News: Miyamoto Shares the Reason Behind Horizontal Wii U

The “face” of the Wii U partly covers the system itself.

Every Wii system released between the console’s launch in 2006 and the release of the new, remodelled version in 2011 was bundled with a stand, implying that the console was desiged to be stood up, despite having feet on its belly meaning owners could pick and choose between a horizontal and vertical position.

As we mentioned, though, 2011 saw the release of a revamped, horizontal-only Wii which lost its GameCube controller and memory card ports; presumably due to reports of an increased likelihood of a disc read error for those that used the vertical Wii stand.

And now, with the release of a brand-new home Nintendo system just a matter of months away, the Wii U has been shown in a horizontal position in all of its appearances in photographs, concept videos and trailers – but why, you may ask. Is it to prevent disc read errors in Nintendo’s brand-new HD console? Apparently not. Shigeru Miyamoto has spoken out about the reasoning behind Wii U’s horizontal-only position in an interview with Kotaku, and it’s not what you might think:

“I guess we could make a stand, I think maybe it was because we didn’t want people to think it was a Wii.

It kind of goes back to our idea of the Wii U itself which is ‘What is the role of the physical hardware?’ And in this particular case we felt that the physical hardware is something that’s becoming something that is less and less important from an identity perspective for a game machine.”

He surprisingly went on explain that the concept of the Wii U GamePad in relation to the system itself is similar to that of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360:

“So, for example, with even something like Kinect you can have your hardware put away and out of sight and you can wave at the TV and maybe the game will come on our something.

“Similarly with Wii U, when we [considered the question] ‘What is the face of Wii U going to be?’, for us the face of Wii U really isn’t the console box. itself. It’s the controller; it’s the Wii U GamePad. So just the a set top box is non-descript and tucked away, our feeling was that the Wii U hardware was something that could be tucked away and out of sight.

“The Wii U GamePad really is really the face of the system, whereas, with the Wii system, we had really designed it so that system itself stood out when you looked at it.”

Are you happy with the Wii U’s forced horizontal, ‘tucked away’ position, or would you like to see a stand bundled with (or sold separately) the Wii U at a later date?

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