae – Yeah. I still can’t forget those three weeks! (laughs)

Yamashita – I can’t forget them either! (laughs) When we ran software on the Wii U GamePad, some problems arose that were different than the case with the sample CG. When we displayed images meant for the TV on the LCD monitor on the Wii U GamePad, noise specific to compression technology was appearing during fade-in and fade-out. So at E3, Ito-san and I were running around the development teams that were working on exhibit titles.

Ito – We went around them all in order to confirm the noise with our own eyes.

Yamashita – Some games had less noise than I expected, while for others there were some instances that caught us off guard like, “Huh? It’s having a hard time with this scene?!”

Ito – What humans expect often turns out differently with the CG image. Sometimes noise becomes unapparent just by changing the speed of the fade-in or fade-out. Making those adjustments was challenging.

Yamashita – For example, something with a lot of small characters appearing like Pikmin was surprisingly all right.

Mae – On the contrary, a big surprise was how so much noise appeared in Super Mario when coins came rushing out.

Iwamoto – Yes. That betrayed my expectations. It was like, “Oh, it has difficulty in situations like this…” It was a little different from the assumptions we made with the compression algorithm.

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Iwata – It really is difficult to race down a path no one has been down before. With regard to the wireless communication technology, you joined with your development partners in a different way than usual, right?

Mae – Yes. We co-developed with Broadcom, one of the world’s leading wireless chip vendors. NTD’s David Tran also cooperated. When working on development together in distant lands, Japan and USA, you have to exchange information in a timely way and share certain tasks, so we held frequent phone meetings to resolve each agenda.

Iwata – Even though it must not have been any typical wireless technology, I think Broadcom helped in a wide variety of ways. How were you able to overcome the challenges?

Mae – Well, there were things we were able to do by utilizing the latest technologies and capabilities that were unique to Broadcom. And ultimately, it was a company Takeda-san chose. They were able to work hard with until we reached the final objective.

Iwata – Yes, Takeda-san’s selection of partners is incredibly interesting. He says, “We need people with guts!” The tasks on hand are very scientific, and guts seem to be the furthest thing from! (laughs)

Everyone – (laughs)

Iwata – But he says, “In the end, it comes down to guts!” And most of the time it really does.

Mae – Yes, that’s very important. In situations like rushing to make improvements for E3 last year, people with the willpower and perseverance to see it through really exert tremendous strength at those heated moments.

Iwata – When people like that get serious, what was up until then thought to be impossible suddenly comes together.

Mae – Yeah. I think we were able to achieve this wireless system by drawing on their power!

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“We Gotta Make a Controller!”

Iwata – Speaking of guts, I’d like to ask you something, Ibuki-san. The tea table got overturned three or four times for the Wii U GamePad design, right?

Ibuki – Yeah… (laughs)

Iwata – What were once circle pads were changed to analogue sticks that can be pushed down to work as additional buttons, and the design of the Wii U GamePad was flat but then gained grips. You had to make a number of big design changes for operability during a short time, which must have been quite hard. Tell me about those memorable moments.

Ibuki – Sure! (laughs) The first Wii U GamePad was the one we used to announce it at last year’s E3. At that time, the design group was of a mind to make a pad-like device. The main concept was a device that would be worthy to have sitting in your living room.

Iwata – Back then, the surface was extremely uncluttered.

Ibuki – Yes. But after last year’s E3, we heard it was difficult to use. We played the NES version of Mario Bros. game on the Wii U GamePad and realized we couldn’t do it very well.

Iwata – I remember that with the design of the GamePad at the time, a good amount of people said it was tiring and difficult to play.

Ibuki – Yes. That’s no good as a controller, and just when we thought we wanted to do something about it, we heard of a desire from within the company to change the specs regarding improvement of the controls and took it up.

Iwata – As those who had made it, you just couldn’t let it go.

Ibuki – Yeah. We would have regretted releasing it like that. So we started from the beginning to see whether a flat, pad like design, or a shape of a traditional controller that players could firmly grab that emphasized on controllability was the right way to go. We held a lot of meetings within the team over what the Wii U GamePad should be like. A lot of opinions came up.

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Iwata – Both Miyamoto-san and myself wanted the change to happen. It was a decision made even as Takeda-san said, “We usually wouldn’t do such a thing at this point, you know!” It’s true, however, that if you held the earlier incarnation of the Wii U GamePad for very long, there were times where your fingers could get tired. That really changed, though.

Ibuki – Yes. There was still a long ways to go, and we were like, “We got to make a controller!”, but at the same time, a conflict arose with the opinion that a pad-type design that would be appropriate in the living room was best. It was hard to maintain the balance.

Iwata – It took time to reach a balance between a controller’s ease of use and a design that would be appropriate in the living room.

Ibuki – Yes. The grips we affixed to the improved version actually weren’t finalized until the very end. At first, we looked at a more flat, square shaped pad to a version with gradual grips and considered various options.. We took an in-house survey as to which was easier to use, but the votes were divided and we couldn’t decide which was better.

Iwata – How did you finally decide on the final form of the grips?

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Ibuki – We looked at multiple factors. It needed to be a design that you wouldn’t easily get tired, and we looked into what was the best design that would be the most comfortable for both big and small hands. Ultimately, the design that everyone in the design group agreed that was the most easiest to use, was the final form with the grips.

Iwata – You tested a bunch until it reached its current form.

Ibuki – Yeah. To be honest, we didn’t know how tacking grips on the back of a square pad-like device would make it any easier to hold. So we made a bunch of designs, I carved them by hand, adjusted them with clay, did that day after day for a long time, went to have it checked by those involved, and got told it was difficult to hold!

Everyone – (laughs)

Iwata – No matter how perseverant you are, that may break your heart.

Ibuki – I thought, “Come on, this is pretty good isn’t it?” But they flat-out said it wasn’t, so we repeated that process. I think that was the hardest time for me.

Iwata – Where else did you expend a lot of energy?

Ibuki – Making it lighter was also important. The Engineering group took the lead in making it lighter. With Wii U GamePad we put in a lot of effort in reducing its weight. There is a part called a chassis to protect the screen, and at first we were planning on using materials like aluminum and magnesium. But ultimately we decided against those and used what’s called a resin chassis to further reduce its weight. In that way, we chipped away one or two grams here and there.

Iwata – We made it as light as possible without causing durability problems. There may be some that would think 500 grams is heavy for a controller, but the result of pecking away at it like that was something much lighter than at first.

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Ibuki – Yes. Any suggestions for a change in the design had to come with how many grams it would increase the weight. It was like: “I want a design like this.” “How many grams will that increase the weight?” “Five grams.” “Request denied!!”

Everyone – (laughs)

Ibuki – Five grams is about how much a 100-yen coin weighs! (laughs) We wanted the Wii U GamePad to weigh about 500 grams, so when we were approaching 500 and some grams, all suggestions that may put more weight on it were refused.

Iwata – Whenever we make a controller or handheld gaming device, we test a lot with regard to weight. But even so, it looks like this time sets records.

Ibuki – Yeah, that may well be! (laughs) The senior staff encouraged the new employees starting off with the Wii U project by saying that development isn’t always this hard. I think all the teams were that way. (laughs)

Iwata – For two years, the senior staff members consoled the newer staff members and somehow you made it through. Did everyone here give kind words to your newer teammates?

Everyone – (unanimously) Yes, we sure did! (laughs)

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A More Attractive TV

Iwata – How about the NFC (near-field communication) that came in partway through?

Yamashita – To be honest, it’s not just about NFC but we never expected the Wii U GamePad to have so many functions.

Iwata – There are a lot.

Iwamoto – We were supposed to be making a controller, but it has all the functions of a handheld!

Yamashita – Yes. And they all run wirelessly. We had to develop software for a lot of things—NFC, the TV control button, and the geomagnetic sensor, -it was a lot of work! However, with regard to NFC, when we saw your announcement, Iwata-san, we were shocked. We were like, “Huh?! He’s announcing that?!” (laughs)

Iwata – Is that so? Sorry about that! (laughs)

Everyone – (laughs)

Yamashita – The response was quite large, so we were glad, but development hadn’t caught up yet, so all we could say to any questions was to please wait for more news, so I did feel sorry about that.

Iwata – It has reached the point where we are going to introduce it to the world soon. I’d like to hear from each of you how it has turned out and what its attractions are. Yamashita-san?

Yamashita – Unless when necessary, on many occasions we sent the wireless radio waves by wire in order to avoid interference during development of the Wii U GamePad. But when I tried it wirelessly during a field test at home, I was surprised to rediscover that so much graphics showed up even when not connected by cable.

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Iwata – Even though you made it? (laughs)

Yamashita – Yeah. (laughs) Even I was surprised at how it was wireless. So I think people will be surprised at even such a basic function of the system as how the rich graphics rendered by the console show up in your hands wirelessly on the Wii U GamePad.

Iwata – Okay. How about you, Ito-san?

Ito – I think the tech-savvy will be shocked at the lack of latency. Small children aren’t familiar with the mechanics, but they will notice how effortlessly it operates, as if the Wii U GamePad itself is generating the images.

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Iwata – I suppose it’s like you won’t even notice that it’s connected to the console until you go into a different room.

Ito – Yes. That would be a new, unexpected surprise. It’s packed full of surprising elements—you get rich graphics wirelessly, you can connect to the Internet, and you can use all kinds of functions like the camera—so I would be happy if people enjoy those things.

Yamashita – The Wii U GamePad displays so quickly, and because many of the newer televisions have latency due to their video processing components, that there are times when the Wii U GamePad will display images faster than the television that is actually connected by a cable. So if you play on the Wii U GamePad, whatever the game, there won’t be delay and you can operate it more comfortably.

Iwata – Your perseverance toward beating the television has come this far! (laughs)

Ito – Yeah! Our perseverance has finally come to fruition! (laughs)

Iwata – How about you, Mae-san?

Mae – I mostly feel the same way as Ito-san, but everyone from people who game all the time to small children and the elderly can use the Wii U GamePad to play all kinds of games, from games with rich graphics, to fighting games and games like Wii Sports. In that respect, I think Nintendo truly has realized something that anyone can play.

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Iwata – All right. Ibuki-san?

Ibuki – The design concept for the Wii U GamePad is that of a controller—it’s unlike any other pad-like device—and our pride, or the feelings of Nintendo are packed into it, so I hope people will try it out.

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Iwata – In other words, “If you’re going to game, do it on this!”

Ibuki – Absolutely. I really want people to play games on it. We can vouch that it is fun to play on, so we’re confident about it!

Iwata – Okay. Iwamoto-san?

Iwamoto – I suppose it comes down to what is new about it as a gaming machine, so I want people to notice how it has all the functions that a portable game device does but controllers usually don’t. By putting everything in, the question is how it will change the home video game experience.

First, watching the television while also looking at a screen in your hands is a completely new experience, and it offers two viewpoints to the player. Having two viewpoints makes gaming completely new and I think it will allow for possibilities of new ways to play, so I can’t wait to play games that make good use of that.

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Iwata – That’s right.

Iwamoto – And then there is the camera. The first time that something captured on camera showed up on the screen wirelessly, I was surprised, like, “Whoa, this is so much fun.” While some handheld game systems do come with a camera, when it comes to home video game consoles, most instances involve selling the camera later, and with wires. So I thought it was great for that to be on the controller and movable without any wires, and I think that would be a completely new input method for games. It sure was hard, though! (laughs)

Iwata – It would not have been so much trouble if you could have used an IC just for wireless transmission of camera signals. We basically added the capability to send video data from the camera onto the existing wireless communication IC for sending game visuals. I was expecting there would be difficulties associated with that direction at a fundamental level, and when I saw the time it was taking to make the camera run well, I was thinking about how hard you must have been working! (laughs)

Yamashita – At the beginning of development, we thought the schedule was going to be tight, and we abandoned the camera for a spell. But then talk of at least being able to manage still images or at least 5 frames per second (fps) started bubbling up, and eventually that became a desire for 30fps, so the camera returned right away. (laughs)

Iwata – The camera feature crept back in as if it were circling around trying to be put back in.

Iwamoto – Until E3 last year, we had been at a loss, but then we pounded it out last year from summer to fall and when it worked, we were thrilled—like, “Whoa! It’s running!”

Yamashita – (emotionally) That’s right…

Ito – The camera has to perform compression and decompression twice to perform a wireless transmission. That traces quite a long path, but you hardly notice any delay.

Iwata – The images you capture with the Wii U GamePad is compressed, sent to the Wii U console do decompress, where it then creates the visual images to be displayed, that images are then compressed and sent back to the Wii U GamePad for decompression and display. That’s how it works, right?

Iwamoto – Right. It may feel as if what you have taken with the Wii U GamePad is simply displaying on the LCD, but actually it goes to the Wii U console, gets processed, and comes back. Nonetheless, it’s made so you hardly feel any delay.

Yamashita – The same thing goes for the touch screen. When you draw something, the touch input data you entered on the Wii U GamePad goes to the console and then returns as images after processing. But in the end, I think it feels really nice.

Iwata – People with a little technological knowledge will now be able to understand a little more deeply the value of what this team has done.

At the present stage, I sense two sides to the Wii U GamePad. One is that this is the first home game console that allows one person to play video games while someone else watches television. The other is how the television becomes even more attractive when you use the television and Wii U GamePad as a set.

It only became that way, however, after the incredibly gritty and persistent hard work of the people who made the Wii U GamePad. It’s interesting how a single genius didn’t solve all the problems, which makes for renewed and deeper understanding of Takeda-san’s statement “In the end, it comes down to guts!” In the end, it really was about guts. (laughs) Thank you for today.

Everyone – Thank You!

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From → Wii U

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