Why Nintendo’s Wii U Tablet-Controlled Console Won’t Rival The iPad [Opinion]



Nintendo unveiled its upcoming Wii successor at E3 in Los Angeles yesterday, and with its touchscreen tablet-like controllers and AirPlay-like game streaming, some are already debating whether the device might rival the iPad. I’m here to tell you that it won’t.

The idea that the Wii U might be an iPad competitor is purely based on two things: the new controller, which ever so slightly resembles a tablet in that it is flat and features a touchscreen, and the console’s ability to offer AirPlay-like gaming streamed from one device to another.

However, the Wii U and the iPad are so different that it seems ludicrous to me that anyone would compare the two. While it’s true that both products offer gaming, you wouldn’t compare a bicycle to a BMW because both offer personal transportation – they are two different things. Just like the Nintendo Wii U and Apple’s iPad.

Firstly, the Wii U is built primarily for gaming, and therefore to appeal to gamers. Those serious about gaming who are looking for a dedicated games console may compare the Wii U to the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, but they won’t compare it to the iPad. Gaming on the iPad is really great, and while the experience rivals that of a handheld console, like the PSP or the 3DS, for gaming on the big screen only a dedicated games console will quench a hardcore gamer’s thirst.

Then there’s the AirPlay-like game streaming. With the Wii U’s new controller, you can stream your gameplay to its touchscreen so that you can enjoy your games when the killjoys in your household want to watch TV. This is the exact opposite of AirPlay gaming on the iPad. On the iPad, AirPlay gaming is all about getting your iOS games onto the big screen, and right now, there are only a handful of games that truly support AirPlay gaming on a HDTV, that aren’t just mirror images of what’s happening on your iPad.

The point I’m trying to make is that, while the iPad is great for casual gaming on-the-go – and should be compared to handheld consoles which offer the same thing – we shouldn’t compare the device to a fully fledged games console just because it has a couple of similar features. The Wii U is guaranteed to offer better gaming on your HDTV, whereas the iPad is better at editing spreadsheets and playing Angry Birds on the train.

The Wii U’s controller may look like it was influenced by the iPad and other tablets, but instead, it mimics the success that Nintendo has had with the DS and attempts to provide dual-screen gaming on your TV. If it resembles an iPad combined with an Apple TV, it’s an accident, not by design.

What do you think of the new Wii U? Could you see yourself buying one when it debuts, or is an iPad 2 and Apple TV good enough for you?

  • fortninety

    Excellent commentary. Was afraid of yet another “this is why the Apple is going to again eat Nintendo for lunch” rant that has become ever so tiresome.

  • Enoch Cincotta

    @fort90:disqus …Agreed.

  • Jerry Ballard

    Or conversely, another tiresome ‘iPad killer has Apple shivering in its boots’ article.

  • DeadByDawn

    When I saw this yesterday,I thought it was Ipad inspired but not to compete with it in any way.Nintendo already said it’s not going to be a portable device.Im I going to pick one up?Of course I am I have been a nintendo fan from the NES days and have passed on the tradition to my five year old.In fact when he saw it he said “It’s like the Ipad”.Will it change the home gaming market yes,they are taking what apple started and introducing it to the home console market.Are we going to see copycats from microsoft and sony?Yes we are.If anything this is an indicator that apple not only changed the personal computing world forever and it’s hand has extended to influence home consoles. 

  • Macinscott

    I’ll probably get one because I’ve owned ever Nintendo console except the Game Cube. I grew up on Mario Brothers and until their characters (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid, etc) are licensed to another platform (iOS hopefully one day), Nintendo will have an advantage for me. 

  • techsage999

    The Wii U differentiated itself just like how the Kindle has differentiated itself from the iPad. Many people bought both the Kindle AND the iPad because they both serve unique function in consumer life, and I believe that the Wii U is going to do the same.

    WITH THAT SAID HOWEVER, I don’t think the gaming population is as big now as before because I think that many people who like games but also enjoy a larger degree of functionality would choose the iPad over the Wii U just because the Wii U is made almost solely for gaming purposes.

  • Hampus

    Well I do have a wii. Might end up getting a Wii U.
    Depending on how third parties will actually end up supporting it (and nintendo, they havnt done a lot that is all too interesting for the wii lately).
    It sounded like multiplayer will be more like the other consoles this time rather than friendcodes.
    And judging by the 3DS they have got a lot better at the general system on the console, it does more than just load games :p

  • mikkeee

    I see it as the anti-kinect. Do you want to game with more controllers or none? Golfing with one controller on the floor and one your hand looks like trouble. I can see the (dog/kid/beer/foot) quickly breaking something. I guess it works for some but it won’t go in my house.

  • Johndoodbro

    This is fucking stupid! It’s a GAME CONSOLE not a tablet i swear I get more and more pissed off every time I come to this site and see how your editors compare something like the Psvita or 3DS to an ipod touch. Apple will never win the handheld market, why? because nobody in there right mind buys an itouch/ IPhone 4 to game on c’mon seriously?

  • Daniel

    A BMW does rival a bicycle

  • BuckWheaties

    dat be gospel.  Dis site be gettin mo n mo retarded wit they comparisons to apple products.  dees foo’s will compare anything to an idevice.  shut up wit dat shit already.  if you aint got no actual news to reports, shut yo ass up.

  • BuckWheaties

    iPad inspired?  you an ignant.  Get ova yoself and yo stupid idevices, they dont control every market.

  • Queendory666

    what language are you speaking? 

  • cheesy11

    i like it, but as a step after the wii controllers i think its abit builky

  • CharliK

    Actually I can understand why folks are making the comparisons. While right now an iPod 
    Touch etc isn’t really competition for regular gaming machines, already the signs are there that the tech is being put in place for console like apps if the developers want to create them. I think even folks like Nintendo are seeing the signs and looking toward that future. Ironically the way to fight the good fight might in part mean porting older games to iOS to counter the negative chatter that Nintendo etc are ‘scared’ of Apple. 

  • Darrius Taylor

    Seriously who is that guy?

  • E.J. Macaranas

    Yeah, the Wii U is a BMW when it comes to game quality. 

  • rojardenzo

    This is really good article to read. It will really help me to increase my amount of knowledge about it. There is big difference beetwin iPad and Nintendo WII U. Thanks for sharing informative article with us.


  • Matthew Thorns

    I think the reason this topic is so important is because a market Nintendo dominated for years is coming to an end. Almost everyone I knew as a kid had a gameboy, and for years other companies tried to get a piece of that pie but fell short. Companies like Sega, Nokia, Atari all tried to compete with Nintendo in portable gaming devices and failed miserably.  Now almost all “on the go gaming” is done on peoples portable devices, tablets, phones, laptops ect. I think the price also has a lot to due with it. A standard 3DS game is $40. I can take that $40 and buy forty phone games. I think Nintendo would be better off selling some of there classics on the iPad and iPhone. The iOS just recently got Unreal engine support so chances are we are going to start to see even better graphics on our apple mobile devices.